Wellington - Wellington

Fly total time: 8 days

This trip starts in Wellington - New Zealand’s capital city. After spending the day exploring Wellington, your clients will cross the Cook Strait and travel to sunny Nelson. Next they will journey to Marahau – the gateway to Abel Tasman National Park and home of the Abel Tasman Coast Track, this 54.4km track is one of New Zealand's Great Walks. After completing the multi-day Abel Tasman Coast Track your clients will then travel back to Nelson and fly home from Wellington or Christchurch.

To ensure your clients are well rested after their flight, we recommend they stay a night or two in their arrival city before collecting a rental vehicle. Driving in a new country can be challenging and will be even worse if the driver is tired. The driver should always be well rested, take regular breaks during the journey and plan to drive for only 1-2 hours at a time.

New Zealand has unique road rules and driving conditions that your clients may not be used to. For a safe and enjoyable journey make sure your clients know where to find information on New Zealand’s road rules before they depart for their holiday.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Day 1: Wellington

    Drive Fly 0

    Arrive in Wellington. Spend the day exploring this compact, yet exciting city.

    Wellington is New Zealand’s capital city and offers visitors many attractions and activities. Browse boutique shops, climb Mount Victoria and be rewarded with stunning views over the city, stroll Oriental Parade and at the end of the day recharge at one of Wellington’s hip cafés, restaurants and bars.

    Recommended activities:

    • Visit Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
    • Enjoy an ice cream or gelato while strolling along scenic Oriental Bay and Wellington’s waterfront. Adventurous clients can hike up Mount Victoria and enjoy spectacular views
    • Ride the Wellington Cable Car and enjoy a stroll around Wellington Botanical Gardens. Then walk to Carter Observatory and learn about the night sky in the Southern Hemisphere
  • Day 2: Wellington - Nelson

    Drive Fly 5 hours 10 minutes 209 KMS 129 MI

    Head out of Wellington by ferry and enjoy a scenic cruise across the Cook Strait through the picturesque Marlborough Sounds to Picton. The journey takes approximately 3 to 3.5 hours and seals and dolphins can often be spotted in the Marlborough Sounds.

    Arrive in the seaside town to Picton bustling with cafes, museums and seaside walks. Collect a rental vehicle in Picton and drive to Nelson, approximately 1 hour 40 minutes. Alternatively take a shuttle from Picton to Nelson.

    There is an option to fly from Wellington to Nelson, approximately 40 minutes.

    Nelson is surrounded by three national parks each with their own distinct landscapes, there are many outdoor activities on offer including hiking, fly fishing, biking and kayaking. Unwind with a glass of craft beer, from one of the many craft beer breweries, in New Zealand’s sunniest region.

    Recommended activities:

  • Day 3: Nelson - Marahau - Anchorage

    Drive Fly 5 hours 76 KMS 47 MI

    In the morning your clients will self-drive or take a pre-booked shuttle bus from Nelson to Marahau, the gateway to Abel Tasman National Park, approximately 1 hour. There is a Department of Conservation (DoC) carpark in Marahau, where self-drive clients can park their vehicles while hiking.

    Today your clients will begin the Abel Tasman Coast Track. The Department of Conservation provides four huts and several campsites along the Abel Tasman Coast Track, advanced bookings are required during the summer season – October to April.

    Reputable tour providers operate guided hikes, some offering a combination of walking and kayaking.

    A Great Walks Pass will need to be purchased If hiking the track independently.

    Your clients will depart Marahau and hike to Anchorage, allow approximately 4 hours to complete this 12.4 km section of the track.

  • Day 4: Anchorage - Bark Bay

    Drive Fly 4 hours 12 KMS 7 MI
    Your clients will depart Anchorage Bay in the morning and cross a low ridge to Torrent Bay estuary. The estuary can be crossed within 2 hours either side of low tide, or an all-tide track leads around it to Torrent Bay.

    At the northern end of Torrent Bay beach the track climbs steadily then curves around two valleys and above a picturesque inlet to Falls River, the biggest in the park, which is crossed by a 47m suspension bridge. The track then meanders through lush coastal forest before dropping back to the sea, eventually leading to Bark Bay estuary.

    Allow approximately 4 hours to complete this section of the walk if opting for the high tide track (12.1km). If your clients choose the low tide crossing at Torrent Bay estuary they should allow approximately 3 hours to complete this section of the track (8.4km).
  • Day 5: Bark Bay - Awaroa

    Drive Fly 4 hours 11 KMS 6 MI
    Today your clients will hike approximately 11.4km, allow 4 hours to complete this section of the track.

    Your clients have the option to cross Bark Bay estuary (tidal) or follow the all-tide track around its edge and climb steeply to a saddle. They will return to the shore at Tonga Quarry, where blocks of granite remain from an old quarrying operation.

    Tonga Island sits offshore surrounded by marine reserve - snorkelling is possible here. A short distance on is Onetahuti Bay, here a bridge and boardwalk provide an all tide crossing. The track then climbs over Tonga Saddle and descends to Awaroa Inlet, after approximately 15 minutes your clients will arrive at Awaroa Hut and campsite.
  • Day 6: Awaroa - Whariwharangi

    Drive Fly 5 hours 13 KMS 8 MI
    Your clients will depart Awaroa hut and cross Awaroa Estuary. The estuary must only be crossed up to one and a half hours before low tide and up to two ahours after it (following heavy rain the estuary may be impassable).

    From its northern side the track crosses a low saddle and drops to Waiharakeke Bay, where a timber mill once operated. The track re-enters the forest then emerges at Goat Bay, from here it climbs to a lookout above Skinner Point before descending to Totaranui.

    Your clients will then leave Totaranui and head around Totaranui estuary towards to Anapai Bay and Mutton Cove, eventually arriving at Whariwharangi Bay. The hut - a restored farm homestead - and campsite are just behind the beach.
  • Day 7: Whariwharangi - Nelson

    Drive Fly 5 hours 172 KMS 106 MI
    Today is the last day of the Abel Tasman Coast Track. Your clients will hike approximately 5.5km and should allow 1 hour 30 minutes to complete this last section of the track.

    From Whariwharangi Hut your clients will follow a small stream then climb out of the bay to a saddle overlooking Wainui Inlet. The track winds down the shore then follows the estuary edge for 500m to the carpark. It is possible to cross Wainui Inlet within 2 hours either side of low tide.

    Pre-booked shuttle bus transport will collect clients from the carpark and transfer them back to Marahau, approximately 2.5 hours drive (100km). If your clients parked their vehicle in the DoC carpark they can self-drive from Marahau to Nelson. Alternatively they can take a pre-booked bus from Marahau to Nelson, approximately 1 hour.
  • Day 8: Nelson - Wellington

    Drive Fly 40 minutes 209 KMS 129 MI
    Your clients can choose to spend a day or two exploring Nelson. Or take a short domestic flight to Wellington, Auckland or Christchurch and fly home from one of these international gateways.

    Recommended activities:

    • Take a day trip to Farewell Spit
    • If visiting on a weekend enjoy strolling around one of Nelson's bustling markets