Traveller Rating


  • 6 day walk
  • 5 nights hotel/motel
  • 1 night lodge
  • 6 Dinners
  • 7 Lunches
  • 6 Breakfasts


7 daysfrom


Trip Code: MSA

Trip highlights

  • Enjoy full and half day hikes amidst some of NZ's best coastal scenery
  • Marvel at the magnificent vistas in the Marlborough Sounds & Queen Charlotte Sound
  • Visit Motuara Island bird sanctuary to see and hear incredible NZ birdlife
  • Relax in the comfort and hospitality of a secluded lodge
  • Sail the beautiful coastal waters of the Abel Tasman National Park after the hike to Torrent Bay
  • Take in the panoramic views of Nelson Lakes National Park from the bushline track

Sample the finest walks in the upper South Island, including the best sections of the Queen Charlotte and Abel Tasman Tracks on this outstanding itinerary. This fully lodge based accommodated walk completes a circuit of the northern South Island, beginning with the stunning Kaikoura Peninsula Walk before taking in the spectacular scenery of the Marlborough Sounds from the Queen Charlotte Track. You'll also nestle into the tranquility of a remote lodge, weave your way through small bays and beautiful bushland along the Abel Tasman Walkway as well as retrace your steps along this magical trail from the decks of a yacht. The amazing scenery isn't finished yet as you divert inland from the coastal trails to Nelson Lakes to complete a circular track that provides wonderful views of craggy mountains and beech forests. Return to Christchurch via Hanmer Springs for a final walk through the forest or a well deserved soak in its therapeutic hot pools.


We will collect you from a central city location in Christchurch at 8am before we drive north to Kaikoura taking approx 2.5hours. The drive is scenic and we head to the Kaikoura Peninsula where we embark on our first walk along the cliff tops. We are rewarded with dramatic views of mountains and sea, where we can spot seals and seabirds. We continue to drive up the east coast for a further 2 hours to reach Picton; the gateway to the stunning Marlborough Sounds. We have time to explore the town, the marina or take a number of short bush walks before meeting for our first group dinner. We will spend the next 2 nights in Picton. Walking time: 1.5 - 2.5 hours

Meals:  L,D

This morning we have an early start to catch an 8am cruise to the far reaches of the Marlborough Sounds. Our first stop is Motuara Island, where we disembark to the magic of morning birdsong and have 1 hour to explore this interesting bird sanctuary. We can walk to a lookout point, approx 800 meters in each direction offering incredible 360 degree views. Watch out for native penguins, tui, bellbirds, saddleback and yellow-crowned parakeets. Returning to our boat, we cross to Resolution Bay, named after Captain James Cook’s ship the HMS Resolution which he brought on his second and third voyages. We join the Queen Charlotte track and gradually climb uphill through lush native forest and onto an old bridle path. We cross over Tawa Saddle to reach Endeavour Inlet, with a fantastic lookout and interesting information panel, it makes a good place to take a rest and enjoy the views. The track continues to weave through native tree ferns with glimpses of the vivid blue ocean as we descend back to the shoreline. On reaching Furneaux Lodge after a further 2km, there is time for a quick swim or refreshments before we catch our late afternoon water taxi back to Picton. We overnight again in Picton. Walking times: Motuara Island 1 hour, Resolution Bay to Furneaux Lodge 3 hours (10.5km)

Meals:  B,L,D

After breakfast we pack an overnight bag to be transported by boat to tonight's accommodation, the rest of our gear is stored on the bus. From Picton we then take a short water taxi to cross the Queen Charlotte Sound to Torea Bay. Todays scenic walk starts with a climb out of the bay to a low saddle to meet up with the Queen Charlotte track. Weaving in and out of Manuka bush, we climb a ridgeline for incredible panoramic views of the vivid blue sea, secluded bays and bush clad shorelines either side of us. We reach a high point where we are rewarded with stunning views in all directions. From here we gradually descend into Lochmara Bay to reach our comfortable lodge, accessible only by foot, bike or boat. The rest of the afternoon provides a great opportunity to relax in one of the many hammocks, take out a kayak or paddleboard, swim, explore the bush walks around the property, visit the Underwater Observatory (own expense) or the art exhibition spaces. When it is dark, make sure to explore the glowworm grotto! Walking time: 3-5 hours

