The stunning Abel Tasman National Park at the top of the South Island is an essential destination for any visitor to New Zealand. Encapsulating the very best of what New Zealand has to offer, Abel Tasman promises expansive golden beaches, pretty native bush and abundant native birdlife and wildlife. The park is also home to the popular Abel Tasman Coast Track – one of New Zealand’s Great Walks. Whilst the full 60km/37mi track takes 3 to 5 days to complete, it can also be broken up into a series of short walks spanning a few hours to a full day.
Our pick from the short day walks on the Abel Tasman Coast Track is Awaroa to Medlands Beach or Tonga Quarry. This two to four-hour 2 - 4 hour walk is perfect for those who have little hiking experience and want to experience everything the Abel Tasman has to offer in a short space of time. Awaroa is only accessible by boat, meaning you get to cruise through the Tonga Island Marine Reserve and enjoy the spectacular views (and hopefully some sea life!) as you begin your journey. Once on land, follow the signs to join the track and soak in the lovely native bush and birdsong which will eventually lead you out onto the golden sands of Onetahuti Bay. You will walk the length of Onetahuti Bay so you need to be mindful of tides. This section of the track is only accessible four hours either side of high tide, otherwise you will be wading through water. Check tide times before you set out and ensure your water taxi bookings allow for this timeframe. Soon after leaving Onetahuti, you’ll reach Tonga Quarry where you can opt to end your journey. Alternatively, if you’re continuing on to Medlands Beach, you’ll head into the bush again before reaching the picturesque Bark Bay swing bridge and Medlands Beach, where you should have enough time for a paddle in the azure waters of the bay before your water taxi arrives.