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Oh, the beautiful Abel Tasman National Park! It may be the smallest of New Zealand’s National Parks but don’t count it out for a second. This is easily one of the most beautiful places on the South Island. I mean just picture golden beaches, endless coastline, and one of the best hiking tracks around.
After living and traveling across New Zealand, I found there’s just something special about this place. While you could easily spend a few days here, you may not have that kind of time or don’t want the hassle of organizing everything yourself. I totally get it! That’s where a tour comes in and there are some really great Abel Tasman tours to choose from.
You can plan to base yourself in Nelson which is about an hour from Abel Tasman National Park and take a tour from there. You also have the option to take a tour from Kaiteriteri which is home to one of the best beaches in New Zealand! Or you can grab a tour from Mārahau which is basically right outside the park – it’s not known as the “Gateway to Abel Tasman” for nothing!
Whether you’re planning to hike the famous Abel Tasman Coast Track, kayak, skydive, or book a multi-day guided tour, there’s something for you. I’ll help narrow down which one you should choose with an in-depth look at the best Abel Tasman tours from Nelson, Kaiteriteri, and Mārahau so you can find the right fit. The hardest part will be choosing which one to book!
Don’t have time to read the full article? These are my absolute favorite Abel Tasman Tours:
- From Nelson, this full-day hiking tour of Abel Tasman allows you to see the highlights of the park in just one day.
- From Kaiteriteri, you can see the most beautiful spots in Abel Tasman National Park on this 6-hour tour.
- From Mārahau, you have tons of options, but my favorite is this full-day tour that allows you to both hike and kayak in the park!
Best Abel Tasman Tours From Nelson
1. Full-Day Abel Tasman National Park Hiking Tour with Cruise
This full-day hiking tour of Abel Tasman is an amazing way to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the park. It’s a carefully crafted day so you’ll see the highlights of the park without having the hassle of planning it yourself!
You’ll start by being picked up from your Nelson hotel in style with a Mercedes. You’ll get a scenic drive passing by the orchards and market gardens that supply much of the country’s fresh fruit and veggies as you head to meet your water taxi.
Then you arrive at one of the most beautiful beaches in New Zealand in Kaiteriteri! You’ll board your water taxi for a relaxing cruise from Kaiteriteri to the heart of the park, with plenty of chances to spot seals and beautiful birds along the way.
Once you step off the boat, it’s time to hike – my favorite part of exploring this park! This tour includes a 2.5-hour hike through the forest during which your guide will teach you all about the Maori and Dutch heritage of the area, and help you to identify local medicinal and edible plants.
After you complete the first hike, you’ll enjoy lunch on Torrent Beach before heading out for another gorgeous 2-hour hike around Torrent Bay. You’ll have another scenic boat ride on the way back to Kaiteriteri and then a comfy ride back to your accommodations in Nelson.
This tour costs $499 NZD per person for adults including lunch, hotel pickup, and walking sticks and backpacks if necessary. There’s a maximum of 6 people per group so it’s a nice, personal experience.
I think this tour is perfect for hiking enthusiasts and wildlife lovers, so if that’s you make sure to book online before it fills up!
2. Abel Tasman 4-Day Getaway
If you’ve got time to spare, spending a few days exploring Abel Tasman National Park is something we highly recommend doing.
This 4-day tour includes a yacht charter to see the park from the water, a hike along the Coast Track, a sunrise paddle on a traditional Waka canoe, and a trip to the largest freshwater springs in New Zealand – Waikoropupū Springs. You’ll also visit Kaiteriteri Beach and the stunning Wharariki Beach, which is widely considered to be one of – if not the – most beautiful beach around Nelson.
There are also lots of optional extras available if you want to take your trip to the next level, such as skydiving or abseiling in the Torrent River canyon. You can also choose to kayak along the Coastal Path rather than walking it.
The maximum group size is 10 people and you’ll stay in a boutique beachfront hostel together, so you’ll become a very tight-knit group by the end of the experience. This is the perfect tour for young people looking to make new friends and discover the beauty (and even the nightlife) of Abel Tasman together!
