Tasman: Abel Tasman’s Great Walk

NZ’s Most Popular Track

EASY terrain, walkable year-round! Short distances between huts and beaches with majestic valley views and coastal scenery. Abel Tasman National Park’s Great Walk (60km/37mi) can take 3-5-days; however, single or half-day walks are popular as water taxis drop off and pick up hikers along the way.

This post is about the park’s remote north (fewer visitors): 1) Wainui; 2) Tōtaranui, the northern access point; 3) and a surprise pizzeria in the bush between them.

1) From Wainui Bay

Directions: From Pohara wind around the coastline to the end of the road. Trails commence at the Wainui carpark to points north and across the peninsula.

Whariwharangi Hut

Built around 1896 as a farmhouse, restored in 1980 as a tramping hut. The walk to the hut is through bush with never-to-be-forgotten views. 2 hours, return.

Taupo Point Walk at Wainui Bay

At low tide, this walk is a delight over sand and a rocky beach (sturdy footwear required). Alternatively, if the tide is bothersome, hack your way through bush and gorse to the high trail.

Gentle trail start on sand

And then walking on boulders

The return – sloshing through warm water at lowest of tides

Low tide discoveries

Nearby Wainui Falls

Signage on Abel Tasman Road to an easy bush track with a springy wire suspension bridge, it’s a “keep a hand on the kids” track at times, ending at a plunge pool into which the 20m falls cascade.

2) Tōtaranui

  • Driving: Beyond Wainui carpark turn onto the unsealed, 13km road to Tōtaranui. Winding and narrow, it is a tight squeeze in many places.

Coast Track South to Goat Bay

Goat Bay – A good “cheat” of a walk, without days of hiking. Goat Bay, one of the best beaches in Abel Tasman National Park, is about an hour hike from Tōtaranui. This is what Abel Tasman is like!

Onward is Anapai Bay, accessible only by boat or walking from Tōtaranui (3 hour return); and north to Separation Point.

3) Pizza Side Trip

MUST DO: Toto’s Cafe and Pizzeria on the hill to Tōtaranui. Off the grid, a clay kitchen in the bush with cool views.

What We MIssed (Next Time!)

200,000 annual visitors to Abel Tasman National Park walk at least part of the track. As NZ’s most popular track, it’s easy to be part of the “scene”.

  • For convenience, I would spend at least a week in Motueka. More people, but easiest Abel Tasman trail access by foot, water taxi, and/or kayak
  • Wilson Abel Tasman Scenic Cruises and Abel Tasman Sea Shuttles provide walking/kayaking combo; pick-up/drop-off services from Kaiteriteri and Marahau
  • Catamaran day sails with Abel Tasman Sailing Adventures
  • Kaiteriteri Kayaks – guided tours to prime spots
  • Check out flight-seeing with Abel Tasman Scenic Flights
  • Seeking privacy? Go north to Pohara/Golden Bay.

The top of South Island is a motherlode of diversity. See following Tasman links:

  1. Kaiteriteri, Split Apple Rock and Harwoods Hole
  2. Cape Farewell – Wharariki Beach (Wharariki Beach – used as MS Windows 10 Image)
  3. Abel Tasman – Golden Bay

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2 thoughts on “Tasman: Abel Tasman’s Great Walk

  1. Great travel guide for a spectacular part of the South Island! What I am dying to know – did you know about Toto’s ahead of time or just happen upon it?

    1. We learned about Toto’s ahead of time from Michelle at the Kiwi Spirits Gin Distillery in Takaka. Totos was only open on Sunday whilst we were there. We would NEVER have found it on our own.

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