Interislander - Cook Strait Ferries

Top 5 Kayaking Spots in Abel Tasman

Abel Tasman National Park is a natural gem located at the top of New Zealand's South Island, near Nelson. Here, nature showcases its most exquisite beauty - pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and lush coastal landscapes.

Abel Tasman Fraser Clements950x575 ResizedImageWzk1MCw1NzVd Abel Tasman Track 1 Abel Tasman

If you're a kayaking enthusiast, you're in for a treat. All you need to do is cross the Cook Strait with Interislander, and you’re there. Let’s delve deep into the top 5 kayaking spots in Abel Tasman, ensuring your adventure here is nothing short of extraordinary.

Where is Abel Tasman?

Abel Tasman National Park graces the northern tip of New Zealand's South Island, a location that ensures it remains relatively unspoiled and pristine. It's a haven for nature enthusiasts, particularly those who cherish kayaking adventures amidst untouched natural beauty.

What's Abel Tasman known for?

Despite being one of New Zealand's smallest national parks in terms of land area, Abel Tasman is renowned for its grandeur. It's a place where nature unfolds its marvels, where breathtaking coastlines, an abundance of wildlife, and a wide array of outdoor activities beckon. 

Here, you'll find an enchanting blend of natural beauty and recreational opportunities, making it a top destination for both nature lovers and adventure seekers.

What's the best way to get to Abel Tasman?

If you're embarking on a journey from the North Island to explore the wonders of Abel Tasman, the Interislander ferry is your gateway to this paradise. This iconic ferry ride serves as more than just transportation; it's an integral part of the New Zealand experience. As you traverse the Cook Strait, you'll be treated to vistas of the Marlborough Sounds, a mesmerising collection of ancient sunken river valleys.

Kayaking at Te Puketea in the Abel Tasman National Park credit Wilsons Abel Tasman 1000x560 ResizedImageWzYwMCwzMzZd

Kayaking at Te Puketea in the Abel Tasman National Park

The top 5 kayaking spots in Abel Tasman

Now, let's dive into the heart of your Abel Tasman adventure: the top 5 kayaking spots that promise to leave you spellbound.

Awaroa Bay

Our first destination is Awaroa Bay, a place famed for its iconic heart-shaped sandbar. It's a fantastic starting point for kayakers, providing a serene setting and stunning views as you paddle along the coastline. Here, you'll find tranquillity and natural beauty at every stroke of your paddle.

The bay's unique heart-shaped sandbar is a sight to behold, and kayaking around it adds a touch of romance to your adventure. The waters here are typically calm, making it an ideal spot for beginners and experienced kayakers alike. 

Awaroa Beach 1

As you glide through the bay, the surrounding lush forests and granite cliffs create a picturesque backdrop. It's a place where time seems to stand still, and the beauty of nature takes centre stage.

abel tasman bark bay campsite1 1920

Bark Bay

Next up is Bark Bay, a spot that caters to both novice and experienced kayakers. The bay's calm waters are perfect for beginners, while its lush forests and opportunities to spot native wildlife make it a delightful experience for all.

Kayaking in Bark Bay is akin to paddling through a nature lover's paradise. The tranquillity of the waters is matched only by the serenity of the surrounding landscapes. 

Here, you can paddle along the coastline, taking in the lush greenery and breathing in the crisp, salty air. Keep an eye out for the native birdlife that calls this area home, and you might be lucky enough to spot a playful seal or two.

Torrent Bay

Our journey continues to the picturesque Torrent Bay, where emerald waters and hidden coves await your exploration. As you paddle through this coastal gem, you'll feel like you've entered a world straight out of a postcard.

Despite its name being Torrent Bay, it’s an ideal spot for kayaking, offering a sense of serenity that's hard to find elsewhere. The bay's calm waters make it accessible to kayakers of all levels, ensuring that everyone can partake in the beauty it has to offer. 

torrent bay beach

Paddle along the coastline, and you'll be greeted by lush forests that touch the sky, their reflection dancing on the emerald waters.

onetahuti bay campsite abel tasman 1920

Onetahuti Bay

For those seeking a more secluded and tranquil experience, Onetahuti Bay is a hidden treasure. Its tranquil waters mirror the surrounding stunning landscapes, creating a perfect environment for kayakers seeking a peaceful adventure.

