A Guide To Golden Bay/Abel Tasman

Updated: Feb 20

Probably one of the places I field messages for the most, and to be honest I don't blame you all. Abel Tasman is unlike anywhere else in the South Island here in New Zealand. It is truly just an actual paradise, with its Golden beaches, turquoise waters and stunning coastlines, it's more than easy to see why it is so loved.


As a kid I had always been lucky enough to spend my Summers by the water, mainly in the Marlborough Sounds and as I got older it's become a tradition for Regan and I to visit and explore the Tasman area at least twice every Summer. Although due to my job we don't get to spend as long there as we would like, a few days away by the sea is still super dreamy.


So your thinking of checking it out for yourself but not sure where to start? Where is best to stay and what is there to do?


Keep on reading because I have you covered..


The Tasman district itself is packed full of amazing things to see and do.

For convenience I would suggest staying in one of the following areas listed below-


This is because once you go over the Takaka hill it is quite secluded from a lot of things, but if you don’t mind that at all and want to spend more than a day trip over in Golden Bay, somewhere like Pohara or Tata beach is perfect as your still close enough to have the convenience of the supermarket and cafes nearby in Takaka.

If you do want to stay over the other side of the hill the Pohara Top 10 is a great campground with everything you need. It is super clean and has some cool little cafes and a camp shop that has all you need.

Next time we will likely camp in Tata Beach as we prefer the Golden sand and it’s better for boat access but Pohara is fab for the kids they even have a movie room.

Areas I think that are best to base yourself in:


- Motueka

-Kaiteriteri (lots of baches and x2 camping grounds)

-Little Kaiteriteri

- Marahau

- Riwaka

- Split Apple rock


These locations are also fantastic for if you have a family as there is a great range and mix of holiday homes and camping grounds on offer. The main campground in Kaiteri is often where you will find us for the last nearly 6 years and it is amazing.


The sites are generous and it’s very clean with great amenities- like all fab summer hot spots though you need to book about a year in advance to secure a good Bach or normally it’s around May every year that the campground sites become available to book.



So you want to check out some of the Abel Tasman track, but your not sure where to start?

The Abel Tasman Track starts in Marahau and ends in Wainui. Typically known as being a walk that people complete across a few days. In the Summer you will also find lots of people who just want to find a nice spot to park up their boat and relax for the day.

There are some truly beautiful beaches to be found in the National park especially if your wanting to walk in only a couple of hours from either end, but to access the even more breathtaking spots like Awaroa, Anchorage and Totaranui a water taxi is a lot easier.

There are a couple of different options on offer to get into the park by water, there are the bigger boat cruises, then there are the water taxis which are quicker and of course by kayak.

We personally either walk in a few hours, or we just jump on a Water Taxi early in the morning and get off at one of the main spots like Anchorage to spend the entire day. We then walk around the different tracks and beaches from there as it’s a great place to base yourself.

The Cleopatra pools is always a fave spot to stop off at and is a pretty easy walk best done from Anchorage. Kids always love this spot and it’s a nice place to cool off too.


Pricing wise if you are wanting to explore the park without a guide or doing one of their packages etc we normally pay about $40 per person each way, it’s totally worth paying if it’s a super hot day and you don’t want to spend hours walking especially or if you have kids that can only handle an hour or two on their feet It’s super convenient.








Some of our favourite other things to do in the Tasman region are listed below, please note I won’t be sharing some of our other spots as we love that when we go there they aren’t over run with people, for us it’s all about adventuring and finding our own special spots in places we love too 🤍


- Check out the St Arnaud Lakes on your way to Nelson if your coming via the pass lots of cool waterfalls to be found on their hiking tracks

-Sunrise in Kaiteriteri is a must! We do this every morning almost each visit and it is just the best

- Riwaka Resurgence (make sure you educate yourself on the cultural meaning behind it so you can respect the area before you go )

- As mentioned above Cleopatra pools you can visit this when you are on the coastal Abel Tasman track

- Wainui Falls (Golden Bay)

-Salisbury Falls which is located near the Heaphy track

- Farewell Spit

-Wharariki Beach

-Honeymoon Bay

- Totaranui

- Awaroa (they sell pizza here too and it’s great)

-Tata Beach

- Te waikoropupu-springs (Pupu springs)

- The brook sanctuary for more small waterfalls

- Explore parts of Heaphy track

- If your more near Nelson check out their local rivers and Cable Bay too




Favourite places to eat


- Bloom Motueka

-Smoking Barrell Motueka

- Toad Hall Motueka

- Hook on Marahau (Marahau)

- The Wholemeal cafe (Takaka)

- The Dangerous Kitchen (Takaka)



I will continue to add to this blog post as more questions come in x





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