Kayak and Camp Abel Tasman, Self-Guided

Self-guided sea kayaking and camping on the golden beaches of the Abel Tasman National Park. 3 days, 2 nights.

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REF: 08876

Kayak and Camp Abel Tasman, Self-Guided

Self-guided sea kayaking and camping on the golden beaches of the Abel Tasman National Park. 3 days, 2 nights.

Abel Tasman National Park on New Zealand’s South Island is one of the most popular and famous natural areas in the country. Find out firsthand what makes this park so special with a couple of days of self-guided sea kayaking along the coast at your own pace. You’ll be free to explore secluded coves, paddle past seal colonies, and set up camp on isolated beaches backed by lush green forest. Just you and your mates camping on the beach under the stars is what your self-guided adventure is all about. Your wilderness weekend includes:

  • 3 days of sea kayaking in Abel Tasman
  • 2 nights of camping on remote beaches
  • All kayaking equipment
  • Water taxi to the launch point
  • All park and campsite fees
  • A full map of where to go and what to see.

Perfect for:
This is the perfect mini-adventure for active travellers and nature lovers who love a sense of freedom. No previous kayaking experience needed.

What to Expect

Day 1: Get started, paddle to Bark Bay.

Meet your hosts who will guide you through the kayaks, and will give a full briefing on the Abel Tasman National Park.

Pack the kayaks and listen to a safety briefing, then board the water taxi for a swift ride to Onetahuti.

Fuel up with lunch at Onetahuti before grabbing your paddle and heading onto the water.

You’ll spend the afternoon exploring wherever you like. You’ll be free to paddle among offshore islands, explore pristine coves, and marvel at the blue-green colour of the water. You can take it as easy or as fast as you like, you are you’re own guide!

Arrive at the Bark Bay campsite in the late afternoon. Set up camp, relax on the beach, and enjoy dinner in a beautiful setting.

Approximately 4 hours of kayaking

Day 2: Kayak to Apple Tree

Wake up in paradise to the sound of birds chirping. Eat breakfast on the beach, then decamp and set out for a full day of kayaking. Where you go next is up to you, you’re the boss.

Paddle along the coast, stopping to take pictures and splash around. Take a deep breath of fresh air and watch the play of sunlight on water.

Around midday you’ll probably want to stop in for lunch, then continue on to the Apple Tree campsite, arriving in the late afternoon. But that is up to you.

Relax on the beach or take a walk into the forest before returning to camp for dinner and rest.

Approximately 5 – 6 hours of kayaking

Day 3: Kayak back to the base.

Relax over breakfast and listen as the forest comes to life.

Arrive at the kayaking base around midday. You’ll have time to shower and reminisce about your adventure.

Note: This itinerary and the duration of the activities are subject your own discretion, and you can take the trip as fast or as slow as you like.


You’ll camp at official campsites operated by the Department of Conservation. The campsites are located right on the beach and are only accessible by foot or water. Shelter, a fire pit, toilets and water are provided. You will be provided with a map of where to camp overnight.

Dates & Prices

Please note: Flights are NOT included and must be purchased separately.

Sorry, no group trips are currently planned, book a private trip or get a quote.

If you can't find a private trip that suits you, ask for a quote.

Prices include

  • Accommodation
  • Equipment
  • Local Transport
  • Routes & Maps

Optional Extras

Make your life easy. Once you have reserved your space, your host can help you arrange the extras you’ll need. Here are some guide prices which can be confirmed with you during booking.

2-man tent Payable Before Departure
Cooking pack AU$25.00 Per Night
Camping mat AU$5.00 Per Person, Per Night
2-man tent AU$25.00 Per Night

Trip Photos


View map

Abel Tasman National Park is New Zealand’s smallest park at just 225 square kilometers, but it’s also one of the most beautiful and diverse. The park encompasses a section of coastline on the northern tip of the South Island. Named for the European explorer who first landed there in 1642, the park was established 300 years later to protect vulnerable birds from logging.

There are no vehicles allowed in Abel Tasman, so the only access is by foot or boat, making it a nature lover’s paradise. There’s a lot to explore, including bright blue coves and lagoons, beaches of golden sand, and dense green forest that almost feels tropical.

Start point?
You’ll start your trip at the kayak base in Marahau. Your host will be in contact prior to the trip, giving the exact location of this.

Finish point?
You’ll end your tour at the base back in Marahau. Your guide will be in contact closer to the time to confirm exact details of this.

Getting there and away?
There are no direct flights to Nelson Airport (NSN) from Australia, so you’ll have to route through Christchurch or Auckland. You can either choose to book a transfer via your hosts at an extra cost, or get public transport.

For extra financial protection against unforeseen circumstances such as erupting Icelandic volcanoes, we recommend you book your flights using a credit card.

Frequently Asked Questions

The following are not included in the trip price:

  • Flights to/from Nelson
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal expenses
  • Tips for your guide (optional)
  • Food
  • Camping equipment

For safety reasons, a minimum of 2 people is needed for the self-guided trip.

Sea kayaking in Abel Tasman is easy and incredibly scenic. The water is mostly calm. Waves or a headwind might slow you down a bit, but there’s no reason to hurry.

This trip is suitable for anyone in good condition. No previous kayaking experience is needed—you’ll learn everything you need to know at the safety briefing at the beginning of your tour.

Be sure to bring enough food for your whole journey. We recommend purchasing this before you get to Marahau. Make sure you bring plenty of fresh water with you. Filtered water is available at our base and hut sites, and untreated water is available at the campsites.

Here’s an example of what to bring.

Day 1: Fresh foods.

Day 2: Root vegetables/grains/cereals/vacuum packed meats.

Day 3: Dehydrated/tinned/packaged/packet meals.

Snacks: Fresh fruit, muesli bars, nuts and seeds, chocolate bars, crackers etc.

Tip: The kayak will keep fruit and vegetables fresh for a 2–3 day period, save the dehydrated food for the last few days of your trip! We advise that leafy greens (eg lettuce) need to be eaten day 1–2 and we advise against taking chicken.

Normally the weather in the Abel Tasman National Park is warm and sunny. In summer the average air temperature is 24 °C during the day and 13 °C in the evenings, and the water temperature is 18 °C.

During the winter months the average air temperature is 12 °C during the day and 4 °C in the evenings, and the water temperature is 14 °C.

Winds can occur during any time of the year, and may affect kayaking itineraries and timing. Autumn and early winter are generally the calmest.

Your host will provide all the kayaking and safety equipment. The following will be provided : Buoyancy vest, spray skirt, paddle jacket, paddle, safety emergency flares, waterproof map, water pump and a spare paddle.

You can hire a tent, a sleeping bag and your cooking equipment at a small extra cost.

For kayaking please pack:

  • Water bottle
  • Sun protection (hat, sunglasses, sunblock)
  • Bug repellent
  • Swimsuit and towel
  • Warm top (fleece or wool)
  • Windbreaker

For evenings at camp please pack:

  • Change of clothes
  • Long trousers
  • Trainers or hiking shoes
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Flashlight or head torch
  • Personal toiletries and medications
  • Your own sleeping bag (optional)
  • A tent
  • A camping mat
  • A sleeping bag

If you plan to cook a hot meal ensure you bring a cooker and fuel as fires are only permitted in certain parts of the park, at certain times of the year. Pots, pans, utensils, cutlery, plates and cups will also come in handy. Tents, camping mats, sleeping bags and cooking equipment can all be hired if you don’t have your own.

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