Getaway Compass

Abel Tasman National Park Day Trip

Anchorage Bay

Abel Tasman National Park is one of the most beautiful places in New Zealand with lush forest, bright blue water, and breathtaking coastline. If you want to visit Abel Tasman National Park but don’t have the time to do the full track, you can do a day trip to Abel Tasman National Park and hike a section of the track. Continue reading to plan an incredible Abel Tasman National Park Day Trip.

How to Get to Abel Tasman National Park

Abel Tasman National Park Day Trip

The south entrance to Abel Tasman National Park is located only about 1 hour from Nelson, making it a perfect day trip. You can easily get to Abel Tasman by rental car or bus.

To get to Nelson: if you are coming from North Island you can either fly from Wellington to Nelson Airport or take the ferry from Wellington to Picton and then drive to Nelson or take a bus. 

To get to Abel Tasman National Park from Nelson: you can drive or take a bus with ScenicNZ Abel Tasman to get to Marahau, the town located at the south entrance of Abel Tasman National Park. From Marahau you can hike, take a boat cruise, or kayak to explore the park.

If you are looking to rent a car, check out Discover Cars to compare rental car companies and find the best deal.


Where to Stay Near Abel Tasman National Park

Sunset Near Abel Tasman

To do a day trip Abel Tasman National Park you can stay in Nelson, Marahau, or one of the towns in between. I wouldn’t recommend staying further than Nelson to limit driving time to no more than one hour each way so you have more of the day to explore the park.

We stayed in Marahau which is the town located right at the south entrance of the park. We found this one-bedroom chalet with incredible views, tucked away in the forest. The large patio was perfect for enjoying the sunset, and the place was very comfortable and private. It was one of our favorite places that we stayed during our time in New Zealand and I would highly recommend! It was very convenient to stay so close to the park, and this area is beautiful.

There are very few shops or restaurants in Marahau, so if you decide to stay there you will want to bring food and anything else you would need with you. The closest gas station to Marahau is 20 minutes away in Riwaka so don’t forget to fill up gas on the way. You can find a handful of restaurants in Marahau including The Park Cafe and Hooked on Marahau. Keep in mind they are open limited days and hours depending on the season, so make sure to check in advance.

Abel Tasman Track: Bark Bay to Anchorage Bay

If you only have one day to spend in Abel Tasman National Park you can hike this beautiful section of the Abel Tasman Track. To hike from Bark Bay to Anchorage Bay you would need to take a water taxi in the morning to Bark Bay and another water taxi back to Marahau from Anchorage Bay in the afternoon. 

Marahau Water Taxis offer transportation to Bark Bay and other bays in Abel Tasman National Park. Make sure to book the water taxi ahead of time so you don’t miss out, especially for the early departures. You can refer to Marahau Water Taxis website to see the most updated prices and schedule. The company has water taxis going northbound and southbound, with multiple stops a day at each bay. Don’t forget to check the tide times at the visitor center before embarking on the water taxi because depending on the tide there are different routes you can take.

Bark Bay Abel Tasman-1
Bark Bay

Start your day with one of the earliest water taxis to Bark Bay so you will have plenty of time to hike and enjoy the beaches. Bark Bay is one of the prettiest spots on this trail, so spend time relaxing on the scenic beach before beginning your hike.

From Bark Bay the trail will take you on a windy path through the forest with views of the clear ocean water. One of the highlights of this trail is walking on a 47-meter long suspension bridge called Falls River Swing Bridge. The trail will continue through the forest down to Torrent Bay, with views of the bay on the way down. Within two hours of low tide you can walk across Torrent Bay estuary for a shortcut instead of winding through the forest. Keep in mind that even when the tide is low there can still be some water in the estuary so bring shoes that you don’t mind getting wet or plan to take your shoes off for the crossing. My go-to shoes for activities like this are these walking sandals.

Torrent Bay Abel Tasman
Torrent Bay
Torrent Bay Low Tide
Torrent Bay Estuary at Low Tide

After crossing Torrent Bay you will reach a short path through a forest that will lead you to Anchorage Bay. Spend time exploring this scenic Bay, checking out different caves and rock formations and swimming in the water. Keep in mind that there may be sand flies so you may not want to sit still for too long, and definitely need to bring bug spray.

Finish your Abel Tasman National Park day trip with a boat ride back to Marahau from Anchorage. One of the best parts of spending a day in Abel Tasman National Park is enjoying the coastline from the boat cruise.

What to Bring on a Day Trip to Abel Tasman

  • Daypack: Bring a comfortable backpack to carry your snacks, camera, and other things you may need for the day.
  • Bug spray: There are usually sand flies in Abel Tasman National Park. Save yourself from getting itchy bites by using bug spray.
  • Walking Sandals: If you plan on walking through Torrent Bay estuary you should bring waterproof sandals so your hiking shoes don’t get wet. At the end of the day to get on the water taxi from Anchorage you may have to get into knee-deep water to get on the boat.
  • Water Bottle: Don’t forget to bring a reusable water bottle with plenty of water for the day.
  • Jacket: The water taxi ride can get cold, especially in the mornings, so make sure to bring a jacket with you.
  • Beach Towel: Bring a towel with you to relax on the beach at Bark Bay and Anchorage Bay. This is the perfect beach towel to bring since it is light and dries quickly.
  • Snacks: There isn’t any food in this section of the park so make sure to bring snacks with you for the day.
  • Sunscreen and Sunglasses: Those two things you know you need but tend to forget.

More Things to Do Near Abel Tasman National Park

Split Rock Beach Kayaking

If you decide to spend more time in Tasman Bay and surrounding area near Abel Tasman National Park here are suggestions for more things to do:

  • Half-day self-guided kayak to Split Rock and Ngaio Island
  • Walk 10 minutes to swim at Split Apple Rock Beach
  • Relax at Kaiteriteri and Little Kaiteriteri Beach
  • Explore Ngarua Caves: Limestone caves in the Takaka hill range with guides cave tours
  • See Waikoropupu Springs: Largest freshwater spring in New Zealand

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links for products and services I recommend. At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Reut and Zack Elopement-5

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