Planning A NZ Road Trip is a Freaking Nightmare

So in three weeks my friend Emily (who I met in Hawaii last October) is coming over from Aus to visit. I am beyond excited to see her and explore more epic parts of New Zealand! Oh and to not have to go to work for two weeks YASS.

HOWEVER. This is the fourth NZ road trip I’ve planned. And my god, it doesn’t get any easier.

I hate that I have to do a million google searches and a thousand clicks to find all the information before booking. Working out transport, the most efficient way to travel, all the accommodation options, different season’s weather… ugh, i’m getting stressed just thinking about it. Can I pay someone to do this for me? Oh wait, i’m poor.

So on our roadie we are doing some tramping (kiwis love this word- a combination of trekking and camping). Specifically, we’re doing 2 nights and 3 days of the Abel Tasman Track. Haven’t heard of it? Look it up- it’s amazing. I went to Abel Tasman region on my New Years road trip and holy guacamole it was delish. The beaches are a combination of Croatia and Hawaii and are unlike any other place I’d been in NZ.


Soaking up the sun on Kaiteriteri Beach- amazing!

So we are going back. Tramping, as you can imagine, requires a bit of planning. Unless you wanna be cold and hungry (not me).

So my list of things to work out went as follows:
1. How to get to the start of the track from Nelson?
2. Where even is the start of the track?
3. Which direction do we walk?
4. How do we get back?
5. Where do we stay?
6. Everyone kayaks: how do i arrange this so we can be cool like the other trampers? Is it BYO kayak coz I haven’t trained for this.

Ah, a quick google search will give me all the answers!

Wrong. Welcome to my nightmare.

The Abel Tasman track is a very popular experience for travellers and locals, therefore there are a lot of companies available to assist you on your trip. Sounds easy huh?

Getting from Nelson to Marahau
From Wellington, you can either fly to Nelson or get the ferry to Picton. We chose to fly to Nelson thanks to cheap flights with Air New Zealand. Plus, Nelson is approximately a 1 hour drive from the start of the track compared to two hours and forty mins from Picton! (Note: buses take a LOT longer)

It turns out there’s a lot of bus services that go to Marahau (the start of the track). I’ll be booking with InterCity since I’ve used that bus service before, but I did find a helpful website which showed all of the buses that go between Marahau and Nelson. So we’ll get on the bus at 07:30am in Nelson and arrive at 09:15, all for $21. Easy peasy.

The Track
It’s typically a five day hike, but people often shorten it. This image has been particularly helpful in visualising our walk.

abel tas

The Direction
I still don’t know the answer to this. Whether people begin at the start or begin at the end and work their way back. This became quite stressful (I wanted to tear my hair out) when trying to book the water taxi.

How to Get Back (although you might not want to)
BASICALLY, there’s this company called AquaTaxi and they can drop you off and pick you up from any of the main points along the track. Fabulous! We’ll start walking at Marahau and finish at Awaroa! So I went to book a return water taxi from Awaroa to Marahau and was greeted with: not available. For Any. Day. Of. The. Year. Wtf? I ended up emailing the company to ask what was up. They wrote back informing me that their website was experiencing technical difficulties and it was available to book. I took a deep breath, wishing I knew that earlier.

Where to Stay
Fortunately, this part was pretty easy. All of the campsites and huts are government owned and operated so you just need to go onto the DOCs website to book. The only downside is if you’re a non-resident (i.e. have not lived in NZ for one year) the fees are double! Poor Emily.

How to Kayak Abel Tasman
Okay so I still don’t know this. I have read people kayak for four hours from Marahau on the first day and then walk the rest. Tbh that sounds shit since I don’t even like kayaking that much (upper body strength is not my forte). I have some cool friends who did Abel Tasman recently so will ask them what they did.

So that’s what I have learnt. After I do the trek, I plan to write a post on how it went and follow it up with some pretty pictures (just to make you all jealous). I really hope that the time I have spent researching this helps you! Wish me luck.

Peace and Love. X

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