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3 Day Kayak & Walk


Kayak the sheltered southern coast, Kaiteriteri to Onetahuti. Walk the isolated northern beaches.

Please confirm start times with us before you book connecting airline flights.
The longer daylight hours of summer usually allow a more leisurely start to your trip, with pick-up time in Nelson from 10.15 am. There is an earlier start time for most Wednesday departures and low season trips.

This itinerary is reversed for most Wednesday departures. Go to Northbound Itinerary for details.

Day 1: Nelson/Motueka to Awaroa via Totaranui

Take a scenic drive through the coastal orchard and vineyards lining the highway from Nelson to Motueka and Kaiteriteri.

Board our comfortable Vista Cruise to travel the length of the golden Abel Tasman coast from Kaiteriteri north to Tōtaranui, relaxing on the viewing decks and enjoying refreshments from the cafe.

From Tōtaranui, walk through mature native forest and along secluded beaches to the breathtaking expanse of Awaroa Inlet where you’ll reach Meadowbank Homestead – a faithful recreation of the Wilson family's original home on the ‘finest site in the bay’. 

Approximate times
Scenic drive to Kaiteriteri – 1 hour from Nelson, or 20 mins from Motueka

Cruise Kaiteriteri to Tōtaranui – 1 hour 40 mins

Walk Tōtaranui to Awaroa – 2.5 hours (7km/4.3 miles) including tidal crossing; maximum elevation 100m/340ft

Accommodation: Meadowbank Homestead at Awaroa

Meals included: lunch, afternoon tea, dinner

Trip details
*Early times apply to Wednesday departures and all trips during our shoulder season (before December 20 and after 31 March)

Pick up in Nelson: from 10.15am (from *7.00am)
Pick in Motueka: from 11.15am (from *8.15am)
If you are self-driving please meet at our office by 11.30am (*8.15am)

11.30 (*8.30)am  Meet your guide at our Motueka office for a welcome briefing with time for last-minute luggage organisation, before departing to Kaiteriteri by coach.

1.00pm (*9.20am)  Vista Cruise departs Kaiteriteri.

2.40pm (*11.20am) Arrive Tōtaranui.
From Tōtaranui, through native forest and golden beaches to the Awaroa Inlet. Continue the walk across the inlet if the tide is out, or take a boat ride across the stunning expanse of the largest inlet on the coast.

5.00pm (approx.)  Enjoy a warm welcome at Meadowbank Homestead at Awaroa, right on the edge of the inlet. Freshen up with a hot shower in your ensuite room while your hosts prepare a delicious evening meal. Local beer and wine is available for purchase at our in-house bar.

Day 2: Awaroa to Torrent Bay

Wake to breakfast overlooking Meadowbank’s gardens and the waters of Abel Tasman’s largest tidal estuary. Walk over a forested saddle to Onetahuti where your guide will settle you into your stable, double kayak with full instructions and safety briefing. You’ll then kayak through Tonga Island Marine Reserve and explore hidden inlets on the way to Torrent Bay.

Approximate times
Walk from Awaroa to Onetahuti – 1.5 hours (7km/4.5 miles); max. elevation 85m/280ft

Sea kayak from Onetahuti to Torrent Bay – 4 hours (10km/6 miles)

Accommodation: Torrent Bay Lodge

Meals included: breakfast, morning & afternoon tea, lunch, dinner

Trip details

9.30am Depart Awaroa for the scenic walk to Onetahuti, which features a beautiful boardwalk and bridge designed by local iwi (Maori tribe). Stroll along the golden sands and enjoy refreshments supplied by your guide.

11am  After instructions and safety brief, your guide will lead the way to Tonga Island Marine Reserve. Weather permitting, kayak to the seal colony where New Zealand fur seals breed. Floating on clear, turquoise waters paddle past Tonga Quarry and the Tonga Arches, where your guide will share stories about the unusual granite features and relics from the historic quarry.

12 noon Stop for lunch at sheltered Bark Bay, where you can take time out to explore, swim or relax on the golden sand. After lunch, continue beach hopping along the coast with picture-postcard views, including the Falls River and Frenchman’s Bay.

4.30pm (approx.) Paddle into beautiful Torrent Bay with its village of beachfront holiday houses including our Torrent Bay Lodge where your ensuite room and evening meal awaits. 

Day 3: Torrent Bay to Kaiteriteri/Motueka/Nelson

Wake up to morning light on the golden sands of Torrent Bay and a hearty breakfast to set you up for paddling to Te Pukatea Bay and past the islands of the Astrolabe Roadstead to Kaiteriteri.

Approximate times
Sea kayak from Torrent Bay to Kaiteriteri – 4.5 hours (12km)

Scenic drive from Kaiteriteri – 20 mins to Motueka or 1 hour to Nelson

Meals included: breakfast, morning tea, lunch

Trip details

9.30am Launch your kayak from Torrent Bay and paddle southwards along the coast while your guide shares stories of early explorers, shows you bays and beaches, and introduces you to the predator-free wildlife sanctuary of Adele Island. If the wind is with you, you may get to hoist a specially designed sail to ride the sea breeze.

12 noon Stop for lunch and a rest at a sheltered beach, then continue your journey through azure waters to the famous Kaiteriteri beach.

3.30pm Arrive at Kaiteriteri where our driver meets you for the return journey to Motueka and Nelson.

4pm Arrive Motueka.

5.30–6pm Arrive Nelson.

Start/Finish times
  • Please confirm times with us before you book connecting airline flights.
  • The direction of this trip may be reversed on some departures with earlier pick up in Nelson (7.15–7.40am) and Motueka (8.15am) for Vista Cruise departure from Kaiteriteri at 9.20am.
  • The earlier pick-up applies to most Wednesday departures and all departures after NZ Daylight Saving ends at the beginning of April.
  • If Start/Finish times don't suit your itinerary, please contact us to make alternative arrangements. All our itineraries can be flexible to accommodate your needs or schedule.

 Other important information

  • Kayaking and walking each day is optional. You are welcome to travel on any of our scheduled ferry services. This flexibility is ideal for couples of groups with different interests and abilities.
  • Our 3 Day Guided Walk runs at the same time as our 3 Day Kayak & Walk so members of your traveling party can book different options, meeting up at the Lodges in the evening.
  • We reserve the right to alter itineraries, timetables and vessel types.
  • All travel is subject to weather and tides which may cause delay or cancellation.


From May to November this itinerary may be altered to make the most of our winter sunshine, with two night's accommodation at Torrent Bay Lodge. Detailed itinerary here...