Abel Tasman Track5 Days & 4 Nights
- Walk New Zealand’s Abel Tasman Track, a coastal paradise
- Idyllic golden beaches, crystal clear waters and native wildlife, such as the fur seal
- 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
What To Expect
Self Guided | Go at your own pace on an independent holiday.
Inn to Inn Walking | A classic point to point walking trip, staying in a different location each night
This trip is suitable for:
Solo Travellers, Families, Multi-Generational, Avid Adventurers
As a guide, we would suggest that the minimum age of traveller this holiday would be suitable for is: 12 Years
Ideal if you have an interest in:
- Coastal & Island
- Most Popular
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 the 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.
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.
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.
We may use alternative accommodation 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.
- 1 Night in a B&B in Nelson
- 1 Night in a private cabin with shared facilities on the Aquapackers boat in Anchorage Bay
- 2 Nights in Lodges (Awaroa and Ratanui)
- 2 Breakfasts (on Aquapackers boat and Ratanui Lodge)
- 4 Packed lunches
- 1 Dinner (if staying on Aquapackers boat)
- Luggage transportation
- Transfer from Nelson/Motueka to Marahau
- Transfer from Totaranui to Ratanui Lodge
- Short shuttle from Ratanui Lodge to Wainui Car Park
- Water taxi Totaranui to Marahau
- Transfer Marahau to Nelson/Nelson Airport
- Information Pack and personalised itinerary
- Access to the Macs Smartphone App with GPS Tracks
- Full briefing on day 2 of your itinerary in Marahau
- 24-7 Emergency telephone support
- Travel insurance (required)
- 2 Breakfasts
- 3 Dinners
- Drinks & Snacks
- Personal equipment
- Travel to & From Nelson
- ETA & IVL requests (mandatory as per 1 Oct 2019)
- Rental Car
- Additional nights
When To Go
The best time of year to walk the Abel Tasman Track is between October and April, during the Spring, Summer, and Autumn/Fall months. This is also when all of the accommodations are open. The weather will be more settled during these times of the year, although it can be unpredictable at any time of year.
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 at 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 Queen Charlotte, Routeburn, Kepler, Milford or Kaikoura Coast Track?
Getting to the Start
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.
If you are considering renting a car, please get in touch with one of our destination and adventure specialists. It is straightforward and easy to drive to Marahau from Nelson (75 min drive) and leave your car securely parked until you finish your adventure. Please let us know if you are self-driving so we can make the necessary arrangements. Upon arrival, you will be met by our local partner to check-in your bags for the luggage transfers, receive your packed lunch and receive a full briefing before setting off.
* 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 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.
Getting from the End
A transfer is included on the final day to either Nelson or Nelson Airport, so you can make your way onward journeys from here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
ItineraryDay 1 Arrive Nelson & Overnight
Start your adventure in Nelson, a bustling town conveniently located close to the local airport (8 km). From here you can take a taxi or shuttle bus into the town centre. Enjoy the local produce in excellent restaurants and explore the beautiful surroundings that lure artists here with its sunny climate.
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. There are 47 rooms, many with Maitai River, poolside or Nelson city views and private balconies.
Enjoy an early start to the day as you transfer from your accommodation in Nelson to the start of the trip in Marahau (1h15m). Or if you are renting a car, you can easily drive to Marahau and leave your car parked here until you finish your adventure. Please let us know if you are self-driving so we can make the necessary arrangements. Upon arrival, you will be met by our local partner to check-in your bags for the luggage transfers, receive your packed lunch and receive a full briefing before setting off.
The Abel Tasman Track was 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 Karuk 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' (shared facilities) which is the name of the boat, anchored in 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.
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.
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 with a comfy lounge, library, bar, restaurant and outdoor pizzeria. The rooms here are spacious and light with all modern amenities.
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.
Ratanui Lodge features 10 uniquely appointed guest rooms all en-suite. It is boutique hotel accommodation with an intimate restaurant, serving memorable dinners nightly. There is a small salt-water swimming pool and you can relax in the lounge with a fireplace or on the 2 outside patios.
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.
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