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Abel Tasman is one of the most popular National Parks in New Zealand. Peak season from mid-December to March (Easter). Often several hundred day-trippers visit the park for a hike between Awaroa and Marahau. The crowds thin out after Awaroa. Best months for a visit with pleasant weather and fewer hikers are November, March, and April. Continue reading to get all needed information for each season.
For the Coast Track of 3-5 days booking for the 4 huts and 19 campsites is essential for the whole year and soon fully booked during summer. Availability and booking
Split Apple Rock
Tide times must get as much consideration as the weather forecast for the coastal track and also for day hikes:
- Crossing the stream at Onetahuti beach is only possible around low tide.
- Awaroa inlet can be crossed only within 1 ½ hour before and 2 h after low tide.
- You can walk along the beach at Torrent Bay at low tide. At high tide, it’s a long way around along Cleopatra's pool which takes an additional hour.
A pick up at Torrent Bay is not any longer offered. Limited drop off between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. exceptions for overnight guests and residents. Next opportunity is Anchorage and Bark Bay.
Water Taxis at Kaiteriteri
Tip: Even for a day trip book your water taxi in advance during the peak season.
Weather and Crowds
It’s one of the sunniest spots in NZ with over 2.200 hours of sunshine annually.
- Spring (Sept.-Nov.): Nature awakes, and the temps are perfect for hiking with temps below 20°Cs on average. Nights are pretty chilly. It’s the shoulder season and less crowded.
- Summer (Dec.-Feb.): It’s the best time of the year for hiking and swimming with less precipitation. From mid-December on the park gets utterly crowded with visitors from around the world, as well as from AUS and NZ in their school holidays. Day temps are above 20°C and nights are pleasant. January is the warmest month.
- Autumn (March-May): Still pleasant temps and crowds thin out. Not a high amount of precipitation on average 8 days a month. Temps are perfect for hiking. March and April are still very sunny. Nights temps in May are often below 10°C.
Winter (June-Aug.): Day temps are around 14°C while there are one digit temps in the night. Camping is pretty cold. The coldest month is July with a night temp on average around 6°C. Most rainfall occurs in June. It’s the perfect time for photographers without crowds on the beaches and the turquoise crystal clear sea looks breathtaking at this time of the year. Viewer people visit the park.
Where to Stay in Kaiteriteri - Abel Tasman National Park
There are plenty of accommodations in Motueka but not many in Kaiteriteri. To get one of the early morning water taxis we recommend staying in walking distance to the beach and the shuttle service. Torlesse Motels are just a 10 minutes walk where the boats depart. The staff is lovely, and the view from here is spectacular. Book a studio and prepare your picnic for hiking in the Abel Tasman National Park.
Don't miss the famous Wharariki Beach which is most picturesque at sunset. You may know it from the Windows 10 Wallpaper.
Wharariki Beach north of Abel Tasman
From November to April are the best conditions for hiking. You may spot an Echidna in spring and summer. The hibernation of echidnas starts at the end of summer (March/April). Be prepared for march flies in February and March.
Occasionally snow in winter between July and September. It can get cold and freezing during the night (below 0°C). More stable weather from December to April with warmer temperature. Anyway, the weather is unpredictable. Be prepared even in summer.
Lake St. Clair is easily accessible and very popular. As soon as you leave the lake for a several hours hike you have the woods almost for yourself. Winter is the off-season, quiet and empty.
Best light for photography at sunrise and early morning as well as later in the afternoon and during sunset.
In spring several plants like the desert marigold, indigo bush or desert mallow are in full bloom.
Weather / Climate
The summer is boiling with daytime temperatures ranging from 38°C / 100°F to 49°C / 120°F. Thunderstorms and heavy showers can occur. The winter is mild with pleasant temps up to 24°C/ 75°F and freezing nights. Occasionally rain can occur during this time of the year. The best seasons to visit the desert are spring and autumn.
Busier during the best weather conditions in spring and fall, especially from February to late May. Both campgrounds are filled up before midday. Weekends are more crowded than weekdays. Less busy in the summer; many visitors want to avoid the boiling heat during the daytime. The winter is also an option to enjoy the scenery almost alone. Anyhow, it’s a State Park and not a National Park, therefore often underestimated.
Limited parking at all stops: Arrive either early or late during the peak season.
Opening Hours for the Valley of Fire State Park
The park is open from sunrise to sunset and the Visitor Center from 8.30 a.m. until 4.30 p.m.
This trail is recommended from April to November. Hard to walk with ice and snow. It's a cooling hike on a hot summer day deep in the forest. More spectacular from April to June with the higher water level. The Waterfall is a trickle only end of summer.
Where to Stay
There is one hotel along the trail which is famous for their outstanding meals and included breakfast. We'd been here in the hotel Schmausemühle a couple of times. Book your room in advance especially at weekends. It's a family-run hotel and often pretty busy. If you stay here, you can start hiking from the hotel.
The ruins are open to the public year round but choose a clear day to get the full effect of the skyline views. The ruins are incredible during a sunset in the summer or after a snow fall in the winter.
Recommended from April to October. We prefer May/June less crowded and hot and the autumn foliage. Important to know are the timetables for the guided tours to the slate mine and the reconstructed Celtic settlement. Attached is a picture with the time of the guided tours.