Abel Tasman Overnighters

Brent Palmer
Brent Palmer
Published on June 13, 2018

Only a short 90 Minute drive from Nelson and Richmond the Abel Tasman is a must do for the weekend adventurer, tramping enthusiast or luxury lodge goer. Not only are the views  throughout the Abel Tasman amazing but in the cooler months of the year the wind and seas tend to be more settled, the tracks are a little quieter and you have more chance of finding a quiet little spot to sit, think and enjoy this amazing park. The smallest of our National Parks here in New Zealand.

 Feet first

There are four huts to choose from along this coastal track totalling around 60 Kilometres in length. The track is typically walked in 3-5 days, depending on how far you want to travel each day. Thanks to DOC putting in a bridge at Onetahuti, there is now only one tidal crossing that is mandatory at Awaroa. Situated close to the hut it works in well with journeys heading North or South but will still require some planning to make sure your crossing is not planned for 4am.

The water taxis make it super easy to fit your trip into a weekend and make a one night adventure of it. You can park your car at the water taxi base in Marahau before heading into the park, nice and safe. Walk from Marahau to Anchorage and stay in the hut or campsite for the night, then the next day head up to Onetahuti where you can catch your afternoon water taxi, dropping you back at your car. How simple is that!

For those of us that prefer a little more luxury there are several options to suit. The first is Wilsons Abel Tasman, with two beautiful beach front lodges, Torrent Bay Lodge and Meadowbank Homestead at Awaora. There is also the beautiful Awaroa Lodge situated a short stroll from the beach. All of these wonderful properties can cater for Dinner and Breakfast, even arranging lunches to take into the park during the day if needed. You might like to stay on the water and spend the night with Abel Tasman Charters, also catering for meals and the added bonus of an evening sail and choosing a bay to anchor up in.

Arms second

Kayaking is hugely popular in the Abel Tasman National park and with the amount of seals and birds that have made it their home it’s easy to see why.

If this is your first time in a kayak you might like to consider a guided trip. Not only is your guide super informative, they can help you pack your gear properly, supply any extra items you might not have yourself and make you lunch and hot drinks through the day – bonus! Even a one day guided tour to start with for that safety aspect and then the next day you are on your own.

Freedom rentals begin with a briefing in Marahau and then you are on your way. Consider Anchorage for your first night as there is so much to explore on the way up and after all, it’s not a race. On the second day you might like to paddle home the same way or venture further into the park and arrange for a water taxi to meet you at Onetahuti, taking you and the kayak back to Marahau. Make three nights of enjoying the Abel Tasman and go up to Onetahuti and back during that time, as that is as far as freedom rentals are permitted in the park.

Everything third

For the true adventurer there is all the above mixed in together. This is where the options get overwhelming as you can build as much into an itinerary as you like. For an overnighter you can join a guided kayak tour that starts with a water taxi ride to Onetahuti, spend the day paddling south viewing the seal colonies, beaches, bays and estuaries on the way. Stop the night at Anchorage hut and walk out through some of the tracks of the Abel Tasman the next day to your car. For a multi-day you might like to freedom kayak from Marahau to Anchorage, kayak a second day to Onetahuti where the kayaks will be taken back and you will walk on further to stay the night at Awaroa. The next day hit the track and walk to Totaranui where you can meet a water taxi and view the park on the way back to the start and your car. This option works great if you want to stay in the luxury lodges.

Multi day trips can get complicated fast as there is hut or lodge availability to check, what kayak trips are running, tidal crossings and transport options to sort. This is where we are super lucky to have the Nelson i-SITE and Department of Conservation Visitor Centres in the same building, located in Millers Acre car park. They are your one stop shop for anything Abel Tasman related. A great place to pick up some free maps, book your water taxi or kayak trip. Feel free to browse the brochure aisles and take what you need for inspiration and trip planning. They can help with accommodation too, camping, huts and lodges. You can always print maps online through the following link, as well as book your huts.

There is fresh drinking water at all four huts within the park and several other taps along the way. As DOC wardens are throughout the park they will put notes on any taps that may need to have the water treated (boiled or Giardia pills) before drinking.

One final tip, don’t forget your insect repellent!


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Brent Palmer – Professional Real Estate Consultant

About the Author: The above article on Abel Tasman Overnighters was written and provided by Brent Palmer, a local leader in the field of Richmond and Nelson Real Estate sales, marketing, advanced technology for home selling, and social media. You can contact Brent Palmer here, or at 027 544 9921.

He has helped many people buy and sell homes in the Nelson, Stoke and Richmond areas for years, and would love the opportunity to help you as well.

Thinking of selling your home? I have a real passion for helping people sell their homes in our Nelson and Tasman Region, as well as the marketing, social media & advanced technology for home selling that goes along with it. I’d love to have the opportunity to sit down with you discuss how we can work together to get you the best price.

I help people buy and sell real estate in the following Nelson and Tasman  towns  & neighbourhoods: Wakefield, Brightwater, Hope, Appleby, Redwood Valley, Mapua, Stoke, Tahunanui, Atawhai and of course, Richmond and Nelson City. Connect with Brent on Facebook and pretty much everywhere else.

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