Traveller Rating


  • self guided walk
  • 1 night motel, 4 nights private lodge
  • 4 Dinners
  • 5 Lunches
  • 4 Breakfasts


6 daysfrom


Trip Code: GWS

Trip highlights

  • Golden sand beaches, rocky granite headlands, clear blue water, native coastal and beech forests of the Abel Tasman National Park
  • Boat cruise between Kaiteriteri and Totaranui with informative commentary
  • Hike the best sections of one of New Zealand's Department of Conservation Great Walks at your leisure
  • Enjoy all the home comforts of private lodges with charming local heritage and freshly prepared meals, with 2 nights at each lodge
  • Learn about Maori and early European history in the area
  • Enjoy rest days where you can relax, take extra walks or join in some kayaking (weather permitting)

The Abel Tasman National Park on the northern coast of the South Island is well known for its picturesque vistas of golden sand and azure blue ocean. With ample time to stop where you choose to enjoy the views, the beaches, the lush native forest and the birdsong, this walk between Totaranui and Marahau on the Abel Tasman Coast Track will not disappoint. The well graded track passing through diverse and spectacular scenery is one of New Zealand's premier trails classified as a Great Walk. A boat trip is included in the journey and allows a great overview of the trail from an offshore perspective as well as a chance to spot seals, penguins, dolphins and other marine life. After a night in Nelson, the city at the geographical centre of New Zealand, accommodation is at private beachfront eco lodges along the track, each one exuding charm and heritage. Fully serviced and fully catered, with all the comforts of home, indulge in this blissful opportunity to spend two nights at each lodge and relax after a day of activity.


Make your own way to Nelson, the city at the geographical centre of New Zealand, and check-in to your trip accommodation any time after 2:00pm. It is worth spending some time in and around this city with its colourful main street, historic cathedral, lovely walking and cycling trails, the Centre of New Zealand Lookout (a 20 minute walk with superb panoramic views), vibrant arts and cultural scene, and the beautiful Tahunanui Beach popular with surfers and kite surfers. Food lovers will be spoilt for choice with a multitude of cafes, restaurants and award-winning breweries showcasing seasonal, regional flavours and artisan produce. Nelson is also home to the world famous Pic's Peanut Butter.

Meals:  Nil

You will be collected from your accommodation this morning (timing will be advised upon booking) and transferred to Motueka (approx 50 mins) for a short trip briefing with a representative of our local partner. Another short transfer (approx 25 mins) takes you to the seaside settlement of Kaiteriteri with its brilliant golden beach foreshore. Here you will board your scenic boat cruise, travelling northwards along the impressive granite coastline of the Abel Tasman National Park to Totaranui (approx 1 hr 40 mins). Watch out for seals and other marine life along the way as you pass by protected Marine Reserves. Totaranui is so named due to the large Totara trees originally found here by Maori inhabitants who used them to build 'waka' (canoes). Commence walking south from Totaranui, passing through lush forest that has regenerated after farming and saw milling activities from the late 1800's and early 1900's. You will need to pay attention to tide times to cross Awaroa Inlet, the largest tidal estuary in the National Park. A barge will be arranged if the tide is too high. Not far from there Meadowbank Homestead appears, the private lodge where your friendly hosts will take care of you this evening.

Meals:  L,D

The level of activity in which you engage is entirely up to you today. You may wish to explore the Awaroa Inlet, either on foot (approximately 4 hours gentle meandering) or by sea kayak (approximately 2 hours gentle paddling, guided option only). Both activities are dependent on the tides on the day and the level of interest of the group. There are some historical sites of interest, both Maori and European, as well as fascinating estuary features. Alternatively, you may wish to enjoy the day at your leisure, strolling the beach or simply relaxing on the sand or in the gardens of the lodge.

Meals:  B,L,D

After a hearty breakfast, today's walk includes a mixture of undulations and flat sections as you cross headlands and traverse yellow sand beaches. Natural features such as interesting granite formations, native beech and rimu forests, ancient sand spits and lagoons merge with human history. Maori settlement and burial sites, and current day baches (holiday homes), mostly still owned by generations of the same families, represent both Maori and European activity along the coast. Farming, ship-building, tannin extraction and granite quarrying have all taken place since Maori occupation. Torrent Bay, where tonight's lodge is located, is a village of privately owned land with no road access. Areas such as this have historical links prior to 1942, when the Abel Tasman National Park boundaries were first established. Enjoy home comforts once again this evening while your hosts at Torrent Bay Lodge take care of all your needs.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today is another day for as much or as little activity as you wish. Catch a sunrise before breakfast or spend a few extra moments in bed. Take a walk to explore the estuary (tides permitting) or venture on some side tracks to visit waterfalls tumbling through virgin forest or Cleopatra's Pool in a cool, green forest enclave. You may like to take a picnic and walk to the very picturesque Te Pukatea Cove, visiting historic Maori sites along the way. Alternatively, you may prefer to relax on the beach or at the lodge before watching the changing hues of sunset reflect onto the sky at the end of the day.

