Nelson, Golden Bay and Abel Tasman

Cycling in Tasman and Golden Bay’s most beautiful coastal and inland areas plus a scenic cruise, and 3 days of easy walking in lush native forest as well as kayaking on pristine bays with golden sandy beaches.

This cycling trail takes a leisurely tour of Tasman and Golden Bay’s most beautiful coastal and inland areas.  Riders will pass vineyards, breweries and orchards along the way.

The start of your walking is through lush native forest and golden sandy beaches from Totaranui in the north to Marahau in the south in Abel Tasman National Park.

It is pleasant walking, with no point higher than 150 m. Out kayaking, you may even see a seal colony.

You’ll stay in beachfront homesteads, with plenty of options each day, including simply ferrying from lodge to lodge if you’d prefer more relaxation.

Our expert guides will help you get the most from each day, and make sure you’re fully briefed to sea kayak in safety.

Tour Type

Walking Tour

Cycling Tour

7-12 Day Tour

Kayaking Tour

Duration

10 Days / 9 Nights

Fitness

Price

NZ$4230

Book now for Next Season! 2019 / 2020

We can build a tour especially for your group, please enquire for dates available.

Tour Itinerary

Price: NZ$4230

Day 1 

Nelson (Richmond) to Motueka

47 km

After your pick up in Nelson we start our cycle journey at Richmond. This section of Tasman’s Great Taste Trail winds alongside the scenic Waimea Inlet which is the largest enclosed estuary in the South Island and home to a wide range of  sea birds including the bar-tailed godwit, white heron, royal spoonbill, little egret, Australasian bittern, and banded rail.

You ride to the popular recreation area/ beach on Rabbit Island and arrive at the Mapua Ferry, which transfers you to the seaside village of Mapua.

Leaving Mapua the trail runs along the coast, where you’ll be rewarded with amazing views out across Tasman Bay and up to the Mt Arthur Range and  Kahurangi National Park.  From here the trail descends gradually to Motueka where you stay overnight.

Day 2

Motueka to Takaka

Motueka to Kaiteriteri 15.3km, Upper Takaka to Takaka 22kms

Leaving Motueka behind, this section of Tasman’s Great Taste Trail takes you through the beautiful fruit and hops growing area of the region and on to the picturesque seaside holiday mecca, and one of New Zealand’s favourite beaches, Kaiteriteri.

In Kaiteriteri we board the vehicle and drive over the infamous Takaka Hill to Little Takaka. From here we ride down the idyllic Takaka Valley to the township of Takaka where our riding finishes for the day.

You will have time this afternoon to walk around Takaka and enjoy browsing through the arts and craft shops and galleries this area is known for.

Tonight we stay and dine in Takaka.

Day 3

Takaka to Pupu Springs to the Anatoki River to Collingwood to Puponga

Takaka to Pupu Springs 6.7kms,  to the Anatoki River 8.5km Collingwood to Puponga 21km

This morning we ride the 6.7kms to the Waikoropupu (Pupu) Springs to see the clearest spring water in the world and enjoy the bush walk around the springs soaking up the unique features of this special place.

From the Waikoropupu (Pupu) Springs we ride along the quiet back roads to the Anatoki River and visit the Anatoki Salmon farm where if you are keen you can catch your own salmon and have it hot smoked for you.

Then it is all aboard the vehicle and drive north along the glorious coastal road to Collingwood, soaking up the fabulous views over the pristine waters of Golden Bay.

On the way we will stop in at the famous Mussel Inn to soak up the atmosphere of this charming brewery and eatery.

On arrival in Collingwood we are on the bikes again and ride to Puponga and on to Wharariki Beach.Tonight we stay and dine in Collingwood.

Day 4

Collingwood - Bainham - Takaka

33km

We drive this morning through the quiet rural Aorere Valley to the end of Aorere Valley Road which is the official start of the famous Great Walk – The Heaphy Track.

From here it is onto the bikes to ride back down the valley to the small historic town of Bainham where we visit the Bainham store and discover the history of the area. This general store and post office has been providing essentials to the Bainham community and travellers since 1928.

On leaving Bainham we continue on down the valley riding through farm land until we meet the coastal road where we finish cycling for the  day. Tonight we stay and dine in Takaka.

Day 5

Riwaka to Woodstock

32kms

This morning we drive back over the Takaka Hill to Riwaka where the days riding starts. This is a beautiful quiet back country road and the ride from Riwaka to Woodstock is well worth the effort. The road meanders along tranquil back roads following the west bank of the Motueka River, world famous for its brown trout and fly fishing. The finish of the riding for the day is in Woodstock a very small rural settlement on the banks of the Motueka River.

We drive back to Nelson where you stay for the evening.

