Top attractions in Abel Tasman National Park
The Abel Tasman National Park offers a choice of must-see natural attractions, including:
Abel Tasman Coast Track
Experience the best of Abel Tasman National Park along the 51km-long Abel Tasman Coast Track from Marahau in the south to Wainui in the north, an easy walk of between three to five days. New Zealand’s mild weather makes the track accessible year round. Note: Parts of the Coast Track include tidal crossings that can only be negotiated at low tide.
Hike the 82km-long track through a diverse landscape of sub-alpine tussock grasslands, lush rainforest, rugged mountains and palm-fringed surf beaches on the West Coast. The Heaphy Track is located in the Kahurangi National Park, New Zealand’s second largest national park, containing the largest cave system in the country and boasting NZ’s oldest fossil at 540 million years old.
From the seaside port of Picton at the head of Queen Charlotte Sound, it’s easy to explore one of the most beautiful and unspoilt regions of New Zealand – a maze of deep coves and secluded bays fringed by lush coastal forest.
Choose from a variety of activities that range from kayaking, diving and sailing to hiking and cycling nature trails such as the famous Queen Charlotte Track.
Join an eco-tour to sight endangered Hectors, dusky and bottlenose dolphins, as well as penguins, seals and the rare South Island robins that are found on the bird sanctuary of Motuara Island. At Havelock, savour freshly steamed local greenshell mussels straight from the sea, washing them down with a glass of Marlborough's renowned Sauvignon Blanc.
Queen Charlotte Track
This famous trail stretches for 71km, from Ship Cove to Anakiwa, and offers scenic walking and bike riding in the Marlborough Sounds. The trail leads you through native forest, across streams, along skyline ridges and around historic bays with breathtaking views of Queen Charlotte and Kenepuru sounds.
Depending on where you join the track, fit hikers can expect the trek to take from two to four days. Experienced cyclists should be able to complete the track – open to mountain bikes from 1 March to 30 November – in around 13 hours.
At other times of the year, mountain bikes are only allowed on the Kenepuru Saddle to Anakiwa section of the track, which is a little more than 40km long. Water transport to the start at Ship Cove can be organised from Picton, while commercial operators can carry your pack between overnight stays.
Nelson Lakes National Park
Escape the summer crowds and head to the Nelson Lakes area, a charming alpine park of rugged peaks, forests and glacial lakes full of long and short hiking trails to suit walkers of all abilities. The Park is renowned for its honeydew beech forests, which feed a variety of nectar-eating native birds, lizards and insects.
See the stunning landscape on a variety of tracks, including the five-day Travers-Sabine Circuit and the D'Urville Valley Track, which offers stunning views from Mount Cedric across the Southern Alps.
Or take a short stroll through the beech forest surrounding the serenely beautiful Lake Rotoroa, well known for its excellent brown trout fishing. In winter, Rainbow Skifield, located about the charming village of St Arnaud, offers every type of terrain for skiers and snowboarders.