Self Guided Walking Holidays & Cycling Holidays


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The beautiful colours of nature on the Abel Tasman Track
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Highlights

  • Walk New Zealand’s Abel Tasman Track, a coastal paradise
  • Idyllic golden beaches, crystal clear waters and native wildlife
  • Discover Cleopatra’s Pool, a natural pond with a moss-lined water slide
  • Cross a 47m suspension bridge over the Falls River
  • The scenic splendour of New Zealand’s smallest national park

New Zealand’s most relaxed long-distance Great Walk, the Abel Tasman Track.

A picturesque mix of inviting sandy beaches, lush coastal forest and pristine clear streams that tumble into the sea. The Abel Tasman National Park is New Zealand's smallest and you will be immersed in scenic splendour during your 4 days of walking here. It was established in 1942, exactly 300 years after Abel Tasman, the Dutch explorer anchored here.

Situated at the very north of the South island, you will see a great diversity of wildlife, including fur seals and little blue penguins.

Experience a variety of accommodations including very comfortable and stunningly located lodges and a boat moored in Anchorage Bay.

Day 1: Arrive Nelson and overnight

Nelson is conveniently located very close to the local airport (8km) and from here you can take a taxi or shuttle bus into the town centre.


Nelson, is a great place to stay for a while, as there is lots to explore, including some great restaurants with excellent local produce. It also has beautiful surroundings and lures artists here with its warm and sunny climate.


Overnight: Nelson


Day 2: Transfer to Marahau, walk to Anchorage Bay

Today you will be picked up from your accommodation in  Nelson and transferred to the start of the track in Marahau. (Journey from Nelson is 1H15).


Here is where you begin the Abel Tasman Track, named after the Dutch explorer who actually never set foot on these shores due to an altercation with the local Maori’s. This short, easy day of walking allows you to begin to absorb these scenic surroundings of lush beech forest and stunning sea views. Cross the Marahau river estuary on a causeway and follow the trail through open countryside and forest, with giant Karuka trees. Turn inland and walk through several gullies before emerging out to the sweeping sands of Anchorage Bay.


Enjoy your evening’s accommodation as you will be staying on a boat! You will have your own private cabin on Aquapackers, a boat anchored in Anchorage Bay.


Walk: 13km


Dinner & Overnight: Anchorage Bay


Day 3: Walk to Awaroa Inlet

Today you will be walking over the Torrent Bay estuary. This is a lovely day, often considered the best part of the track with the regenerating beech forest undispersed with those amazing golden sand beaches that the Abel Tasman is famous for. If you wish (and as long as you take the high tide option) you can walk 20 minutes to see Cleopatra’s Pool.


Walk over the Falls River on a very impressive suspension bridge, before winding your way along the track through verdant coastal forest. Walk over the golden sands of Bark Bay, before heading inland over a small peninsula and over the Tonga Saddle and Quarry. It’s a short walk from here to Onetahuti Bay which is one of the longest beaches on the Abel Tasman Track. Cross a boardwalk and finish your day in Awaroa Inlet with its pristine beaches.


Walk: 16 or 19km


Overnight: Awaroa


Day 4: Walk to Totaranui

Cross Awaroa Inlet and once across you are in Pound Gully where you can see the virgin beech forest and also the huge Rata trees that cling precariously to the headlands. Walk across two golden sand beaches, Waiharakeke Bay and Goat Bay on your way to Totaranui and in between the two there is a great lookout at Skinners Point offering stunning panoramic views.


Upon reaching Totaranui enjoy one of our favourite short walks (the Pukatea loop track) before meeting the land shuttle which transports you to the highly-rated Ratanui Lodge. Enjoy time at Ratanui Lodge and maybe go for a stroll along the beach, or relax in the spa pool.


Walk: 9km (plus optional 1 hour loop walk)


Overnight: Golden Bay


Day 5: Walk Wainui to Totaranui

After breakfast, a short shuttle to Wainui car park takes you to the last section of your walk. From Wainui you are on the less travelled section of the track. The views of Wainui Inlet as you climb up into the native forest are stunning. The route today takes you up and over to Whariwharangi. This is where Abel Tasman unsuccessfully tried his only landing in New Zealand. Once here you’ll have the option of walking the Separation Point Loop track (an extra hour) before heading on to Mutton Cove and Anapai Beach and then arriving in Totaranui.


Once at Totaranui the AquaTaxi will pick you up and return you past all those golden sand beaches to Marahau. The land transport to Nelson departs conveniently from the AquaTaxi base dropping you in Nelson in the late afternoon.


