Explore the most popular Bird Watching trails in Nelson-Tasman with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

We completed a day trip starting at Bark Bay and ending at Awaroa - we used a water taxi to get to and from these beaches back to our base at Kaiteriteri. Took us a little under four hours to complete. The views on this section of the track were wonderful - a lot of time was spent either walking on beaches or catching glimpses of them through the bush. I would personally rate this section of the walk moderate difficulty at best. There were occasional steep moments after leaving Bark Bay heading north, but these were very short lived. Most of the time, the track was flat with very gentle inclines or declines.

I'd imagine this section would be suitable for families and people with moderate to low-moderate fitness levels - even with a backpacking pack, this part of the walk would be very doable. There's a cafe at the end (Awaroa) during the summer for those who would be in the hike for a reward beer or bite to eat. Compared to the other bays we visited (Bark Bay and Onetahuti), Awaroa was the most crowded due to the presence of the lodge and cafe - something to keep in mind for people who prefer to avoid crowds as much as possible.

Difficult trail with quite a few switchbacks - the roots of trees you have to navigate your way around on the trails can be especially slick after rain.

All that to say, the climb is unbelievably worth it! Second the prior recommendations for pushing past Parachute Rocks to the top - the views of the Saint Arnaud Ranges on the other side of the range and the mountain lakes are outstanding and well worth the extra 15-20 minutes of (albeit steep) climbing. Couldn't recommend this hike enough!

amazing trail !
Enjoy and don't forget to take some beers at the top ;)

Splendid trail with gorgeous but !! But you need to be sure footed, and to have good weather. I arrived from mount Cedric trail and went down on that trail with crazy winds all along the ridge. I sometimes had to lie down not to fall.
The path is really well indicated.

14 days ago

Really nice hike through forest, moutains and lakes. I stayed in Lakehead hut, upper travers Hut, Blue lake Hut and Sabine Hut (amazing sunset on the lake). it's an easy path if you do the classic trail as there is not so much elevation appart from the saddle.
A side trip to blue lake is really nice to add and to Angelus hut as well ( you have to book the hut in advance if you want to stay up there overnight). I took the mount Cedric trail and then the Robert Ridge : it has absolutely incredible views but be prepared to have a really steep trail to glum (1400m up for only 7km). And you want good weather. I had such strong winds on the Robert Ridge that I literally had to lie down a few times.
Also I would recommend staying in coldwater instead of lakehead as the hut has a nicer view :) bad you can see eels in the water

great hike ,pinchgut is the best way up

Very nice walk. Cleopatras pool was pretty crowded when we got there (around midday) so would recommend to go there early. 6hours total with some great beaches along the way to chill. Bring a swim suit ! If you don’t want to do the full walk you can get a boat return from anchorage bay.

by far my favourite hike in nz. diverse views and terrain and not as busy as the nz great walks.

walked from midlands beach to awaroa lodge..3.5 hours walking..about 9.1 km..was great view and wonderful day , overcast and no sandfly..Lodge is great .had bags come up on water taxi..waiting in the room..looking forward to dinner and drinks in the restaurant..

Absoloutly amazing walk. So beautiful would highly recommend.

1 month ago

We only did the Southernmost 2.5 miles of this trail. The trail follows the river and is fairly easy on this section but that's mostly because the water was so low we had no crossings to worry about. My guess is that with rain it would be a very different experience. There is an interesting old gold mining shaft near the start.

1 month ago

Great hike along the bluffs above Wharariki Beach. I'm not sure I would rate this as easy as there are a number of conditions (wind especially) you might have to deal with and the trail can be steep; although exposures are pretty limited.

recommend going to the highest peak on the ridge...only an extra 15mins and you can see the whole lake!!
absolutely incredible .... have to do it with good weather..

Pretty steep on rocks towards the top! Windy up there too. Great views

1 month ago

Extreme wind, getting sandblasted during parts of it

Beautiful hike, mostly through trees, most of the time no sun exposures, nevertheless breathtaking views. Can be a bit cool with the south wind.
Well maintained paths, accessible even with sneeckers or sandals, though I wouldn't recommend it

1 month ago

very easy and nice track! One of my favourite walks in New Zealand. There are so many different kinds of landscape and stunning views. If I could I would do it again in the winter season.
it's definitely worth to take your time on the trip there are so many side trips and things to see. at the Gouland Downs you can even see whios (blueducks).

Absolutely amazing hike!
Steep uphill at the start with views of the lake then a steady hike across the top of the ridge. Lots of really fun rock hopping made it really exciting and a bit tough at times :D
Definitely give yourself the whole day if you plan on on doing this in one day!

Really great track. We hiked from Marahau to Wharawhangi then back to Tortoranui to catch a water taxi back. The hike was mostly flat but there were still many locations where the forest opened up giving way to a great view of the coast. It was also very nice to camp right on all the amazing beaches and go for a swim each day! Great hike would highly recommend!

The trail was not well marked. We were on our way to observation Bay but the signs were unclear as to where it was. We walked down to Anchorage then walked back up to the trail and started to ask people if they had seen the turn off. They said they did, so that kept us going.
Other than that, it’s an easy trail.

Incredibily diverse if you use the high tide trail. Sand, jungle-like forest, shore, stone - everything's included.
Recommend thick, non slippery footwear.

2 months ago

Favourite trail I’ve ever walked. There’s so many opportunities to look out onto the never ending ocean and on the cliffs you can even see dolphins and whales if you stop and look hard enough. A friend and I stayed up there for about and hour and had lunch, best lunch of my life. And you can go swimming at Cable if you start from the Glen and go over the hill to Cable Bay. It’s a stunning walk 

2 months ago

Amazing. Wanted to turn around at the end and do it again

2 months ago

Beautiful hiking. One of the best in NZ.

3 months ago

Don’t let the short distance fool you, there is a lot of elevation and some quite steep parts to the trail, as well as a few obstacles. All that a side, it’s a great climb, if you are of average fitness and agility you will be fine. There’s lots of shaded areas to hide away from the sun. The cave itself is spectacular and well worth the climb. The walk/climb itself is brilliant fun. Crossing over a dried up river bed, using branches and footholds in stone and mud to get around/over obstacles.

Well worth a visit.

3 months ago

A decent trail to do if you are in the area, I wouldn’t go out of my way to go there though. A nice easy walk (perfect if you have small or younger children, the spring is nice. Sheltered from the sun.

There are better walks in the area. Has a great swimming hole near the start, and provides assess to rock climbing.

Great walk. Don't bother with the loop, just do the water race part.

Don't bother with the loop. Just do there and back on the water race part.

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