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Camping at Totaranui Beach, Abel Tasman National Park

Camping at Totaranui Beach, Abel Tasman National Park

Whether you’re planning on hiking the multi-day Abel Tasman Coastal Track or relaxing by a beautiful beach, camping at Totaranui Beach is always a good idea. Totaranui Beach marks the end (or the start) of most people’s multi-day Abel Tasman hiking adventure, but it’s also the perfect place to go if you’re short on time and want to get a feel for this tropical looking region of New Zealand.

Camping at Totaruanui Beach

  • Camping Fee: $13 per person
  • Amenities: Drinking water, an awesome beach on your doorstep, showers (they’re cold though), barbeque areas.

We didn’t do the entire Abel Tasman Coastal Track, but after literally minutes of research I decided that Totaranui was the best place to visit to get a taste of the National Park. From Totaranui you can easily walk to several nearby beaches and viewpoints, but more on that later. Let’s talk about camping!

Well, we didn’t camp in the traditional sense; instead we slept in the back of our station wagon. Lots of people do this while travelling around New Zealand and I think it’s the best way to see the country. There are hundreds of at the Totaranui Camping Ground and it was almost empty when we visited (in late April). I’ve heard it gets really busy over the summer holidays, when locals flock to here to soak up the sun.

You’ll see native birds roaming the camping ground – some will come right up to you in search of food. Mosquitoes will be your biggest problem when camping at Totaranui Beach though – we had a few bites after spending a couple of days in the area (I’m sure it’d be worse over summer).

Totaranui Beach

Totaranui Beach is the furthest north that the water taxis reach, meaning most people either start or finish their hike there. I wasn’t expecting the beach to be as good as it is – it really is stunning and I’d recommend people visit it even if they have no interest in hiking to nearby beaches. It’d be a great place for a family camping trip.


Short Hikes from Totaranui Beach

The short hike to Anapai Bay (and further to Mutton Cove if you want a longer walk) is a great introduction to the Abel Tasman Coastal Track. Anapai Bay is a picturesque golden sand beach – you can also camp there if you have a tent (you’ll need to book ahead though).

The other short hike from Totaranui Beach heads up the hill and over to Goat Bay, a stunning white sand beach that wouldn’t look out of place in Thailand or Indonesia. Again, it was almost completely deserted – I’m starting to think that March – May is the perfect time to visit Abel Tasman National Park (it was a bit cold for swimming though). Make sure you take the small detour to Skinner Point for an awesome view of Totaranui Beach from above.

READ MORE: I wrote a post on my other blog about hiking in Abel Tasman National Park – check it out!

Getting to Totaranui Beach

The road from Motueka to Takaka, the gateway to Golden Bay and the northern side of Abel Tasman National Park, is one of New Zealand’s curviest roads. It’s not the most pleasant of drives, especially if you get car sick, but it’s definitely an area worth visiting. From Takaka, head around the coast past Tata Beach and Wainui Falls. You’ll eventually come to a gravel road, which is quite rough in places. After 14 kilometres of gravel road you’ll be relieved to finally be at the beach – check your car to see if you lost any hubcaps like we did.

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Jon Algie

A travel blogger from New Zealand who has just returned home after 6 years abroad. Join me as I see as much of the South Island as I can.