The base tour costs $1,099 NZD per person which includes the base tour (without extra activities like skydiving) and breakfast each morning. Hotel pickup from Nelson isn’t included, though – instead, you’ll meet at a local hostel in Nelson and head to Abel Tasman from there.
3. 20,000-foot Tandem Skydive over Abel Tasman
Visiting this national park is already an epic experience, but skydiving over Abel Tasman takes things to a whole other level. As you plunge from 20,000 feet in the air, you’ll have over a minute of freefall before opening your parachute – not to mention incredible aerial views of one of New Zealand’s most beautiful destinations.
This is the maximum height allowed for skydiving in New Zealand, so you just know you’re in for a thrill.
You’ll see the waters, beaches, and mountains of Abel Tasman as you soar toward the ground. This is an amazing way to experience the incredible beauty and diversity of New Zealand’s South Island while getting a huge dose of adrenaline!
The price of this skydive includes hotel pickup and dropoff in Nelson, and there are no hidden fees. The only thing that will cost you extra is buying a photography package if you want proof to show your friends and family members!
The 20,000-foot skydive costs $749 NZD per person and the maximum passenger weight is 100 kilograms (220 pounds). This experience is available all year round and can be booked online here if you’re ready for the jump!
Why I Book Tours with Viator
Viator is a trusted online booking system for tours around the world! I almost always book tours using Viator for a couple of reasons:
- Free cancellation on most tours – Most of the tours on Viator allow you to cancel and get a full refund up to 24 hours in advance. This is handy in case plans change, or if booking an outdoor activity, the weather forecast is looking grim.
- Reserve now and pay later – You can secure your spot on some of the most popular tours well in advance and not pay until closer to the day of the tour.
- Pay in your chosen currency – Avoid costly international transaction fees by choosing to pay in your home currency.
- Peace of mind – When booking with tour operators you find in person on the street or in small booking offices, you are often promised one thing and given another. This online platform holds tour operators accountable with a written description of inclusions as well as the opportunity for customers to leave reviews.
Check out the Viator website here!
Best Abel Tasman Tours From Kaiteriteri
4. Abel Tasman Day Trip
If you’re short on time but still want to see the most beautiful spots in Abel Tasman National Park, this 6-hour tour is the perfect way to experience this incredible area. It’s a small group tour so there’ll be no more than 11 of you traveling together, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to chat with your guide and ask questions. The guides are all super enthusiastic and friendly, so don’t be shy!
You’ll begin this tour by meeting in Kaiteriteri by the beach so you can get on your way! You’ll cruise around Split Apple Rock, which is a really cool photo opportunity – just check out the photo of me above!
Then you’ll stop at Tonga Island Marine Reserve where you’ll have free time to explore the park independently. You can snorkel, go kayaking along the shore, or go hiking along the Pitt Head loop for beautiful views of circular Te Pukatea Bay.
This tour costs $358 NZD for adults. The price includes lunch on board the boat, snorkeling and kayaking equipment, as well as snacks and bottled water throughout the day. I really like the freedom in the itinerary with this tour, while still packing a lot of activities into a relatively short space of time. Check availability and book your day trip to Abel Tasman online here!
5. Private boat charter in Abel Tasman National Park
Chartering a boat may sound pricey, but it can actually be quite a cost-effective way to spend the day in Abel Tasman National Park if you’re traveling with a big group – not to mention that you’ll feel like a total VIP!
This private boat charter in Abel Tasman is $2,840 NZD for a group of up to 11 people and can be totally personalized for what you want to do. Want to relax and enjoy the views? Done. Up for more of an adventure with some hiking or kayaking? You got it.
The fact that this experience gives you the freedom to explore the park exactly as you want to is a HUGE plus for this tour. Typical spots to visit include the Tonga Island Marine Reserve, Abel Tasman Coast Track, and Split Apple Rock, but just talk to your skipper and tailor the tour to your own interests.
You’ll also have a ton of opportunities to spot wildlife along the way, including birds, seals, and dolphins (who may just end up swimming alongside your boat for a while if you’re lucky).