Walk: 15km

Accommodation

This tour has a variety of accommodations. 1 Night will be spent in a B&B or hotel in either Nelson or Motueka (its your choice). 1 Night will be spent on the Aquapackers Boat in a private cabin and 2 Nights in very comfortable lodges along the track.


The accommodation normally used is detailed below. However we may use alternatives of a similar standard should the dates you request not be available. This is particularly true on Night 2 at the Aquapackers Boat as the accommodation here is limited. Alternatives for this is the option to stay in a large tent at Anchorage Campground, complete with a camp guide who will prepare your meals. They have air mattresses with a duvet and pillows and this is a “glamping-type” experience. There are no hot showers at the campground, just a cold water outside shower. Alternatively you can take a short water taxi ride back to Marahau and stay in a modern, stylish B&B. This requires a water taxi back to Anchorage the following morning so you may continue with your walk. Also no dinner is included with this option, but you have a choice of restaurants in Marahau.


Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

If you require single rooms we would be happy to accommodate you although there is a single room supplement payable.
We welcome solo walkers on the Abel Tasman Track, although you should of course take extra care in the outdoors when walking solo and there is also a solo supplement payable.



 

 




Trailways Hotel - Nelson

This modern centrally-located hotel is situated right on the river and just a few minutes walk from Nelson’s main shopping area. It is locally-owned and they will look after you in an authentically kiwi way.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Aquapackers Boat - Anchorage Bay

Enjoy staying in a private cabin aboard the Aquapackers Boat, moored in Anchorage Bay. This is a unique experience with fabulous hosts. The rooms are basic but comfortable (shared bathrooms) and a delicious dinner is included.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Awaroa Lodge - Awaroa

Awaroa Lodge is surrounded by pristine waterways, native forest and is beautifully secluded as it is not accessible by road. The main lodge is warm, inviting and full of character.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Ratanui Lodge - Golden Bay

Ratanui Lodge features 10 uniquely appointed guest rooms all en-suite. It is boutique hotel accommodation with an intimate restaurant, serving memorable dinners nightly.


 

 

 

Availability

The Abel Tasman Track is one of New Zealand’s 9 Great Walks and therefore is  extremely popular. You will have to book quite far in advance in order for us to be successful with confirming the dates you request, especially if you wish to travel in the height of the season which is February and March. (Between Christmas and New Year is also very popular). You can take this tour anywhere between October and April. To avoid disappointment please try to plan your trip well in advance ( at least 6-9 months), if possible.


Since this track has 3 tidal estuaries to cross and the accommodation is limited in one of the areas please bear in mind that when you book our local hosts will check the dates of your tour and may have to adjust your route/itinerary accordingly. For example, your itinerary could be reversed or changed according to the tides or indeed the availability of the accommodation. We will let you know if this is the case.


Why not try one of our alternate walks in New Zealand too, such as the Queen Charlotte,  Routeburn, Kepler, Milford or Kaikoura Coast Track?


Time of Year

The best time of year to walk the Abel Tasman Track is between October and April, during the spring, summer and Autumn/fall months. Also this is when all of the accommodations are open. The weather will be more settled during these times of year, although it can be unpredictable at any time of year. 


Meals

3 Breakfasts will be provided by your accommodation. However breakfast at Awaroa Lodge is not included and you will have to purchase breakfast yourself here. 


Whilst hiking on the Abel Tasman Track 3 packed lunches will be provided. Dinner on the Aquapackers Boat is included only, but not on the other nights. In Nelson or Motueka you can find plenty of local restaurants and there is a restaurant at both Awaroa and Ratanui Lodge. 


Grade & Terrain

Rated easy to moderate, this track has a few elevation gains and losses. It is undulating, although there are some steep sections. You will mainly be walking on beaches, on coastal paths and through forest. The terrain can be rough at times but is usually smooth.


It is important to note that on this track there are 3 tidal estuaries that need to be crossed. Whilst there are high tide routes at Torrent and Bark Bay these are less fun than the low tide alternatives. At Awaroa Inlet you have no choice but to walk across the estuary. Please see the Availability section for more details on this.


Navigation, Route Notes & Maps

The track is well marked and signposted, and if you stick to the main track, there is very little chance of losing your way. This track involves tidal crossings. Our local hosts will provide information on this as you book, as it may require some flexibility with your itinerary, according to the tides.


We also provide a track guide and GPX tracks are accessible on the Macs Smartphone App, so you can simply follow the route on your phone if you wish.


