Kayak Camp Abel Tasman NP

Rate this Adventure New Zealand Marahau Launch Point

Added by

With crystal clear waters, fur seals, and golden beaches, there's no better way to explore the Abel Tasman. Combine kayaking and hiking to explore this Great Walk coastal track.

This beautiful national park can be explored by boat and/or by foot, so we decided to incorporate both before catching a jet boat back to Marahau. The entire coastal track is almost 50 km one-way without side trips, and the coastline can also be done entirely by kayak. Before arriving in Marahau, we arranged kayak rentals and camping reservations at the visitor center in Motueka.

Day 1

We launched kayaks from Marahau in the morning, paddling north all day to explore the bays and islands along the way to Anchorage Bay. In the summer months (December-March), fur seals and their pups can be found around Adele Island. It was definitely a highlight of the trip to have seals playing and diving in the island's shallow waters. We dropped the kayaks off at Watering Cove, a breathtaking little beach with stunning rock formations and great swimming. The kayak company will pick the boats up at various bays along the track, so we could take the short walk to Anchorage Bay by foot. The Great Walks have well-equipped huts which are often booked months in advance, and some also have campsites with basic facilities. Our camping area at Anchorage Bay had running water, a shelter for cooking, and bathrooms with flush toilets. The bay itself is a north facing crescent with absolutely beautiful waters and a jungle atmosphere on the shore. Be mindful of leaving food or garbage in camp, the flightless weka bird likes to pilfer at night. The sand flies were bearable, but certainly present.

Day 2

The next morning we packed up in time to catch the low tide route towards Torrent Bay. The estuary can be crossed two hours on either side of low tide, or you can take the all-tide track around it. The track to Bark Bay is 11.5 km of sloping hills through the humid, lush forest before reaching the ocean again at idyllic beaches. Bark Bay camping is right on the beach and the swimming is worth the sand flies.

Day 3

Crossing the Bark Bay estuary is easiest at low tide, and from there it's a 13.5 km trek to Awaroa. The elevation rises and falls throughout this portion of the track and primarily stays in the forest. Return to the coast at Onetahuti Bay on a beautiful stretch of beach, then the track leads up the Tonga Saddle before descending to Awaroa Inlet. The hut and campground is accessible once the tide has receded and exposed the beach to walk on. We lost the sunshine on our last day and hustled through rain to the lodge at Awaroa where we caught our reserved jetboat down south.

Pack List

  • Reservation for camping or huts
  • Kayak, paddle, life jacket
  • Waterproof bags
  • 10 Essentials
  • Tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag
  • Stove, fuel, food supplies
  • Swimsuit, towel
  • Sun protection: sunscreen, sunglasses, hat
  • Camera
Read More

How to Get There

Have you done this adventure? Have something to add? You could be the first to leave a review!

Added by Emily Noyd

Wilderness ranger in Yosemite National Park. Raised by Washington mountains and Puget Sound islands. I live for sunrise, backcountry cooking, climbing, roadtrips, and coffee.


Camping, Photography, Kayaking, Swimming, Backpacking, Hiking

Skill Level:



Year Round

Trail Type:



23 Miles

Elev. Gain:

328 Feet


Swimming Hole

Are we missing something?

Suggest an edit

More Adventures Nearby

Paddle on the Puhoi River

New Zealand / Puhoi River Launch

This 8km paddle (one way) begins in the quaint Bohemian village of Puhoi (-36.512036, 174.661521) nestled in-between the scenic hills north of Auckland.

Jamie Gallant
3 Saves

Hike to Key Summit

New Zealand / The Divide Carpark

In the Fiordland National Park, the Key Summit sits at the beginning of one of New Zealand's Great Walks, The Routeburn Track.

Tiffany Young
5 Saves

Whale Watch in Kaikoura

New Zealand / Whaleway Station Rd, Kaikoura

A couple hours north of Christchurch, New Zealand sits the very small tourist and fishing town of Kaikoura.

Nick Palastro
2 Saves