The good thing about the Abel Tasman beach campsites is they are all pretty awesome in their own right. I know what you are thinking though; just tell me…..
My personal favourites are Te Pukatea, Mosquito Bay and Onetahuti.
That being said, everyone has different preferences, so I thought it would be useful to give a general explanation of most of the beach campsites.
There are essentially three styles of beach campsites in the Abel Tasman. The Main Campsites, the Secondary Campsites and the Adventurous Campsites. They are mainly divided by the facilities and access they provide. There are plenty of other awesome beaches that you can/should day visit, but no overnighting
The main sites are Anchorage, Bark Bay, Awaroa and Totaranui.
This is based on the fact that you can boat there, walk there and kayak there. As such these sites have the most volume of people coming through and as such, better facilities. All of these camp sites are gorgeous in their own right and In Totaranui case you can even drive in. Most people have at least heard of Totaranui. It is potentially one of the most beloved Doc Camp sites in NZ, and bookings open in May for the coming New Year Break. It should be noted that Awaroa campsite is ~2.5km from the boat drop off. There are a few critical things to note about Awaroa to make sure you have a good time.
On these campsites you will have filtered running water (they still recommend to boil), easy transport and even huts if you are after accommodation in The Abel Tasman. Family friendly and great times to be had as these are simple options in the middle of New Zealand’s most visited National Park. They are all different styles of bays and campsites so a fun variation of sites along the way.
If that sounds good, but a bit busy for you, then the secondary sites are for you.
My favourite secondary sites are Apple Tree Bay, Observation Beach, Water Cove, Torrent Bay, Onetahuti, and Anapai Bay.
You can actually Boat into Onetahuti, however there is not a hut at this location. Generally, these are more low-key sites with smaller campsites and offering a more remote experience. They will generally have unfiltered water from a local source, long drop toilets and are somewhat close to a main site. A good mix of increased remoteness while still being close to the main sites.
Our favourite Adventurous Campsites are Te Pukatea, Mosquito Bay and Waiharakeke.
The Adventurous Campsites are some of the best experiences. These are either quite tricky to get to by foot/ off the main track, or kayaking is the only access. Expect the amenities to be minimum, but nobody is assessing the quality of amenities when recounting their best memories of their favourite adventures. Take out what you bring in.
The Abel Tasman is one of the only National Parks where there is an abundance of transport options to move yourself around The Park. If you are up for a real adventure then we highly recommend that a kayak is at least introduced into one or more legs of your trip. This will get you to places where it maybe just your own group in site on the water, and getting your own beaches. There are also some awesome spots to visit that you can only get to by Kayak. I can’t stress how much I would encoruage you to get involved with kayaking at least some of the way.
Our favourites include Adele Island, Fisherman’s Island, Frenchman’s Bay, Sandfly Bay, Shag Harbor and mucking round on in the Awaroa inlet on high tide.
The best place to book any of these campsites is through the DOC Website.
Hopefully this gives you some ideas about what to expect at each site so you can easily map out your own custom guided walk.
Abel Tasman TripsThere are a lot of things to consider when organising your Abel Tasman experience. Just allowing for what accomodation is available, distances to travel each day, tide restrictions and how adventurous the group is can create wildly different itineraries.
If you want to destress the process and ensure you get the trip you want, we love putting trips together. Just ask a local!
Send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know your dates, number of people, how adventurous you are and what styles of accomodation you are after and we will make you the best trip possible given the constraints.
Otherwise if you enjoy the process, feel free to check out some of our pre-built trips at Abel Tasman Trips and fit that to your constraints.
We would love to hear from you if you have any questions or would like us to help book an awesome Abel Tasman Experience. We can fully book and organise day trip and over night trips in the Abel Tasman.