Meals:  B,L,D

After a relaxed breakfast, we have chance to enjoy more of the surrounds and activities at our beautiful accommodation. We leave by water taxi at 11am and return to Picton. We then drive to Nelson, where there is an opportunity to walk to "The Centre of New Zealand" which takes us to a vantage point overlooking the city and Tasman Bay. The final drive of the day takes us onto the small town of Motueka, known for its lively café culture and artistic community, where we will stay for the following two nights. Walking time: 1-2 hours

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning we drive to Marahau and the start of the famous Abel Tasman track. We will take a half day hike into Anchorage along the Abel Tasman walkway. The track is well formed and drops into several beautiful sheltered bays and golden sand beaches. Around midday we have a picnic lunch overlooking Torrent Bay and then board a catamaran for an exciting sail around the heads and back to our vehicle. To round out a wonderful day, we take some time to enjoy Kaiteriteri beach, with the chance for a late afternoon swim or a relaxing stroll along the golden sands. From here it is only a short drive back to Motueka. Walking time: 3 hours Sailing: 3 hours

Meals:  B,L,D

Leaving Moteuka we have a short 1 hour drive inland into the Nelson Lake National Park and at St Arnaud we have a choice of a shorter 2 hour loop in the Lake Rotoiti Nature Recovery area or a 5 hour circuit to the upper slopes of Mt Roberts. This track climbs steeply to the bushline and the summit of the ridgeline with incredible views back over the lake and St Arnaud range, before returning via a loop track back to the bus and our accommodation. The native bush is stunning and Lake Rotoiti is a magic location with a mountainous backdrop. Walking options: 2 hours or 5 hours

Meals:  B,L,D

Intensive pest eradication has meant native bird numbers are increasing in the Nelson Lakes National Park. Early risers this morning will have the chance to take a short bush walk and experience the morning songs of the forest or “dawn chorus.” We then drive via the spectacular Buller Gorge and Lewis Pass to the alpine resort of Hanmer Springs. There is the option for a short walk in the forest, a visit to the hot pools and soak in the thermal springs (own expense) or wander around the small town and relax in a local cafe. Late afternoon we return to Christchurch and drop you off in central Christchurch around 6pm.

Meals:  B,L


  • Tasty cafe breakfasts (x6), gourmet picnic or cafe lunches (x7), two course restaurant dinners (x6) catered to all dietary requirements
  • 5 nights hand picked hotel/motel ensuite accommodation on a twin share basis
  • 1 night at the secluded Lochmara Lodge in Queen Charlotte Sound ensuite accommodation on twin share basis
  • Experienced guides who handle all the hard bits and share epic stories (2 guides on groups of 8 or more)
  • Private vehicle transport including trailer for luggage
  • Marlborough Sounds Cruise to Motuara Island & Queen Charlotte walkway
  • Water taxi transfers to Torea Bay and from Lochmara Lodge
  • Sailing boat excursion on the Abel Tasman trek
  • Tasty nutritious snacks, drinks and treats plus our famous morning and afternoon teas
  • Packs and poles (on request if required) - please let our staff know in advance
  • Pre departure information kit to help you plan and prepare
  • Concession fees paid to the Department of Conservation
  • Queen Charlotte Land Cooperative Track Pass

  • International or domestic flights and taxes
  • Arrival and departure transfers
  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • All beverages, other than breakfast
  • Water bottle (help us save the environment and bring your own drink bottle or hydration system)
  • Optional activities (eg Underwater observatory at Lochmara Lodge, hot pools at Hanmer Springs)
  • Personal expenses (eg. phone calls, internet, laundry, shopping etc.)
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa (if required)




To determine the grade of a particular adventure we consider a number of factors. These include the condition of the terrain, the altitude, the number of pass crossings and the length of the trip. This itinerary utilises formed tracks on all of the walking undertaken. The trekking is as expected for a trip of this introductory grade with no unexpected surprises in steepness. In general the hikes are of a half day duration which usually requires around 4 - 5 hours walking. The tracks are well formed and often have information panels available for additional detail. For you to be able to really enjoy this trip we recommend that you are to walk comfortably for a few hours at a time (with breaks included). We recommend 90 minutes of aerobic type exercise, (either cycling, jogging or power walking) three times a week for the three months leading up to your trip.

Departure dates


Holiday Season

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Priceper person from


Options & Supplements*
  • Single SupplementNZD$750
*Prices listed are per person and also from

Essential Information

Ready to book? Make sure you download and read the detailed Queen Charlotte and Abel Tasman Hike 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.


Marlborough Sounds and Abel Tasman Trails | Adventure South NZ

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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.


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