Onetahuti Bay feels like a secret world that you've stumbled upon. As you paddle through its waters, the pristine beauty of the bay unfolds before you. The surrounding landscapes, with their rugged cliffs and dense forests, create a sense of isolation and serenity that's truly special.

One of the highlights of Onetahuti Bay is its pristine beaches, where you can take a break from kayaking and soak in the tranquil atmosphere. These beaches are often devoid of crowds, offering you a slice of paradise all to yourself. 

Golden Bay

Our final destination is the magnificent Golden Bay, where you'll embark on a truly unique kayaking experience. Beyond its appeal to kayakers, this area is home to an abundance of marine life, making it an excellent spot for snorkelling too. 

Golden Bay is a kayaker's dream come true. As you paddle through its waters, you'll quickly realise why it's named "Golden." The bay seems to shimmer and sparkle in the sunlight, casting a warm and inviting glow over everything it touches.

img 1536905851 983 28494 B933E3FC F530 BF94 6931E89A7EB94664 aWxvdmVrZWxseQo CropResizeWzEyMDAsNjMwLDc1LCJqcGciXQ

What makes Golden Bay truly remarkable is its rich marine life. It's not uncommon to encounter playful dolphins, curious seals, and a vibrant array of fish as you kayak through these waters. If you're a snorkelling enthusiast, don't miss the opportunity to dive in and explore the underwater world. The crystal-clear waters of Golden Bay provide exceptional visibility, allowing you to witness the beauty of the marine ecosystem up close.

Top tips for kayaking in Abel Tasman

Before you set out on your kayaking adventure in Abel Tasman, consider these essential tips to ensure your safety and maximise your enjoyment:

Check the weather

Before embarking on your kayaking adventure in Abel Tasman, it's absolutely essential to check the weather forecast. New Zealand's weather can be notoriously unpredictable.

When considering the weather, you're taking a proactive approach to ensure a smooth and enjoyable kayaking journey. Why is this so important? Firstly, it's all about safety. What may seem like a calm and sunny day can quickly turn into a hazardous situation with unexpected storms or strong winds. 

Checking the forecast allows you to make informed decisions about when and where to kayak, significantly reducing the chances of encountering unpredictable and potentially dangerous weather.

Lastly, knowing the weather forecast also aids in proper gear preparation. Depending on what the weather has in store, you may need to pack additional layers for warmth, waterproof gear if rain is expected, or extra sun protection on sunny days. Being prepared in this way ensures that your focus remains on the stunning natural beauty of Abel Tasman rather than on discomfort or unexpected challenges.

Untitled design 3

Pack wisely 

When preparing for a day of kayaking in Abel Tasman, packing wisely is key to ensuring your comfort, safety, and overall satisfaction.

One essential consideration is sun protection. New Zealand's sun can be harsh, even on cloudy days. Therefore, it's vital to pack sunscreen with a high SPF to protect your skin. Don't forget to apply it generously, and reapply as needed, especially if you're in and out of the water. Along with sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses with UV protection are essential to shield yourself from the sun's intense rays.

Another vital aspect of packing wisely is hydration. Kayaking can be physically demanding, even in cooler weather. Thus, it's imperative to carry an adequate supply of drinking water to stay hydrated throughout your journey. A reusable water bottle or hydration pack is not just practical but also eco-friendly. Staying properly hydrated keeps your energy levels up and ensures you remain comfortable throughout your adventure.

Depending on the duration of your kayaking trip, you might also want to consider bringing along snacks or a packed lunch. Lightweight, non-perishable options like energy bars, trail mix, or sandwiches are excellent choices to keep you fuelled and energised throughout the day.

Respect the environment 

Abel Tasman is a pristine natural area, and it's crucial to treat it with care. Respect the wildlife and ecosystems; avoid disturbing animals and leaving any trace of your visit.

Consider guided tours

To enhance your kayaking adventure and gain deeper insights into the area's history, ecology, and hidden gems, consider taking a guided kayaking tour. Knowledgeable guides can enrich your experience and ensure you don't miss any of the park's treasures.

Ready for your Abel Tasman kayak adventure?

Now that you know the five best kayaking spots in Abel Tasman and have the essential tips for a great adventure, you're fully equipped to make the most of your journey. Whether you're a nature enthusiast or an adventure seeker, Abel Tasman National Park offers something truly special. 

So, don't wait any longer—book your Interislander journey and get ready to experience the magic of kayaking in this pristine coastal paradise.