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Top of the South Island Walks

Our ‘Top of the South’ 11 day itinerary showcases two wonderful coastal tracks with stunning yet varying scenery – the Queen Charlotte Track and the Abel Tasman Coastal Track.  All of our itineraries are provided as a base and we can certainly tailor any combination of accommodation levels or trip variations to your preference.
 
 

Day 1

 
Arrive into Wellington (own arrangements prior to this).  Take the ferry over to Picton (departure times will be selected to suit your arrival into Wellington).  This a wonderful 3.5 hour trip through Wellington Harbour, the Cook Strait and then the stunning Marlborough Sounds. 
(Alternative option would be to fly with SoundsAir (12 seater commuter flight) – please advise if you would prefer this option)
 
Check into your 4 star Motel accommodation in Picton.  Here you can expect quality service and warm hospitality in a convenient location. 
(Backpackers, B+B or hotel accommodations can be arranged instead – please advise if you would prefer this option)
 
At 5pm attend your pre-trip briefing for the Queen Charlotte Track.  You will receive an information pack including a map/track guide and vouchers for your walk.
 
The track package included within this itinerary would be as follows:
 

Queen Charlotte Track Four Day Independent Upgrade Package:

 
  • 3 nights superior, seaview twin/double share accommodation with own private ensuite (Suite at Furneaux Lodge, Weka/Kiwi at Punga Cove and Kowhai at Portage Resort)
  • Water transport to and from track
  • Luggage transfers
  • Packed lunch included each day (breakfast and dinner can be purchased at the lodges)
  • Queen Charlotte Track Land Pass 
  • Picton accommodation transfers to and from water taxi 
  • Information pack incl. track guide
 
(Standard, Boutique or 5 day options are also available on this track – please advise if any of these options are your preference)
 

Day 2

 
Queen Charlotte Track
The Queen Charlotte Track is New Zealand’s most diverse coastal walk set in the geologically unique Marlborough Sounds. Stretching from historic Ship Cove to Anakiwa, this undulating trail features remnants of virgin native bush with a sea view around almost every corner.
 
You will be collected this morning at 8.30am from your Picton accommodation to begin your Queen Charlotte Track experience. Your water taxi departs at 9am this morning. Walk from Ship Cove to Furneaux Lodge. This scenic & historic reserve was a favourite anchorage for Captain Cook during his explorations in the 1770s. Experience virgin beech forest at its best plus stunning views of the Queen Charlotte Sound. 
 
Inclusions: Accommodation and Packed Lunch
 

Day 3

 
Today’s mainly coastal walk takes you around the inlet through regenerating native bush to the call of bellbirds, fantails and other NZ native birds. Pause at the head of the bay to learn more about antimony & the mining industry that thrived there in the 1880s. Follow the main track onwards and into Big Bay before working your way towards Camp Bay and Punga Cove.
 
Inclusions: Accommodation and Packed Lunch
 

Day 4

 
It’s a challenging day walking on the ridgeline between Punga Cove & Torea Saddle near Portage. Truly grand vistas abound round every corner a wonderful reward indeed. Those who feel like a day􀂷s rest can opt for a boat ride around the bays of the Queen Charlotte Sound to Portage Bay (at own cost).
 
Inclusions: Accommodation and Packed Lunch
 

Day 5

 
Farewell Portage and ascend to the ridgeline once again, enjoying stunning views. Open farmland and a grand native bush section to finish is a fitting finale. Today you return by boat from the Outward Bound Wharf and join Beachcomber Cruises service at 3.30pm back to Picton to compete your journey.
 
Once back in Picton, you will be transported from the Waterfront back to your 4 star Motel accommodation for your overnight stay in Picton.
 

