From ancient beech forest to pristine beaches, this self-drive holiday harnesses the healing power of nature.
Day 1: Arrive, unwind and release at Maruia River Retreat
A scenic drive through vineyards, orchards and native forest from Nelson (150 km), Christchurch (250 km) or Motueka (160 km) takes you to the heritage nature reserve of Maruia River Retreat.
Take an afternoon to unwind beneath ancient beech trees with forest bathing in an outdoor hot tub and infra-red sauna by the river, just steps from your luxurious villa. Be nourished with omnivore cuisine created by the Retreat’s private chef. Then, an evening of breathwork and meditation class will settle you for a good night’s sleep.
1 pm: Check-in
2-5pm: Private Forest Bathing and hot tub/sauna schedules
6.30pm: 3-course dinner
8-8.30pm: Evening breathwork and meditation
9pm: Private forest bathing and hot tub/sauna schedules
Day 2: Stretch and Explore Maruia River Private Estate
Ease yourself into the day with an energising movement class guided by the Retreat’s experienced yoga teacher. All levels, especially beginners, are welcome. Linger over our signature continental breakfast with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients from our own garden or nearby growers.
You are invited to take your packed lunches for a guided walk along the private trails across the Estate. You never have to leave the property to explore rivers, streams and the diverse, ancient beech forest, unique to the West Coast of New Zealand.
Your afternoon can be spent relaxing and forest bathing or you can choose to explore attractions in the surrounding areas (extra charges may apply). This includes mountain bike and hiking trails, white water rafting, the Buller Swing Bridge, and Reefton’s Little Biddy distillery. After dinner, sound healing sessions are available to help you quieten your mind for the night.
8am: Yoga for relaxing and energising.
9.30am: Continental breakfast.
12 noon: Guided nature walk within the Estate's private forest with picnic lunch.
2-5pm: Private forest bathing and hot tub/sauna schedules or explore the surrounds OR book a spa and massage treatment (optional extras).
6pm: 3-course dinner.
8-8.30pm: Sound healing and gong bath sessions. This is not a water bath. You are submerged in the powerful healing properties of sound waves created by the Retreat’s gong master.
9 pm: Private forest bathing and hot tub/sauna schedules.
Day 3: Scenic Road Trip to Motueka with Vista Cruise and Walk into Abel Tasman National Park.
Savour Maruia River Estate’s signature continental breakfast before a leisurely drive back along the Shenandoah Highway, through the orchards and vineyards of the Motueka Valley into the town to meet your hosts at Wilsons Abel Tasman’s office.
There is time to re-organise your luggage into Lodge Luggage Bags that will be transported to your accommodation by boat. You carry only a small day pack with the delicious picnic lunch supplied, and any other equipment or clothes you need for day. Store excess baggage in secure lock-up at the office. Your car is tucked away with off-street, long-term parking.
A 15 minute coach ride delivers you to the golden sands of Kaiteriteri Beach to board the Vista Cruise and travel the length of the golden Abel Tasman granite coast from Kaiteriteri north to Totaranui. Practise breathing and relaxing on the viewing decks. Indulge with refreshments from the cafe.
From Totaranui, immerse yourself back into mature native forest, punctuated by walks along secluded beaches to reach the breathtaking expanse of the Awaroa Inlet. Your hosts welcome you to Meadowbank Homestead – a faithful recreation of the Wilson family's original home on the ‘finest site in the bay’.
Traditional Kiwi hospitality starts with pre-dinner snacks served at the in-house bar. Discuss your plans for the next day over a delicious meal, then retire to your ensuite room to be lulled to sleep by gentle ways lapping golden sand.
8am: Continental Breakfast.
9am: Check-out and depart for your scenic drive to Motueka.
11.30am: Check and meet your guide at Wilsons Abel Tasman office.
1pm:Cruise Kaiteriteri to Totaranui – 1 hour 40 mins.
2.30pm: Walk Totaranui to Awaroa – 2.5 hours (9km/5.5 miles); maximum elevation 100m/340ft.
6.00pm: 3-course dinner prepared for you by our wilderness chef.
Day 4 : Explore Awaroa to Torrent Bay
A day to practise your own forest bathing with walks through shady native forest or relax in the sun on a golden beach. Find time on your own to breath in nature or share experiences with your guide who has a wealth of fascinating stories about the natural and cultural heritage of the Abel Tasman coast. Your welcome for the night is at Torrent Bay Lodge. This was orginally the Wilson family's holiday cottage at the beach. It has been extended and refurbished to include all modern comforts, retaining the feel of a relaxed beach holiday.
7.30-8am: Cooked or continental breakfast with views overlooking Meadowbank’s gardens and the waters of Abel Tasman’s largest tidal estuary. Then, you decide how active or relaxed you want your day to be. Your journey has 3 parts that can be travelled by boat or walk along the well-formed coastal track.
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.
12 noon (approx): Stop for lunch at one of the pristine beaches, ideal for swimming in the sun or relaxing in the shade.
From 2pm: Welcome to Torrent Bay Lodge. Relax or explore this sheltered golden inlet.
5.30pm: Pre-dinner nibbles served on the deck.
6pm: Your 3-course dinner is served.
After dinner, take a moonlight stroll along the beach or sit and wonder at the stars.
Day 5: Return Home
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.
9am: Depart Torrent Bay Lodge to walk 4-5 hours (depending on tides); 13-16km; maximum elevation 110m/360ft. 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 the coastal track. Here, our driver meets you for the return journey to your car in Motueka.
4pm: Arrive Motueka