Nelson Bays

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Nelson bays.pngNelson Bays

Nelson Bays Cruising Guide

An online cruising guide for yachts sailing around the Nelson Bays and Abel Tasman National Park.


See also: Nelson, New Zealand

Cruising the region

Much of the information here has been provided by Bill McIndoe, a resident of Dunedin and a regular cruiser in the Nelson and Marlborough Sounds region.

Ports and Anchorages


See Nelson

Note that Nelson is no longer a Port Of Entry. Picton is now the Port Of Entry, and so if you are coming across the Tasman Sea you need to put in there to clear customs and quarantine before trying any other anchorage in the region. New Zealand customs and quarantine have no sense of humour when it comes to dealing with vessels that have anchored in New Zealand without inwards clearance first.

Abel Tasman National Park

Abel Tasman National Park Bays

Twenty-five nautical miles up the coast from Nelson, the Abel Tasman National Park is the locals favourite cruising ground. It's a got-to visit. Great walking track around the coast. Adele Island (west side) and Torrent Bay (south east corner The Anchorage) are the best anchorages but there are others. There is water supply from a constantly running hose at Bark Bay. This hose lies in the water attached to a buoy in a small cove on the northern side of Bark Bay where you anchor appropriately and pick up the hose and its mooring line to shore over your stern. Careful with the rock reefs when making your approach from seaward.

It is a national park with no shops so bring your own food and fuel from Nelson. Supplies can be bought up from Nelson at a cost by local commercial craft. Not particularly good fishing but fish supply in Nelson is extra good.

Kayaking is busy tourist industry here but they are quiet people and silent paddlers. The kayak-transporting fast launches creat a substantial wake but they are confined to a lane on the west side of the Bay. You get used to them; they come with the territory. The colours of the water and sand are stunning.

Croiselles Harbour

Croiselles Harbour

Croiselles Harbour is a picturesque harbour at the eastern edge of Tasman Bay. I found Oyster Bay at the north eastern reach of the harbour to offer a good protected anchorage in a squally north easterly wind, and holding was good. There were a number of oyster farms across the mouth of the bay but they were easy to avoid when entering the bay. There are some interesting currents here that will swing you around on anchor a bit.

The opposite shore of the harbour would probably have better protection in a southerly.


Submit the chart details that are required for safe navigation.

Weather Information

The Nelson Bays region generally has one of the sunniest climates in New Zealand although it can be cooler than cruising grounds further north.

For weather details see New Zealand

VHF and Cellphone Coverage

The transmission from the VHF towers, strategically placed to sneak into most bays, gives good coverage. Communication is excellent and reliable but study the radio channel system for the various areas. Because of the high hills and narrow waterways cellphone coverage is probably 50%. By moving the boat, going out in the dinghy for a clearer line or climbing a hill as did Cook, it can be improved.


Books, Guides, etc.


Contact details of "Cruiser's Friends" that can be contacted for local information or assistance.


List links to discussion threads on partnering forums. (see link for requirements).



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