Heart of the Park Explorer “Walk and Guided Kayak”

Heart of the Park Explorer

This trip has the best of both. Enjoy a Scenic Cruise to Onetahuti Beach then walk unguided along the Abel Tasman Coastal Track through the lush native forest to Bark Bay where you will be met by one of our choice Kayak Guides. This is where our adventure starts. Kayak & explore the many Beaches and Coves, experience Falls River Lagoon (tide dependent), view the Seals at Pinnacle Island and of course, have boatloads of fun. A fantastic day out. Sea Shuttle back from Anchorage to Kaiteriteri or stay overnight and upgrade to the Astrolabe Explorer for the next day.


Trip: Heart of the Park Explorer
Conditions: Easy paddling
Food: Fully catered – lunch
Paddling: Approx 3hrs with various breaks
Walking: Yes, 2hrs 4.1kms
Sailing: If conditions permit
Water Taxi: 2 water taxi trips
Check-in: 8.30am Kaiteriteri
Briefing: About 25 mins
Duration: 9am – 4.30pm
Return: 4.30pm Kaiteriteri
Age Limit: 12+

Open Seasons

Open for fun 364 days of the year. Closed Xmas Day


Adult: $195.00

All prices are in New Zealand dollars and include sales tax (GST).

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Flora and Fauna

Increased time on the water improves the chance of random encounters with sea-life. Experience shows we are more likely to sight dolphins on this tour than any other. Seals live at the back of Adele Island for 8 months of the year (March – October). We also pass a couple of Cormorant colonies along the way. Places such as Stilwell Bay are guide-favourites to be shared with you, as we paddle around distinctive caves and arches, surrounded by bright green tree-ferns. Adele Island is now part of a stoat-trapping program to help revive native bird populations. The views from this island track aren’t too bad either!

Trip Itinerary

Your day starts at 8:30am on the beach at Kaiteriteri where your guide will get you ready to kayak and give you a safety briefing. This ultimate one day experience begins with a scenic Sea Shuttle cruise into the centre of  the Tonga Island Marine Reserve where you begin your walking adventure from Onetahuti Beach, taking you through lush, green forest to Bark Bay where you will meet your Kayak guide.  This walk is approximately 2 hours duration or 4.1kms. After a picnic lunch the afternoon is spent Kayaking and exploring the coastline and secluded beaches right in the Heart of the Abel Tasman National Park. If the tides permit, you will get to visit Falls River lagoon and Swing Bridge – the most photographed feature in the Park.

Please note: This itinerary is an outline only. Your guide may decide to vary this program based on their judgement of weather and sea conditions and client ability/fitness levels.

Region History

Once there were about 500 permanent Maori inhabitants here. And at that time, there were about 14 hectares of cultivated soil in this area. The Maori gardeners added gravel and charcoal, to improve the drainage, warmth and soil temperature. In 1827, a French explorer called Dumont d’Urville sailed in the “Astrolabe” and dropped anchor in what is now known as the Astrolabe Roadstead. Adele Island he named after his wife. You may notice a number of other French names he gave, shown on today’s maps. Unlike some explorers, d’Urville got on well with the locals. These Maori folk, on what d’Urville called Observation Beach, were living in huts and are said to have provided d’Urville with food and shelter. Fresh water was taken at Watering Cove. d’Urville nearly came to grief exploring the area around Apple Tree Bay. Seeing the low tides, he sent his boat back to Observation, not realizing the large tidal range in the area. (It can be up to 4.7 metres). d’Urville had to scramble through thick bush and rocky ledges to make it back to Observation, many hours later. Some years later, the first European settlers got established here, with names like Tinline, McNabb and Askew. Marahau was once the base for the Sandy Bay Marble Company, established in 1911.  It must have been challenging work for the staff: the marble blocks high above on the Takaka Hill descended 400 metres by wire cable, and on a railroad with gradients up to 1:2. They must have had good braking system’s! Over 5000 tons of this stone was hewn, and away it went to construct Parliament Buildings in Wellington.