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Top of the South 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 Tui Terrace 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, Premier 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 days 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 from Nelson to Marahau & return to Nelson
  • 3 nights’ accommodations
  • All Luggage transfers – you carry just a daypack with your lunch etc.
  • 4 packed lunches
  • Dinner & breakfast on Aquapackers Boat
  • Breakfast at Ratanui Lodge
  • Land shuttle from Totaranui to Ratanui Lodge & Ratanui Lodge to Wainui Carpark
  • Water taxi transport from Totaranui to Marahau
  • Your personalised itinerary, maps and other information
  • A full briefing by one of our staff in Marahau
 
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 7.15am and transported by coach to Marahau, arriving at the Aquataxi base there about 8.30am.  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

After breakfast, your walk begins with the wide tidal crossing about 20 minutes from Awaroa Lodge. Then it is into some wonderful podocarp forest before bursting out on the golden sand of Waiharakeke Bay and Goat Bay before the ascent over to the popular camping spot of Totaranui. At Totaranui enjoy one of our favourite short walks (the Pukatea loop track) before meeting our land shuttle to the highly-rated Ratanui Lodge. Enjoy time at Ratanui Lodge and maybe go for a stroll along the beach, or relax in the spa pool. Bicycles are also available to explore the area. For dinner enjoy a 3 course meal (set menu – not included in tariff) at Ratanui Lodge - they do food & service wonderfully well here! 
 
Inclusions: Accommodation and breakfast 

Day 10

After breakfast, a short shuttle to Wainui Carpark takes you to the last section of your walk. From Wainui you are on the less travelled section of the track. The views of Wainui Inlet as you climb up into the native forest are stunning. The route today takes you up and over to Whariwharangi, then you’ll have the option of walking the Separation Point Loop track (an extra hour) before heading on to Mutton Cove and Anapai Beach before arriving at Totaranui. Once at Totaranui the AquaTaxi will pick you up and return you past all those golden sand beaches to Marahau. Our land transport to Nelson departs conveniently from the AquaTaxi base dropping you in Nelson around 6pm.
 
Once back in Nelson, you will be dropped off again at your pre booked Motel accommodation
 

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!
 

Package Price - $2999NZ per person (based on twin share)

single supplement will apply if solo traveller

 

Inclusions:

2 nights motel accommodation in Picton

2 nights motel accommodation in Nelson

3 nights lodge accommodation on the Queen Charlotte Track

3 nights boat/lodge accommodation on the Abel Tasman Track

Ferry from Wellington to Picton

Bus from Picton to Nelson

Packed lunches x 4 on the Queen Charlotte Track

Packed lunches x 4 on the Abel Tasman Track

 

What’s not included:

Dinner and breakfast whilst in Picton

Dinner and breakfast whilst in Nelson

Dinner and breakfast whilst on the Queen Charlotte Track

Dinner and breakfast whilst on the Abel Tasman Track (except dinner and breakfast on the Aquapackers and breakfast at Ratanui Lodge which are included)