Meals:  B,L,D

Another delicious breakfast at the lodge sets you up for your final day of walking. After crossing or skirting Torrent Bay Inlet, depending on the tides, and traversing the golden curve of Anchorage Bay beach, the track climbs inland for a while. There are many viewpoints across Tasman Bay towards Nelson. Returning to the coast, the track follows ridgelines with tall kanuka forest and drops in and out of small forested gullies of lush beech and tree ferns. There are several optional side tracks today where you can drop down to secluded bays and beaches, tides permitting. These make ideal places for swimming and a picnic lunch. The bays, beaches and headlands are all named after Maori settlements, pioneering European landowners, ships of early explorers or natural features, again showcasing the fusion of natural and cultural history within Abel Tasman National Park. The walk concludes after crossing the Marahau estuary along a boardwalk. From here you will transfer by bus back to Motueka and onwards to Nelson, where trip arrangements end.

Meals:  B,L



The map and elevation chart are for illustrative purposes only and meant to provide general guidelines.
On self guided trips, actual route information provided before departure will be more detailed.


  • 1 night motel accommodation in Nelson (twinshare) with private bathroom
  • 4 nights private lodge in Abel Tasman National Park (twinshare) with private bathroom
  • 4 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 4 dinners, snacks along the trail
  • Drinking water
  • Daily luggage transfer - 1 bag only, must use the sports bag supplied (40L, 47x35x25cm)
  • Information booklet and route map (one per booking)
  • Return transfers from Nelson hotel to meeting point in Motueka
  • Transfers from Motueka to Kaiteriteri (boat launch) and Marahau (trailhead) to Motueka
  • Guided walking or kayaking activities (with all equipment) on rest days, subject to availability (optional; request in advance if possible)
  • Car parking in Motueka if self-driving
  • Scenic boat trip between Kaiteriteri and Totaranui (trailhead) - one way
  • Excess luggage storage in Motueka if required (or your hotel in Nelson can also arrange this)
  • Access and Concession fees paid to Department of Conservation
  • $20 per person donation to Project Janszoon (see www.projectjanszoon.org/about)

  • Travel to Nelson on Day 1 and onward travel from Nelson on Day 6
  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Drinks other than water - good drinking water is available at each night's accommodation and at marked locations along the trail
  • Optional activities, extras and upgrades (such as extra boat transfers)
  • Items of a personal nature (eg. laundry, shopping, internet)
  • Daypack (30L daypacks are available if you need to borrow one; please request in advance)
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa (if required)

Trail Surface




INTRODUCTORY - GRADE 3 These trips involve walking for up to five or six hours a day at a slow but steady pace. The trip involves walking along well graded undulating trails, with some sandy beach sections. Care needs to be taken as there are some steep sections that have loose surface and are slippery when wet. There may be some estuary crossings at low tide (depending on the tide times for your trip) which can be muddy, up to knee deep in water and/or have small pebbles and shells underfoot. You will need a reasonable level of fitness and good health. Our introductory trips are not ‘easy’ trips and you will need a reasonable level of fitness and good health. Suggested preparation: We recommend 30 minutes of aerobic type exercise, (fast walking, jogging or cycling) three times a week. Hill or stair walking with a 5-7kg daypack is also highly recommended at least once a week for leg strengthening and aerobic fitness. Walking in variable weather conditions is advisable. During the walking stages you will need to carry your daily requirements such as water, lunch, spare clothing and personal items.

Departure dates

Every Monday (modified conditions and dates from 1 May to 30 Sep)


Single travellers will be required to pay a single supplement for the hotel in Nelson. You will be twin shared at the lodges on the trail, unless you would like your own room, in which case a single supplement applies.
Child pricing is for those aged 8-14 years sharing room with adults. Children under 8 years will be accepted on the trail. Please ask us for options.

Want to organise a customised tour?

School groups, friends, family trips, corporate events and even making the trail accessible for everyone. Learn how you can organise a Customised Tour with Great Walks of New Zealand.

Priceper person from


Options & Supplements*
  • Single Supplement (Nelson accom only, twin share at lodges)NZD$150
  • Single Supplement (Nelson hotel and lodges)NZD$1650
  • Child rate (8 - 14 yrs inclusive)NZD$2300
*Prices listed are per person and also from

Essential Information

Ready to book? Make sure you download and read the detailed Abel Tasman Extended Self-Guided Walk trip notes which contains all the essential information you need to know before booking. Once you’ve booked, we will supply you with a Pre-Departure document which contains a detailed gear list and other important information to help you prepare for your adventure ahead.

Trip reviews

Why walk with us

Self-Guided Experts

Our itineraries have been carefully designed and researched with you in mind.  The logistics are handled for you allowing you the freedom to walk New Zealand at a level of your choosing and in your own stride.


A core Maori value exercising guardianship in relation to nature, flora and fauna and its people, ensuring that sustainability and environment are valued, respected and protected for future generations to enjoy.

Supporting Local

As a small business ourselves, we love supporting and sharing New Zealand with other small and likeminded businesses and communities to showcase for you, what our land and people have to offer.

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