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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 the 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 entire year. For summer booking far in advance is recommended. 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 in summer.
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
Lake St. Clair famous for being the last part of the Overland Track. This National Park is easily accessible by car and tour buses. From November to April you may experience the best conditions for hiking. Echidnas can be spotted in spring and summer. Their hibernation starts at the end of summer (March/April). Be prepared for march flies in February and March.
Weather by Seasons
One digit night temps throughout the year even in the summer so be prepared if you plan to camp here.
Much precipitation in September and October. Decreasing rainfall in November and temps start to rise on average around 15°C at daytime. At the end of spring, echidnas may be spotted along the trails.
More stable weather from December to April with warmer temps. On average temps are below 20°C but can rise to 30°C as well. The driest months are January and February. However, the weather is unpredictable. Be prepared for four seasons in one day even in the summer. March flies can be an issue in February and March; take precaution and wear long trousers and sleeves or take insect repellent.
March is still a pleasant month with temps on average around 17°C. In April already increasing rainfall but yet a good month as the crowds thin out. Echidnas prepare for hibernation depending on the temperature.
Occasionally snow in winter between July and September. It can get cold and freezing during the night (below 0°C). One digit temps at daytime. July to October are the wettest months but winter is the quietest time and despite the weather; nature is just overwhelming.
Lake St. Clair is easily accessible and very popular. As soon as you leave the lake for hiking, you have the woods almost for yourself. Winter is the off-season, quiet and peaceful. Accommodation rates are on a low level.
Best Accommodations Nearby
There are only a view opportunities to stay close to Lake St. Clair. You can either stay inside the park at the Lake St Clair Lodge with well-needed heating or at the Highland Cabins and Cottages at Bronte just half an hour drive from the lake. We came here in the peak season, so we'd chosen the cottages at Bronte. It's more known by anglers, tranquil, and clean. The staff was super attentive. In front of our cabins was much wildlife during the evening and early morning. We had such a lovely stay.
The Valley of Fire just an hour drive from Las Vegas is quite popular. The winter time is the quietest. Best light for photography at sunrise and early morning as well as later in the afternoon and during sunset. If you plan to visit the park come here for the entire day and bring your lunch in a cooler.
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 (before 9 a.m.) or late (after 6 p.m.) during the peak season.
Opening Hours for the Valley of Fire State Park and Visitor Center
The park is open from sunrise to sunset and the Visitor Center from 8.30 a.m. until 4.30 p.m. It's a small but nice visitor center. They provide you with information about the history and a map as well. A short film about the State Park is shown.
Highlight During Spring
In spring several plants like the desert marigold, indigo bush or desert mallow are in full bloom.
Pay attention to the speed limit; the Hwy is frequently patrolled!!
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.
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.
Usually from March to November. However, one highlight are the two Kneipp basins for water-treading. To enjoy these higher temperatures are recommended: May until September.