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Nelson top 5 beaches and beyond in Abel Tasman

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Golden Bay, South Island

Finding a beach in Nelson is ridiculously easy. You can hardly move from the regional airport and one of New Zealand’s top family beaches, Tahunanui is within your sights. The province is coast to coast fringed with long stretches of gold perfection, shallow safe waters for children and plenty of campgrounds adjacent to the perfect summer holiday spot.


You are spoiled for choice with numerous beaches located within the National Park. For ideas and holiday inspiration about what to do in the park check out Abel Tasman National Park options. The park is a pink sized national treasure that punches above its size with its global appeal. This is due to the glittering gold beaches, shallow turquoise waters, spectacular ocean views and range of wildlife. And then there is the glorious weather … read more Abel Tasman National Park trip guide & tips, things to do: Best Bits.

Beach @Totaranui Camping ground, New Zealand
@Totaranui Camping ground

Abel Tasman National Park Beaches – Totaranui

The beach is approximately 1 km in length, gold sand, with substantial camping grounds supporting a wide range of activities.  It is very popular and gets booked out during the peak summer season. accessible by boat, car or even kayak. It is probably the most popular spot in the Abel Tasman. It is also a useful spot to access the Northern section of the park and is the last water taxi point.

Abel Tasman National Park Beaches – Te Pukatea Bay

A hidden gem and not difficult to access, you can kayak from Anchorage and it is a 10 minute walk from water taxi scheduled drop off points. Camping is permitted with space for 7 tent sites, 14 campers, 2 long drops and picnic tables! Water is here too but must be boiled. As Anchorage is only 10 minutes away fresh water is just a short stroll up the beach.

Te Puketea Beach on Pitt Head, Abel Tasman National Park, South Island, New Zealand
Te Puketea Beach on Pitt Head, Abel Tasman National Park
Busy crowded anchorage with many boats causing possible water pollution and contamination at Oneroa Beach Bay, Waiheke Island, New Zealand, NZ
Anchorage Beach

Abel Tasman National Park Beaches – Anchorage

Very popular, it is long, picturesque and in the perfect location for services. A popular way to access the beach is walking from Marahau (12km).  The facilities are a large campground with fresh drinking water, toilets and kitchen facilities.  It is usually fully booked several months in advance during the peak summer season. Anchorage being the most well known as well as being a transport hub for water taxis and kayaks.



In Nelson, Nelson City Council monitors 11 swimming spots. The areas include five coastal beaches and six rivers, which are monitored from November 30 to March 15 on a weekly basis. For more information check Bathing water quality Nelson.

Behaviour and ecology of NZ spotted shag

Spotted shags dive from the sea surface to catch fish and marine invertebrates with their slender hooked bills, propelling themselves underwater with webbed feet. Outside the breeding season they form large feeding and roosting flocks of up to 2000 birds. Elaborate male display movements include wing-waving, swing-pointing, bowing, darting, sky-pointing, gaping, kink-throating, hopping, and various other body postures. Displaying males grunt; females are silent.


Spotted shag diet consists of small fish and marine invertebrates, including squid and plankton. They feed in deep water up to 16 km offshore. Longest dive recorded was 70 seconds. Spotted shags often have a mass of small stones (‘rangle’) in their gizzards, the function of which is debated, with possibilities including to function as ballast, to grind up food, and to create an inhospitable environment for gut parasites. Roosting birds often regurgitate piles of rangle stones that are obvious on sandy beaches but overlooked at rocky sites.

Source Spotted shag (NZ birds online)

Archway rock at Wharariki Beach, Golden Bay
Archway rock at Wharariki Beach, Golden Bay


Entrance gates Open during daylight hours, gates open at sunrise and close at sunset – please check specific timing on entrance gates. Source Nelson local govt online

Moturoa Rabbit Island Beach Map


Best Bits travel guide is published by Owned and managed by PacificJane Ltd.


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