If you want to see one of the best beaches in Abel Tasman National Park (and therefore New Zealand) but can’t be bothered with days of hiking, Goat Bay is the place for you. It’s only an hour or so walk away from Totaranui Beach (which you can drive to) and gives you a taste of the beauty on offer in this stunning National Park.
After a short hike through the bush you’ll come to the turn off for the Skinner Point lookout. You definitely want take this short detour. From Skinner Point you get a spectacular view of Totaranui Beach and the wild native forest surrounding it. You can also see Goat Bay and further towards the southern end of the national park’s coastline. It’s got to be one of the best viewpoints on the Abel Tasman Coastal Track.
From Skinner Point it’s a short downhill hike to Goat Bay. From the depths of the bush you’ll emerge onto a beautiful white sand beach that wouldn’t look out of place on a tropical island in Thailand or the Caribbean. I was shocked by how idyllic this beach is. The water is that perfect shade of clear blue and the native trees push right up to the edge of the sand. If there is a better beach in New Zealand I’m yet to see it.
You can keep walking along the beach and then back onto the coastal track heading towards Awaroa. I kind of wish we hiked a little further in that direction but we ran out of time. From Totaranui Beach you can also walk the other way to Anapai Bay (I’ll be covering that in another post).
Getting to Goat Bay
Totaranui is the gateway to this section of Abel Tasman National Park. To get there you first need to drive over a massive hill packed with tight corners, which eventually leads to Takaka. From Takaka you can explore Golden Bay (including the amazing Te Waikoropupū Springs) and then head along a gravel road to Totaranui. It’s a really beautiful part of the country and you should try and spend at least a couple of days there. There are hotels in Takaka and some of the other small settlements or you can camp at the Totaranui DOC camp like we did. Walking from Totaranui to Goat Bay is easy — just head towards the right side of the beach and then along the coastal track. You can get a map and route advice from the friendly campsite staff.
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