Enjoy as much or as little walking as you want, with the luxury of accommodation in our beachfront lodges.
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 Tōtaranui
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’.
Scenic drive to Kaiteriteri – 1 hour from Nelson, or 20 min from Motueka
Cruise Kaiteriteri to Tōtaranui – 1 hour 40 mins
Walk Tōtaranui to Awaroa – 2 hours 30 min (9km/5.5 miles) including tidal crossing; maximum elevation 100m/340ft
Accommodation: Meadowbank Homestead at Awaroa
Meals included: lunch, afternoon tea, dinner
*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 (*8.30am)
11.30 (*8.15)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.
Walk from Tōtaranui 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
Your walk today follows the coastal track through cool native forest and reaches golden sand beaches, perfect for swimming. Start with a relaxing breakfast overlooking Meadowbank’s gardens and the beautiful waters beyond, then choose how much walking you want to do – your guide will arrange boat transfers to suit your needs.
Walk in 3 sections of 2 hours each
1. Awaroa to Onetahuti and Tonga Quarry – 8km/5 miles; maximum elevation 85m/280ft
2. Tonga Quarry to Bark Bay (Medlands Beach) – 5km/3 miles; maximum elevation 120m/400ft
3. Bark Bay to Torrent Bay – 7km/4.4 miles; maximum elevation 105m/340ft
Accommodation: Torrent Bay Lodge
Meals included: breakfast, morning & afternoon tea, lunch, dinner
9.30am Depart Awaroa for the scenic walk to Onetahuti, which features a beautiful boardwalk and bridge designed by local iwi (Māori tribe). Stroll along the golden sands and enjoy refreshments supplied by your guide.
11.30am Before climbing the low saddle out of Onetahuti, explore the site of Tonga Quarry and hear stories of the unusual granite features and historic relics. Descend to Bark Bay via the waterfall trail featuring views of the cascade from a sturdy swing bridge.
1.30–2.30pm Relax over lunch at Bark Bay where Conservation campsite facilities include shelter, picnic tables, and modern toilets. Rest in the shade, explore the bay or refresh with a swim. After lunch, you’ll walk the most varied section the coastal track as it winds through verdant gullies of mature beech forest, fern grottos and sunny groves of fragrant manuka framing coastal vistas. Cross the swing bridge at Falls River and continue to Torrent Bay.
4.30pm (approx.) Arrive at 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 golden light on the sands of Torrent Bay and perhaps a coffee on the deck before breakfast. Today’s walk follows the easiest section of the coastal track through to Marahau, with panoramic views across Tasman Bay to Nelson. This is a day rich in history, too, as your guide recounts stories of how major landmarks were named by early explorers.
Walk 4-5 hours (depending on tides) – 13-16km/8-10 miles; maximum elevation 110m/360ft
Scenic drive from Kaiteriteri – 20 min to Motueka or 1 hr to Nelson
Meals included: breakfast, morning & afternoon tea, lunch
9am Depart Torrent Bay Lodge. The tides will determine whether you walk around the inlet taking in views overlooking Anchorage Beach, or take the fun short-cut across the inlet to reach the main coastal track.
12 noon (approx.) Stop for lunch at a sheltered beach with views over the Astrolabe Roadstead to Adele Island.
2.30–3pm Finish your leisurely walk at Mārahau, at the end of coastal track. Here, our driver meets you for the return journey to Motueka via Kaiteriteri where you collect your overnight luggage from the boat.
4pm Arrive Motueka
5.30–6pm: Arrive Nelson
This itinerary is reversed for some departures and most Wednesday departures. Go to Northbound Itinerary for details.
Other important information
- walking each day is optional. You are welcome to travel on any of our scheduled ferry services to enjoy relaxed sightseeing and wonderful overnight lodge stays
- 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
Low season itinerary
From May to November the 3 Day Guided Walk itinerary may be altered to make the most of our winter sunshine, with two night's accommodation at Torrent Bay Lodge. Detailed itinerary here...