If you’re planning on camping near Totaranui Beach on your visit to Abel Tasman we have an amazing hike for you! This part of the Northern Loop takes you up Gibbs Hill Track, to Whariwharangi Hut, Separation Point, before walking along some of the most beautiful Abel Tasman beaches. Join us as we hike up and over the mountains and through the coves, on one of the best Abel Tasman day hikes inside this stunning national park.
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Totaranui Beach Camping
Totaranui Beach is known as one of the best campsites in Abel Tasman. It’s also a popular place to start multi-day hikes through the national park.
The spots for tents and campervans are all along the gorgeous Totaranui Beach, and bathrooms with showers (ice cold showers!) are available. There’s also a visitors center with great information so you can plan out your Abel Tasman Hikes.
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Abel Tasman Northern Loop Hike
There’s endless trails to take on inside Abel Tasman National Park. This means you can really create your own route based on skill level and the time you have. Our version of the Northern Loop combined several different trails and then wrapped around the coast. Below is the list of tracks and coves we experienced in order on our 16 mile (25.75 km) journey!
- Totaranui Beach
- Gibbs Hill Track
- Whariwharangi Hut and Bay
- Separation Point
- Mutton Cove
- Anatakapau Bay
- Anapai Bay
- Totaranui Beach
Setting Off For Sunrise
Since this an all day Abel Tasman Hike you’re going to want to get as early of a start as possible. Being that we were visiting the national park in late June, we had to wait until around 8am for sunrise.
It’s important to note wherever you decide to set up camp you’ll still be starting your hike from the visitors center. From there it’s about a 15 minute walk to the beginning of the Gibbs Hill Track.
Abel Tasman Hike Tip
Download the Abel Tasman App to your phone when you first arrive at the visitors center. This will get you WiFi hotspots at most of the huts inside Abel Tasman for checking the weather, and access to other valuable information.
Gibbs Hill Track
When we first started up the Gibbs Hill Track the sun was just starting to peak out above the mountains. We were ready to get our hike on, but honestly weren’t prepared for this steep of an incline to start our day! Gibbs Hill Track is about an hour long completely vertical dirt trail that takes you up through the forest.
There are other hills to take on throughout this loop, but this was definitely the most difficult! Once you get to the highest peak of the Gibbs Hill Track it’s pretty smooth sailing all the way down to the Whariwharangi Hut. This is a good opportunity to catch your breath, drink some fluids, and dig into a snack or breakfast.
About 2.5 hours into our hike we made it to the Whariwharangi Hut. This was the first camping hut we’d seen in New Zealand, and we were very impressed by the facilities!
By most travelers standards it’s pretty basic accommodations. However, if you’re taking on a multi-day Abel Tasman hike the thin mattress might be everything to you. In addition to the 20 some odd beds available inside the Whariwharangi Hut, there are also a number of camping sites outside for those packing tents.
Whatever you think of the accommodations here, the best part of the Whariwharangi Hut is what lies just after it. This was our first introduction to the Abel Tasman beaches on this hike, and oh were we amazed!!
As we strolled out to Whariwharangi Bay our jaws practically hit the ground with excitement. Even with it being June at the start of New Zealand’s winter, Abel Tasman is still blessed with warm temperatures. We made sure to get a quick dip in the ocean here before heading off towards Separation Point.
Separation Point is a quick outlook off the main path on this Abel Tasman hike, and it’s well worth it for the views. It is only about a 45 minute detour from the Northern Loop. Once you get to the outlook you can also hike down to the Separation Point Lighthouse. Just be aware the way down to the lighthouse is very steep!
Abel Tasman Hike Tip: If you aren’t up for the entire loop many travelers do this portion as a day hike. Totaranui Beach to Separation Point and back will take 5 to 6 hours total.
Continuing Onto the Abel Tasman Beaches
Now several kilometers into the hike we were ready for more beautiful Abel Tasman Beaches! Here you’ll go from cove to cove and walk across the golden sands of the coast. This was our favorite part of this Abel Tasman hike, and we took multiple dips in the clear blue ocean.
Watch your step as you walk from Anatakapau and Anapai Bay over the sharp rocks. There’s nowhere as great to stay as the Whariwharangi Hut in this area, but campsites are available for tents on the different beaches. Take your time exploring around these three coves and enjoy the special scenery of Abel Tasman National Park.
- Mutton Cove
- Anatakapau Bay
- Anapai Bay
Abel Tasman Hike to Totaranui Beach
Once you’ve had your fun at the Abel Tasman beaches it’s time to head back to camp. You’ll likely be exhausted after walking almost 16 miles at this point, but you’re almost home!
The final stretch will take you up and over the mountain and intersect with the beginning of the Gibbs Hill Track. Hopefully you’ll leave yourself enough time to catch the sunset!
Have any questions about this Abel Tasman hike, the Whariwharangi Hut, or camping in Totaranui Beach? Let us know in the comments below!
Brigitte & Jake
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New Zealand Travel Planning
Jucy Van: The best way to explore New Zealand is with a Jucy camper! We spent over six weeks driving around the North and South Islands in a van and loved every moment.
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South Island New Zealand
Travel Tips & Guides: North Island Itinerary – South Island Itinerary – 25 Beautiful Beaches – Wellington to Picton Ferry – 15 Freedom Camping Tips – 27 Delicious Food & Drinks – 7 Milford Sound Tips
Queenstown: Ben Lomond Track – Fergburger (Is it Worth It?) – Tiki Trail Hike – Fun Wine Tour – Queenstown Hill Hike – 18 Fun Queenstown Things to Do – Queenstown Restaurants – Arrowtown NZ
North Coast: Wharariki Beach & Archway Islands – 6 Picton Things to Do
East Coast: Banks Peninsula – French Town of Akaroa – Tunnel Beach Dunedin – Hanmer Springs – Kaikoura
Mt. Cook & Tekapo: 10 Mount Cook Tips – Hooker Valley Track – 5 Can’t Miss Lake Tekapo
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