5 - 6
FATMAP difficulty grade
One of the most famous coastal hikes in the World, the Abel Tasman Coastal track takes hikers through one of the most special parts of New Zealand.
It starts in the small village of Marahau, and then winds northwards up through the Abel Tasman National Park, to Wainui Bay.
The track is superbly served by water taxis so it is easy to hike any section of it without starting from Marahau, and it is also easy to return to Marahau from any point should the weather or any other issue conspire against you.
The hut and camping network is also extensive, with Department of Conservation (DOC) huts positioned in Anchorage Bay, Bark Bay, Awaroa Inlet and Whariwharangi Bay and 19 campsites are spread out along the track.
(All of these need to be booked in advance if you plan to stay at them.) The hiking itself is never strenuous, and the highest point on the whole route is 200 metres above sea level.
That said, this is not a hike to be taken too lightly - there is a crossing at Awaroa that can only be done at low tide (Tide tables can be found online and at various DOC information boards along the route) and the path can be very slippery after bad weather.
Listing every beautiful viewpoint or point of interest would be a mammoth task but a few of the highlights on the trail include Cleopatra's Pool - a natural rockpool with a waterslide built in which is a 20 minute detour off the main track, Tonga Island Marine Reserve (bringing a snorkel is well worth it to fully explore) and the abundant flora and fauna.
For a multi day hike with relatively little effort for World-class views, look no further.