How much water should I bring?
You will find established filtered water stations every 10 – 12kms (6 – 7.5 miles) or roughly every 4 hours walking along the Abel Tasman Track. This means you can comfortably walk with a 750ml or 1 litre bottle that you refill along the way. The filtered water stations are located at DoC (Department of Conservation) huts and campsites at Anchorage, Bark Bay, Awaroa, Whariwharangi and Totaranui. All of our accommodations along the track provide clean drinking water as well.
What are the toilet facilities like?
What do I need to know about the low tide estuary crossings?
It is possible to cross the estuaries 1.5 – 2 hours before and 2 hours after low tide. For example if low tide is scheduled for 9:30am in the morning a rough guide is that you’ll be able to safely cross between 7:30am until 11:30am. Expect to get wet up to your knees in parts of the crossings as streams run from the hills and are part of the crossing. You’ll be walking across sand, mud and small stones, or a combination of them all. There are also many shells to walk across that can be broken and sharp – for this reason we recommend water shoes (aqua shoes, crocs or water sandals – jandals, thongs or flip-flops aren’t suitable as the heel part gets bogged down in the mud and becomes stuck or flips mud up your back). In some parts of the world tidal crossings can be dangerous, but if you cross within the recommended times in the Abel Tasman National Park they are perfectly safe, with gradual ebbs and flows of the tides.
What are sandflies?
What are sandflies? These are known around the world by many different names, for example, midges, sand fleas, etc… These small insects love to bite and leave a very itchy sting in their wake. While moving they don’t bother you, but they will find you when you stop for a rest or are enjoying a special moment on a beautiful beach. There are many insect repellent products available on the market – both Deet based and those with natural ingredients are available. We recommend you bring some with you on your trip. Our guides use 2B Natural Insect Repellent that can be bought locally in Nelson or Marahau. More info on their website: http://2b.kiwi.nz/
How is transport to and from the Abel Tasman Track provided?
For guests staying in Nelson (or surrounding areas) our regular transport follows a scheduled route starting with the first pick-up at 7:00am in the morning. We send our guests a list of all the accommodations on this scheduled route upon booking and ask our guests to choose one of the accommodations from this list.
For guests staying outside the scheduled route we will provide a map to the closest pick-up point and the time to be there – in some cases this is a short walk and in other cases a taxi ride may be required. Our regular transport arrives back into Nelson at 5:40pm (Nelson Airport) & 5:50pm (Central Nelson). If you are catching a flight out of Nelson and are using our regular transport back to Nelson we recommend flights leaving after 6:15pm to allow you enough time to check in and board your flight on time. If your flight departs earlier we recommend you book a custom shuttle.
Custom Shuttle Service
We provide custom shuttle services at an additional cost to meet guests flying into and leaving from Nelson airport outside our regular scheduled transport times. For example for those guests flying into Nelson on the start day of their trip and who are unable to get a flight that enables them to catch our regular scheduled transport, we will meet them at the airport and transport them to the start of the track; and vice-versa for flights leaving before 6:15pm for those guests flying out on the finish date of their trips. Please advise us if this service is required as it needs to be booked in advance.
Guests with Cars
For those guests with cars or access to cars, we recommend you drive to the start of the track in Marahau and use our secure parking facilities there. There is no additional charge for parking and we provide a $32 discount per person on the trip cost for those guests that choose to drive themselves there and back. It is a 1 hour 15 minute drive from central Nelson to the start of the track in Marahau. This provides you with greater flexibility on your start and finishing times without being tied into our regular scheduled transport. Please advise us if you’d like this option.
How does bad weather affect our trip?
We keep a close eye on weather reports and liaise with DoC (the Department of Conservation) who are responsible for managing the track and keeping us advised of any severe weather situations or closures. Generally speaking the track is well-maintained and it takes a major weather calamity to occur before DoC will close the track. We do urge our guests to carry on as planned during inclement weather as in New Zealand we do have a saying that “If you don’t like the weather now, wait 10 minutes…” meaning it does change often and quite quickly in some cases. We also find some rain does not reduce the beauty of the area and you do get a real feel of being in something that keeps New Zealand looking beautiful – rain. We also have the unique opportunity to utilise water taxis to take you to the next destination on particularly bad rainy days.
How cold is the water temperature?
The water temperature fluctuates from about 18 Celsius (65 Fahrenheit) to about 22 Celsius (72 Fahrenheit) throughout the summer months. We describe it as “refreshing” and during the hotter summer months is a great way to cool off and refresh yourself along the track. At Anchorage there is a floating pontoon (swimming platform) moored off the beach for those keen swimmers to swim out to. You’ll have access to most beaches and will be able to swim at a few along the way. This is a great way to enrich your Abel Tasman experience.
Are special diets catered for?
We strive to provide great food for all our guests. By providing us with your dietary requirements early on (upon booking with us) we can inform our catering services and make the necessary arrangements. We have received positive feedback from our guests about the great lengths we have gone to provide delicious food for those requiring special diets.
