If you read my recent post on Goat Bay you’ll know that there are some awesome short walks in Abel Tasman National Park. The coastal track generally takes a few days to complete, so seeing some of the highlights on a short hike is a good idea if you’re short on time (or fitness, money etc). Hiking to Anapai Bay is a great way to see one of the best beaches in the area as well as lots of pristine native forest.
Hiking to Anapai Bay
This hike, which can be done in around three hours (return), starts at Totaranui Beach. If the tide is out you can cut across the estuary which will save you a bit of time. From there it’s an easy uphill hike to the top of the ridge and then down to Anapai Bay. It’s nice, shaded track but I imagine it still gets pretty hot in summer. We did it towards the end of April and the weather was perfect (although a little cold for swimming).
Anapai Bay is made up of two main beaches. The first one you’ll see is by far the longest and it’s a stunning slice of golden sand and clear, calm ocean. It’s quite popular and is generally considered one of the best beaches in Abel Tasman National Park. At the northern end of the beach you’ll find some interesting rock formations — one of them kinda looks like those statues on Easter Island.
The other section of Anapai Bay consists of a small, calm little bay. It was completely deserted (by humans at least) when we passed by. We saw a group of small seals jumping around in the water close to the beach.
Hiking to Mutton Cove
If you want to hike a little further you can push on to Mutton Cove, which will take another half hour or so. The views on this section of the track could be incredible but they are almost always obscured by trees. It’s a bit frustrating but it’s still a nice walk. Mutton Cove is a long stretch of beach which looks very similar to Anapai Bay. It’s a good place to eat lunch and you can also camp there. From Mutton Cove you can continue to Separation Point, which was our original plan until we ran out of time.
The return journey from Anapai Bay is a bit dull as you have to go back along the same track, but that’s a small price to pay to see one of New Zealand’s best beaches. You can also combine this with the hike to Goat Bay to form an awesome day hike.
Getting to Anapai Bay
Water taxis don’t generally travel as far as Anapai Bay so your best bet is to drive to Totaranui and walk from there. The general route to this section of Abel Tasman National Park is Motueka to Takaka and then to Totaranui (or hiking all the way from Marahau). The journey takes around two hours and is partly on a gravel road. There are lots of places to stop along the way, including the powerful Wainui Falls.
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