There are many ways to access the Remote Coast; you can walk, drive, boat, kayak even sail. All allow you to immerse yourself in the incredible National Park. There is heaps to see and do and it’s a photographer’s dream, any direction you point your camera will get you ‘the shot’.
One of the more noticeable features of the remote coast is the glorious beaches and estuaries. Secluded and intimate coves, long stretches of beautiful golden sand. The best way to see these is by sea. Therefore kayaking this incredible marine reserve is one of our favorite ways to immerse yourself in the sea, sun and sand.
Getting out there
Guided Kayak tours are an Abel Tasman must. Get up for a morning start at The Barn. We can arrange the trip and transport to the main beach in Marahau where a water taxi will take you right up to the top of the Marine Reserve to Awaroa. You, a guide, and your kayaks are dropped on the beach where you’ll set off to kayak back down the coast and experience the tranquil serenity of the islands and beaches.
Shag Harbour is one of the absolute favourites. Located about halfway down the Marine Reserve, it is only accessible on a high tide. The granite walls of the gorge like inlet, shaped from the ocean tides, protect the estuary from the waves and wind creating a small oasis of calm crystal clear water. If you are there at the right time of year the baby seals have been known to even jump up onto your kayak. It is a playful area of tidal pools that you can explore surrounded by the bush. The real joy is that it doubles as a seal pup nursery. The little ones play and explore the safe shallow waters while mum stands guard out the front and fetches dinner. While you are not allowed to approach the little furballs, they may just swim up to you to say hello!
Tonga Island is one of the bigger islands, its huge granite boulders poking out of the sea is the perfect home for seal colonies! More colonies also litter the whole coastal area and as you kayak through the reserve you can get a chance to close the gap between you and the wild.
There are heaps of seals about and while you aren’t able to kayak towards them, always keeping a 25m distance, this does not mean you won’t get close and personal with them, the seals will come to you! They are curious animals and are fond of playing with the people kayaking through their homes. Some will follow as you kayak, swimming under and all around you as they play and interact.
As you kayak further down the coast you’ll start to notice the beaches opening up, Tonga Quarry Campsite is the perfect spot to stop for lunch. After a couple of hours of exploring; jumping out of the kayak and into the water is the perfect way to cool down. The guide will lay down a big picnic rug and you and the group can share hot drinks and a hearty sandwich before heading off again on your kayaks into the beautiful blue of the sea.
Finishing At Bark Bay
Depending on how much time you spend making your way down the coast will determine where the water taxi picks you up from, Mosquito Bay and Bark bay are 2 of the most beautiful coves on the whole stretch. Mosquito Bay is only accessible by boat and has a beautiful little tidal bay with golden sand and beautiful clear water.
Bark Bay is one of the overnight stops on the Abel Tasman Great Walk and is accessible by boat and by foot. They have a fully serviced hut and campsite here.
If you come at high tide you can kayak right up into a wide, shallow estuary that will lead you right up to a swing bridge and waterfall!
The water taxi will pick you up from the main beach here, passing by Anchorage Bay you can jump back in the water for a final swim before heading back to Marahau.