Baggage Transfers

Overnight luggage is transferred by boat each day to be at your accommodation when you arrive. The luggage has to be lifted in and out of boats with no jetties around for easy unloading, so for this reason we ask our guests to follow the list of required items and pack lightly – aim for a bag weighing around 10kg (20 pounds). Our local partner provides free luggage storage in Marahau for your extra luggage (although there is a cost involved if it needs to be transported to Nelson) and special loaner bags for you to use for your overnight gear if required. Duffel bags or small suitcases suitable for carry-on luggage on airplanes are perfect for your Abel Tasman trip if you have them. One of the local staff will drop a loaner bag around to your accommodations along with your information/map pack for your trip if required. 


The loaner bags are 50 liter duffel bags made by Macpac, a well-known outdoor equipment company founded in New Zealand.


Car Rental

We can arrange car rental for your trip. Please contact your Destination & Adventure Specialist for details.


Equipment

Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes and a day pack.


There are a couple of places along the track where you’ll be required to cross tidal estuaries and we strongly recommend the use of water shoes (crocs, sports sandals etc) for these as there are sharp shells and small stones that can cut bare feet.


Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.


General Information

The distances and ascent/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sun hat, sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a day pack.

Getting to and from Nelson/Motueka

By Air: You can fly into and out of Nelson Airport which is located only 5 miles from central Nelson. There are domestic flights into Nelson from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch Airports. You can catch a taxi or a shuttle bus to get into Nelson from the airport. The shuttle bus needs to be booked in advance and you can check the following company website in order to arrange this, Jayride.


We offer car rental so you will have to check with your Destination & Adventure Specialist about the details on this.


You may have also been using a rental car to get around before the start of your Abel Tasman Track, if this is the case you can simply follow the directions on the accommodation list to the first place you are staying in Nelson. Our local hosts can provide secure parking while you are on the track.


A transfer is included on the final day to either Nelson or Nelson Airport, so you can make your way onward journeys from here.


* Please be aware that when booking flights from the UK to New Zealand you will arrive 2 days after you set off and on return you will arrive 1 day after you set off. So, for example, if you leave on a Tuesday you will arrive on a Thursday and on return if you leave on a Saturday you will arrive home on the Sunday. This is obviously because of the time it takes to get there but also because you are travelling back and forth across the International Date Line. Similar principles apply when travelling from other places in Europe and from the USA and Canada. Please make sure that when you book you take this into consideration so that you are arriving on the correct day that the tour begins.

Included

  • 1 Night in a B&B or hotel, 1 Night on Aquapackers Boat (private cabin), 2 Nights in Lodges
  • 3 Breakfasts
  • 1 Dinner
  • 3 Packed lunches (on Days 2, 3, and 4)
  • Luggage Transfers
  • Transfer from Nelson to Marahau
  • Transfer from Totaranui to Ratanui Lodge
  • Short shuttle to Wainui Car Park from Ratanui Lodge
  • Water taxi Totaranui to Marahau
  • Transfer Marahau to Nelson/Nelson Airport
  • Information Pack and personalised itinerary, map, etc
  • Access to the Macs Smartphone App with GPS Tracks
  • 24-7 Emergency telephone support

Excluded

  • Travel insurance (required)
  • Travel to and from Nelson
  • 3 Dinners
  • 1 Breakfast
  • Drinks and snacks
  • ETA & IVL requests (mandatory as per 1 Oct 2019)

Extras

  • Single room & solo walkers supplement(s)
  • Additional nights
  • Rental Car

How far in advance do I need to book?

The Abel Tasman Track is very popular, therefore to avoid disappointment please try to plan your trip well in advance ( at least 6-9 months), if possible.

How fit do I need to be?

Rated easy to moderate, this track has a few elevation gains and losses. It is undulating, although there are some steep sections. You will mainly be walking on beaches, on coastal paths and through forest. The terrain can be rough at times but is usually smooth.

How do the baggage transfers work?

Your bags will be transferred from your accommodation as per your itinerary and moved onto your next overnight accommodation. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 10kg per person. The perfect sized bag is an airline cabin bag, but if you do not have one the local hosts will provide you with one for the duration of this trip.

We can provide free luggage storage in Marahau whilst you are on the Abel Tasman Track. So please take your luggage with you when you are being transferred to Marahau on Day 2. However if you wish your luggage to be transported to Nelson (as you do not return to Marahau after the tour) there willl be a cost involved.

What equipment do I need?

Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes and a day pack.

There are a couple of places along the track where you’ll be required to cross tidal estuaries and we strongly recommend the use of water shoes (crocs, sports sandals etc) for these as there are sharp shells and small stones that can cut bare feet.

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© 2019

Macs Adventure - Head Office: Skypark 5, 45 Finnieston Street, Glasgow, G3 8JU, UK

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