Day 6

 
Check out of your accommodation and today transfer to Nelson from Picton with the Intercity bus.
(A private shuttle can also be arranged for this journey – additional costs apply – please ask for more details)
 
On your arrival into Nelson, make your way to your pre-booked centrally located Motel accommodation.
(Backpackers, B+B or hotel accommodations can be arranged instead – please advise if you would prefer this option)
 
The track package included within this itinerary would be as follows:
 

Abel Tasman 4 day ‘All The Way’ Freedom trip:

 
  • Transport to Marahau from your Nelson 
  • 3 nights’ accommodations (Private room on Aquapackers Boat (Shared bathroom) at Anchorage, Wonderful hotel room at Awaroa Lodge, Awaroa. Luxury room Ratanui Lodge Pohara Beach) 
  • All Luggage transfers – you carry just a daypack with your lunch etc.
  • Land shuttle from Wainui Carpark to Ratanui Lodge.
  • 3 packed lunches (day 1, 2, and 3)
  • BBQ evening meal & breakfast on the Aquapackers Boat.
  • Breakfast at Ratanui Lodge
  • Transport from Ratanui Lodge to Nelson or Nelson Airport
  • Your personalised itinerary, maps and other information
 
NB. An information bundle will be left at this accommodation for your Abel Tasman walk. Please visit reception to collect this.
 

Day 7

 
Abel Tasman Coastal Track
Golden sandy beaches meet coastal forest and granite cliffs on this Great Walk set in our smallest but most popular national park. Known for its great weather and popular with both hikers and sea kayakers, this is an ideal walk for families and first time walkers.
 
Today your adventure in the Abel Tasman National Park begins!
 
(Please note that the following itinerary may be different to the one on your chosen departure date, due to the tides on those days (As part of the track is tidal, the tides indicate the direction of the walk))
 
You will be picked up in Nelson around 7.30am and transported by coach to Marahau, arriving at the Aquataxi base there about 9.30am.  Check in your bags for luggage transfers, collect your lunch and off you go. Spend the day hiking/swimming/exploring the forest, the track and the golden sand beaches enroute to Anchorage. You are picked up off the beach and shuttled out to the Aquapackers Boat. After settling in perhaps a swim and a little later on a BBQ is served on the top deck.
 
Inclusions: Accommodation, BBQ dinner, breakfast and Packed Lunch
 

Day 8 

 
Begin walking along the wonderful beach at Anchorage, pass civilised Torrent Bay before heading up and over and to the iconic Falls River swing bridge and further to Bark Bay. From this lovely bay the track heads up the largest ascent on the whole trip ending up at back at sea level at Tonga Quarry and Onetahuti Bays. A lovely walk along crescent shaped Onetahuti Beach follows and then the last saddle sees you over to the wonderful Awaroa Lodge. This is the biggest day. Tonight you will stay at Awaroa Lodge where you have a wonderful rooms reserved for you. 
 
Inclusions: Accommodation and Packed Lunch
 

Day 9

 
About 20 minutes from Awaroa Lodge is a wide tidal crossing then it is into some wonderful podocarp forest before bursting out on the golden sand of Waiharakeke bay and Goat Bay before the final ascent over to the popular camping spot of Totaranui. From Totaranui you will be on the less well travelled part of the track and come across the beautiful beaches of Anapai and Mutton Cove. If you wish to do an hour extra then head on out to Separation point (it’s a loop). Before long you will be at Whariwharangi Bay, this is where Abel Tasman the explorer unsuccessfully tried his only landing in New Zealand (he was repelled by the local Maori). Then it’s up and over the hill to the Wainui carpark where you will be picked up by van for the short shuttle to Pohara Beach and Ratanui Lodge.
 
Inclusions: Accommodation and breakfast 
 

Day 10

 
A restful morning and a leisurely breakfast – perhaps followed by a casual stroll along Pohara Beach – this is so different from the golden sand beaches of the Abel Tasman.
Your transport leaves Ratanui at 11.35am and has you back in Nelson around 2.35pm
 
You will dropped back off at your pre-booked Motel accommodation again.  Enjoy your evening in Nelson.
 

Day 11

 
Check out of your Nelson Motel accommodation this morning and depart Nelson (own arrangements following this).
 
 
We can of course arrange any further travel plans or additional walks following this – please just ask!