It was the day of our big adventure to Abel Tasman National Park and I felt a mixture of nerves and excitement for what was to come. I’m not the most active person and was a bit worried whether I was going to be able to keep up!
We chose the 3 day Kayak & Walk trip with Wilsons which ran Southbound from Totaranui to Kaiteriteri and it was such an amazing experience all round. The guides were friendly, professional and knowledgeable and the comradery on the trip was amazing, I made some friends for life!
Day 1: Nelson/Motueka to Awaroa via Totaranui
We chose to stay the night before in Nelson and were picked up in the morning for a scenic drive through coastal orchards and vineyards to Motueka for the check-in process. After a short drive to stunning Kaiteriteri Beach we boarded a boat and cruised the length of the golden Abel Tasman coast. Disembarking at Totaranui, we walked through native forest and along secluded beaches to the breathtaking Awaroa Inlet.
Note for hiking - a pole can be given at the start of the trip if you feel you need one and the guide will go at the slowest members pace so there's no pressure to walk quickly. Your guide can also arrange for you to get picked up along the way if you get too tired! Total activity: 1.5hr cruise + 2.5hr hike
After a big day of walking, we relaxed in the evening at our lovely beachfront lodge, exclusive to Wilsons. All rooms at Meadowbank Homestead have their own private ensuite and there’s also an onsite chef – bliss! The chef made us wonderful meals and multiple snack options for the next days’ activities.
Day 2: Awaroa to Torrent Bay
After a delicious breakfast in the gardens, we walked over a forested saddle which took us past Awaroa Beach – this is the beach made famous when Kiwi’s rallied together to buy and gift back to ourselves. Ending our walk at Onetahuti – our kayaking adventure began. We were given a full briefing and advice on how to correctly paddle and I was surprised I had no pain in my arms at all the whole trip!
Total activity: 1.5hr hike + 4hr kayak.
Day 3: Torrent Bay to Kaiteriteri/Motueka/Nelson
We woke up to the golden sands of Torrent Bay and had a hearty breakfast to set us up for the paddle to Te Pukatea Bay and past the islands of the Astrolabe Roadstead where we spotted baby seals. After lunch at Apple Tree Bay we were very lucky to have the right conditions that enabled us to rope our kayaks together and use our oars and picnic tarpaulin to ‘sail’ the kayaks for part of the last stretch back to Kaiteriteri, which saved approximately an hour and a half of paddling and was a true highlight of our adventure.
Total activity: 6hr kayak.
The physical aspect of this tour isn’t as strenuous as we thought and any pain is forgotten with all the beautiful scenery you get to see along the way. It took us an extra 30mins-1hr on our hikes as we were super inquisitive about everything we were seeing!
Our Wilson’s Abel Tasman tour was one of the most amazing trips I've done in New Zealand to date - a true bucket list experience!
- Our itinerary ran Southbound from Totaranui to Kaiteriteri and although it also operates Northbound, our guide did advise that the Northbound itinerary is physically much harder.
- ALSO...put sunblock on your face, especially the lips! Although we all wore caps - the rays reflecting off the ocean still got to us - a couple of us had lovely luscious lips that people pay a lot of money for a few days afterwards!
YOU Travel have great deals on now to discover Abel Tasman National Park. Contact your local YOU Travel Store for more information.
Words by Ruby Tai Tin, Lifestyle Holidays
Images used with permission from Wilsons Abel Tasman