What’s the difference between our 4 Day Classic & 4 Day All The Way Trips?
We have two great 4 day trips available for our guests. Our 4 Day Classic Trip – is the same as our 3 Day Classic Trip but with an extra day planned at Awaroa Lodge. We call this extra day a rest day – but it really gives our guests the opportunity to join a guided kayak trip, explore the area’s history, or take short walks if they choose to do so.
Our 4 Day All The Way Trip walks the whole length of the Abel Tasman Coastal Track heading past Totaranui into the less-travelled northern section of the Abel Tasman Track. This section has a rugged beauty about it that must be seen to be appreciated. Hiking along this part of the track is well worth the effort. This 4 day trip has 3 days of walking with 2 quite long days of around 20kms (12.5 miles) and 25kms (15.5 miles) – we do offer options for taking our water taxis part way to shorten some of these long days if required. The trip ends in Golden Bay where you’ll stay the last night at Ratanui Lodge. You’ll enjoy an amazing meal before catching our land based transport back to Nelson the following morning.
Should we go Guided or Unguided?
Depending on your aspirations for the Abel Tasman Walk – both are great ways to go. Our Unguided trips are fully assisted with a detailed day-to-day itinerary that is easy to follow and provides everything you need to know to make your way along the track. The track is straightforward and as long as you keep to the main track – there is very little chance of losing your way. There is also a great app that you can download to your smart phone or tablet that provides a lot of useful information on the history, wildlife and weather information. It can be downloaded at http://www.education.janszoon.org/project-janszoon-park-app/
Our Guided Trips are special because our guides are passionate about the area and strive to make each trip unique and special. They are knowledgeable about the park and the conditions and together you will discover the beauty of this area. Guides will be able to tell you about the history, local flora and fauna, and point out local wildlife in a relaxed and informative way. They also make great coffee and tea along the track! All our guides carry an extensive first aid kit, radio and are trained to administer first aid. They can also fit you out for walking poles if needed.
We also offer a “Guide for a Day” for those who are still unsure whether to go guided or unguided. This one-day guide will settle you into your walk on the first day while providing all of the above services and making sure you get safely to your first night’s accommodation before leaving you to discover the rest of the Abel Tasman for yourself.
Do we need walking poles?
No, walking poles are not required. However, poles do provide great stability especially when going downhill on the steeper sections of the track. There is a lot of research that says you will save quite a bit of energy over the day when using 2 walking poles. Abel Tasman Guides can provide you with walking poles if required (please let us know beforehand) and it is very easy to get the hang of it – even if you have never used walking poles before.
What is the recommended footwear for the track?
This track is regarded as an ‘easy’ track and can be done in running shoes (trainers, sneakers etc) without having to use specialised hiking boots. The track is very well maintained and some of our guests even opt for wearing sports sandals (sandals with support strap across the back of the heel) part way or interchanging with running shoes and sports sandals when needed along the track. We do say to guests with well worn-in hiking boots that they feel comfortable in, that it is perfectly okay to walk the track in these and you’ll see many people on the track in hiking boots. There are a couple of places along the track where you’ll be required to cross tidal estuaries and we strongly recommend the use of water shoes (crocs, sports sandals etc) for these as there are sharp shells and small stones that can cut bare feet. Jandals (flip-flops or thongs) are not recommended as they get bogged down in the muddy parts of the crossing.
What happens to our overnight bags?
Unless you are on our Backpacker Basic trip where you carry all your gear with you, our trips include your overnight bag being boated around to your next night’s accommodation. We allow for 1 bag per person up to 20kg (45 pounds) which are labelled when you check in at our Aquataxi base in Marahau. The bags are then boated around to your accommodations and put in your rooms/tents awaiting your arrival. This leaves you to walk just with your daypack – containing your lunch, camera, water, sunscreen etc. We do offer luggage storage for those guests with additional luggage – for example that exceeds the 20kg (45 pounds) limit. Please contact us directly if you’d like to arrange this. We can also provide suitably sized overnight bags for our guests if required, again please contact us directly if this service is required.
Is there cell phone coverage & wifi in the Abel Tasman National Park?
There are certain points along the track that you’ll be able to get cell phone coverage – but on the whole these are few and far between. During the peak summer months one of the cellular networks puts a booster station in Marahau which increases the coverage zone, but again once on the track don’t expect too much coverage. Our guides put their phones on airplane mode to save the battery going flat too quickly – especially since we can’t always charge our devices at Anchorage and have to use them for two days straight. Wifi is available at Awaroa Lodge and Awaroa Glamping – for heavy usage at these places you’ll have to purchase additional data packages. There are certain points along the track where wifi is available for use with the Abel Tasman App http://www.education.janszoon.org/project-janszoon-park-app/ to get up to date weather reports and tide timetables. We think this is a great app and all our guides have it on their phones and recommend our guests download it too.