Day 6 

Nelson / Motueka to Awaroa via Totaranui

7 km

Meadowbank Homestead

All aboard our Vista Cruise vessel! As we cruise from Kaiteriteri at the southern tip of the Park, north to Totaranui we echo the contours of the spectacular Abel Tasman coastline. Relax on the upper or lower viewing decks and enjoy a hot drink from the cafe. From Totaranui, walk through mature beech and rata forests, and along secluded golden beaches to the breathtaking expanse of the Awaroa inlet. A warm kiwi welcome to Meadowbank Homestead At Awaroa, a faithful re-creation of the Wilson family’s original home on the “finest site in the bay”.

  • Pick up Nelson (10.15 – 10.45 am) or Motueka (11.30 am) or if you are self driving please meet at our office by 11.30 am. Low season departures (19 April to 19 October) have an earlier start time. See Start/Finish Times (below) for more details.
  • Meet your guide at our Motueka office for a welcome briefing with time for last-minute luggage organisation, before departing to Kaiteriteri by coach.
  • 1.00 pm: Vista Cruise departs Kaiteriteri for a fast, safe, comfortable cruise along the National Park coastline. Hot & cold drinks, open and enclosed viewing decks and bathroom facilities on board.
  • From Totaranui, walk through mature beech and rata forests, and along secluded golden beaches to the tidal inlet at Awaroa.
  • Either walk, if the tide is out, or take a boat ride across the stunning expanses of the largest inlet on the coast.
  • Welcome to Meadowbank Homestead At Awaroa, with pre-dinner drinks and fine food.  Here you’ll find comfortable accommodation full of history and kiwi charm.

Approximate Times: 
Scenic drive to Kaiteriteri from Nelson (1 hour) or Motueka (20 mins)
Cruise Kaiteriteri to Totaranui – 1.5 hours
Walk – 2.5 hours (7 kms, 4.5 miles) including tidal crossing
Maximum elevation 60 m (200 ft)

Meals included: Lunch, Afternoon Tea, Dinner

Day 7 

Explore Awaroa

Meadowbank Homestead

Wake up to a home-cooked breakfast and sweeping views across Awaroa inlet, the largest tidal estuary in Abel Tasman National Park.  Enjoy the comfortable surroundings of the lodge and perhaps a coffee on the verandah watching the movement of the tides over golden sand. Then, let your guide design your day to be as active or relaxed as you wish with another night at Meadowbank Homestead.

Options include:

  • Explore Awaroa estuary on foot or by kayak (tides permitting)
  • Visit early European and pre-European historical sites
  • Unwind on the beach
  • Relax and enjoy the comforts of Meadowbank Homestead.

Approximate Times: 
Walking time: up to 4 hours (optional)
Optional kayaking: up to 2 hours

Meals included: Breakfast, Morning and Afternoon Tea, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8 

Awaroa to Torrent Bay

Walk 5 km, Kayak 10km

Torrent Bay Lodge

Wake to breakfast overlooking the gardens of Meadowbank Homesead, watching the movement of the tides over golden sands.  Walk with your Guide to the golden expanse of Onetahuti Beach then paddle to Torrent Bay, through Tonga Island Marine Reserve and exploring hidden inlets along the way.

  • 9.30 am, depart Awaroa for the scenic walk over the Tonga Saddle to Onetahuti. Here, your guide will settle you into your kayaks with full training and safety brief. Don’t worry, you won’t leave the beach until your guide is satisfied you can safely negotiate the coast in your kayak. (If you are a travelling on your own, your Guide will find a suitable paddling partner for you).
  • Weather permitting, there’s the opportunity to visit the Seal Colony on Tonga Island where New Zealand fur seals breed. It’s often possible to spot new-born pups here in December and January.
  • Enjoy the sensation of paddling through the clear turquoise waters of the Park as we cruise past Tonga Quarry and the Tonga Arches, where your guide will explain the history of this granite area, pointing out some of the unusual natural features and relics from the historic quarry.
  • Midday, stop for lunch at sheltered Bark Bay, where you can take time out to explore, swim or relax on the golden sand
  • After lunch, we continue our paddle, beach hopping along the coast with picture-postcard views, including the Falls River and Frenchman’s Bay,
  • At around 4.30 pm paddle into Torrent Bay to be welcomed with refreshments and a hot shower in your ensuite room.

Approximate times: 
Walk Awaroa to Onetahuti 1.5 hours 5 kms (3 miles)
Max elevation 85 m (280 ft)
Sea Kayak Onetahuti to Torrent Bay 4 hours (10 kms. 6 miles)

Meals included: Breakfast, Morning and Afternoon Tea, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9

Explore Torrent Bay

Torrent Bay Lodge

A day of choices! Let your guide plan an adventurous or relaxing day to suit you with another night at Torrent Bay Lodge, right on the beach.

