The Abel Tasman National Park

Golden beaches, turquoise-blue sea and walking tracks for every age.

About the Park

Abel Tasman National Park is renowned for its golden beaches, sculptured granite cliffs, and the world-famous Abel Tasman Coastal Track. With a mild climate, it is an ideal place to visit at any time of the year. As New Zealand’s smallest national park at 22,530 hectares, it boasts some of New Zealand’s most pristine coastline with golden sand, turquoise-blue water and green lush New Zealand bush.

A Little History

There is limited knowledge of the first settlement of the area before the first European contact, however, carbon dating suggests that humans entered the area in the 9th century AD.

The area around what is now Abel Tasman National Park, was much sought after and quickly settled as there was an abundance of bird and sea life, along with favourable gardening conditions for the growing of kūmara (sweet potato).
1642 – The First Europeans
Abel Janszoon Tasman, a Dutch seafarer, became the first European to sight New Zealand on December 13, 1642. Arriving off the coast of (what is now called) Golden Bay, he sent some of the ship’s boats to gather water, but one was attacked by Māori in a waka (canoe) and four of his men were killed. Following this and a further attack, Abel Tasman sailed further north, never in fact setting foot on New Zealand.

The first known European to land in New Zealand was Captain James Cook, who did so in 1769, mapping the New Zealand coast.
The Early European Settlers
Whalers and sealers established seasonal camps in the early 1800s. The first European settlers were brought to Nelson by the New Zealand Company in October 1841. They explored Riwaka, Moutere and areas around the Motueka and Waimea rivers.

By 1858, Nelson had 434 wooden buildings and 27 of brick or stone. The population was predominantly European, including a small settlement of Germans who were the first to introduce winemaking as well as specialising in growing fruit trees and hops.
Abel Tasman National Park
Some 300 years after the arrival of Abel Tasman, the Abel Tasman National Park was officially opened in 1942. It is New Zealand’s smallest national park, but definitely one of its most enjoyable and interesting ones.

Sources: www.tasman.govt.nz/tasman/iwi/maori-history & The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

The Abel Tasman Coastal Track

The Abel Tasman Coast Track is a popular 60 kilometres (37 mi) walking track within the Abel Tasman National Park. It’s one of New Zealand’s Great Walks and the most easily accessible, extending from Mārahau in the south to Wainui in the north, with many side-tracks.

Our local water taxi service provides an easy way to access different sections of the park. Leaving from Mārahau regularly each morning and early afternoon.

Another great way to enjoy the National Park and its magnificent coastline is via the world class kayaking you can experience.

Some of our Favourite Walks

Three of our favourite walks are:

  • Bark Bay to Anchorage – pretty Falls River swing bridge to walk across plus some stunning bays and views.
  • Torrent Bay to Onetahuti – Also includes the Falls River swing bridge plus a visit to Tonga Quarry and the occasional seal encounter.
  • Walk the stunning Pitt Head loop from Anchorage Bay. Great for families or those who want a shorter walk.

There are many different walk options, so chat with us before you make your decision. We can offer you a local’s guide to what will suit you.

There are so many adventures to be had around the park and the region. Check out our Things To Do section for some of the best reasons to linger for a while in the Abel Tasman and at the Abel Tasman Lodge.

Free booking & information service

Let us take away any holiday hassle.

Use our local knowledge of the Abel Tasman National Park to help tailor and book your activities at no extra charge.

What’s more, if you book ahead, you don’t need to pay for any activity until you arrive.