Design your own Abel Tasman walking adventure with all inclusions at our beachfront lodges.
Please confirm start times with us before you book connecting airline flights.
The longer daylight hours of summer (December 20 to 31 March) 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 departures before 20 December 2020 and after 31 March 2021, and for every Wednesday departure .
Following is our Southbound itinerary. This trip is reversed for most Wednesday departures. Please go to Northbound Departure 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 Totaranui, relaxing on the viewing decks and enjoying refreshments from the cafe.
From Totaranui, 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’.
Note: there is no high tide track around the Awaroa Inlet. If you will not reach the Inlet within 2 hours of low tide, discuss the options for boat transfers with your hosts.
Scenic drive to Kaiteriteri – 1 hour from Nelson, or 20 mins from Motueka
Cruise Kaiteriteri to Totaranui – 1 hour 40 mins
Walk Totaranui to Awaroa – 2.5 hours (7km/4.5 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 8.15 am)
If you are self-driving please meet at our office by 11.30am (8.20am)
11.30 (8.30)am: Meet at our Motueka office to pick up track notes, discuss tidal conditions, check your trip details, and leave excess luggage and valuables in safe storage.
12.15pm (8.50am): Coach departs for Kaiteriteri. If you have your own car, follow the coach to safe off-street parking.
1pm (9.20am): Vista Cruise departs Kaiteriteri.
2.40pm (11.20am): Arrive Totaranui to walk to Awaroa Inlet. Either walk, if the tide is out, or take a boat ride across the stunning expanse of the largest inlet on the coast.
5pm (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. Your walk today follows the coastal track through cool native forest and reaches golden sand beaches, perfect for swimming. Choose how much walking you want to do; your host will arrange boat transfers if required.
Walk in 3 sections of 2 hours each
1. Awaroa to Onetahuti and Tonga Quarry –6km/3.5 miles; maximum elevation 85m/280ft
2. Tonga Quarry to Bark Bay (Medlands Beach) – 4km/2.5 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 (Maori tribe). Stroll along the golden sands and rest a while.
11.30am: Before climbing the low saddle out of Onetahuti, explore the site of Tonga Quarry with its 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: Stop for lunch at Bark Bay where there’s a shelter, picnic tables, filtered drinking water and modern toilets. Relax 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 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 morning light on the golden sands of Torrent Bay and perhaps a coffee on the deck before breakfast. Today’s walk follows the easiest section of the coastal track from Torrent Bay to Marahau, with panoramic views across Tasman Bay to Nelson.
* Walk 4–5 hours (depending on tides) – 13– 6km/8–10 miles; maximum elevation 110m/360ft
Scenic drive from Kaiteriteri – 20 mins to Motueka or 1 hour to Nelson
Meals included: breakfast & 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: Stop for lunch at a sheltered beach with views over the Astrolabe Roadstead to Adele Island.
2.30–3pm: Finish your leisurely walk at Marahau, at the end of coastal track, where our driver will meet you for the return journey to Motueka via Kaiteriteri where you’ll collect your overnight luggage from the boat.
4pm: Arrive Motueka
5.30–6pm: Arrive Nelson.
- 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
- 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.