Options include:

  • Walk through breathtaking first generation forest, up to the waterfalls on Falls River;
  • Canoe or walk around the estuary and visit the peaceful grotto of Cleopatra’s Pool;
  • Walk to the golden expanse of Anchorage beach and picturesque Te Pukatea cove, visiting historic Maori sites at Pitt Head along the way;
  • Relax on the beach at Torrent Bay.

Approximate Times:
Optional walking: up to 5 hours (10 kms)
Optional kayaking: tide dependant

Meals included: Breakfast, Morning and Afternoon Tea, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10

Torrent Bay - Kaiteriteri to Motueka/Nelson

Kayak 12 km

Wake up to morning light on the golden sands of Torrent Bay and perhaps a coffee on the deck before a hearty home-cooked breakfast to set you up for another day of scenic paddling.

  • Around 9.30 am we leave Torrent Bay by kayak and glide southwards along the coast, to discover the pristine bays and beaches named by French Explorer, Dumont D’urville in 1827.
  • Paddle the idyllic waters of Te Pukatea Bay.  In the sheltered Astrolabe Roadstead, paddle along the picturesque coast of Adele Island, now a predator-free sanctuary ringing with birdsong.
  • If the wind is with you, your guide will help you hoist a specially designed sail so you can ride the sea breeze.
  • We’ll stop for lunch and a rest at any one of the bays, before we continue our journey through azure waters to the famous Kaiteriteri beach, where our driver will be waiting to meet you for the return journey to Motueka (4.30 pm) or Nelson (5.30 – 6.00 pm).**

Approximate times: 
Sea Kayak Torrent Bay to Kaiteriteri 4.5 hours (12 kms)
Scenic drive Kaiteriteri to Motueka (20 mins) or Nelson (1 hour)

Meals included: Breakfast, Morning and Afternoon Tea, Lunch

Start/Finish times

The direction of this trip may be reversed on some departures with earlier pick up in Nelson (7.15 – 7.40 am) and Motueka (8.15 am).

This early pick up applies to all departures after NZ daylight savings time ends at the beginning of April.

If Start/Finish times don’t suit your itinerary, please contact us to make alternative arrangements.

Please confirm the start/finish time with us before you book connecting airline flights.

Important Additional Information

Kayaking or walking each day is optional. You are welcome to travel on any of our scheduled ferry services. If you find that sea kayaking is not for you, you have the option of joining the 5 Day Walk group that is walking the kayaking sections of this itinerary. This flexibility is perfect for couples or groups that want to visit the park together but don’t all want to kayak, some preferring to walk or boat between lodges.

We reserve the right to alter itineraries, timetables and vessel types. All travel subject to weather and tides which may cause delay/cancellation.

What's included?

Accommodation

  • Day 1: Comfortable Motel
  • Day 2: Comfortable Motel
  • Day 3: Comfortable Motel
  • Day 4: Comfortable Motel
  • Day 5: Comfortable Motel
  • Day 6: Private Lodge
  • Day 7: Private Lodge
  • Day 8: Private Lodge
  • Day 9: Private Lodge

Double or twin share. If single room accommodation is requested, an additional fee per person is payable to cover this requirement for the duration of the tour. Single supplement not available on the walking section of the tour

 

Bike Hire

Bike Hire                      NZD$190
Electric Bike Hire      NZD$450

 

Food

You will enjoy great local cuisine; continental breakfasts and hearty packed lunches during the day, and either restaurant meals or wholesome home-cooked fare prepared by your host/hostess in the evenings.If you have any dietary issues or food allergies, we are happy to cater for these, please advise the office of details when you make your booking. All meals are included in your tour cost except your evening meal on night Five. Wine and other beverages are available to be purchased during dinners.

 

Luggage

Tuatara Tours transports all your luggage for the duration of the tour.
All you carry is a small day pack with your personal gear, drink and lunch. We do the rest

 

Tour Kit Bag – Exclusive to Tuatara Tours

To ensure you get the very best out of your journey with the least of fuss, we provide you with a kit bag full of useful goodies.

This will be given to you at the start of your tour.

 

An experienced guide

Our guides are very experienced, friendly walkers and bikers who love to share their knowledge of New Zealand’s flora and fauna and local history. They all hold current first aid certificates, passenger driving licences and are the very best people to ensure your experience will be one to remember.

 

All transport

 

Access and Concession fees paid to the Department of Conservation

 

NZ Goods and Service Tax (GST)

 

Safety and Risk Management

To ensure maximum safety for all, our guides are certified first aiders and fully qualified drivers. Tuatara Tours operate under a Safety and Risk Management Plan which is regularly audited and approved by a qualified and independent auditor.

*The walking and kayaking component of this tour is run in conjunction with another operator.

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