The price of this charter includes lunch, wine or beer, and the use of kayaking and snorkeling equipment. Essentials like sunscreen and insect repellent are also included which is really handy because you’ll definitely need them inside Abel Tasman!
So if you and your family or friends are looking to head out on the water for a private boat tour, don’t hesitate to book online now!
Related Read: If you’re going to be renting a vehicle to get around, make sure to check out all our tips on renting a car in New Zealand like not turning right on a red light – that was a new one for me to learn!
Best Abel Tasman Tours From Mārahau
6. The Family Cruiser from Mārahau
This fun, half-day kayaking tour from Mārahau is perfect for families or groups of friends! You’ll kayak from Mārahau to the iconic Split Apple Rock and back again, with a guide who will make sure that you don’t get lost. You’ll have the chance to explore several sea caves along the way and your guide will help you to identify birds and wildlife as you go.
We love that this group tour is a small group experience that’s capped at 8 people, so you get plenty of chances to chat with your guide and learn lots about Abel Tasman National Park. The views are super scenic, so this is an amazing way to explore the park.
The meeting point for the tour is in Mārahau, just 200 meters away from the start of the Abel Tasman Coast Track, so you can always go hiking after your tour ends!
The tour costs $108 NZD for adults. All of your kayaking and safety equipment is included in the price. You get back to Marahau at around 12 pm, so you’ll still have the rest of the day to explore! You can book your morning kayaking tour online before you go and take advantage of the buy now, pay later option.
7. Kayak and Walk Tour
If you’re keen to kayak and hike inside Abel Tasman, then this full-day tour will give you the best of both worlds. You’ll start in the morning by hiking along the Coastal Track from Mārahau to Observation Beach. This route is deemed to be one of New Zealand’s Great Walks, and as you head through the bush past many beautiful viewpoints, you’ll definitely start to understand why.
Once you reach Observation Beach, you’ll have time to sit back, relax, and enjoy lunch before kayaking back to Mārahau. Kayaking here is one of the best things to do on the South Island and this kayaking trip will take you around several of the islands inside Abel Tasman National Park.
Sometimes, you do the hike first but other days you’ll kayak first. Either way, you’ll get to experience both and still have lunch on the beach, so don’t worry!
We think that this is a really fun and immersive way of exploring Abel Tasman National Park. It costs $190 NZD per person and travelers need to be at least 12 years old to participate since you need to be moderately fit for this one and have a good level of endurance.
The price includes your lunch and kayaking equipment. We think it’s pretty good value for money, although group sizes tend to be bigger on this tour than a lot of the others that we’ve mentioned.
8. 3-Day Unguided Kayaking Tour in Abel Tasman
If you’re keen to camp under the stars in Abel Tasman National Park and explore independently, then this 3-day tour is perfect for you. All of your kayaking equipment and campsite bookings are handled for you, but you won’t have a guide. You’ll be free to discover the park at your own pace. All that you’ll need is your own camping equipment, which you can rent from the tour office if you don’t have your own!
On the first day, you have a safety briefing in Mārahau before taking a water taxi to Onetahuti Beach, where your adventure begins. You can spend time exploring the Astrolabe channel before heading to either Observation Beach to Te Pukatea Bay for your first night of camping.
On your second day, you can go kayaking around the stunning Anchorage Bay before heading to either Bark Bay or Mosquito Bay for the night. Then, on your third and final day, you’ll kayak all the way back to Mārahau.
I think this tour is amazing for those who love to explore by themselves, rather than in a big tour group, but still want to be provided with campsite bookings and a route that’s easy to follow. It’s basically a structured but independent adventure. It’s especially handy since all campsites in Abel Tasman need to be booked in advance, so there’s no need to worry about that if you’re joining this tour.
This adventure costs $341 NZD for international visitors and $325 NZD for New Zealand residents. You can book online to secure your dates and take advantage of the free cancellation option.
9. Seal Sanctuary Tour Guided Kayaking
This awesome half-day kayaking tour is a must for wildlife lovers! You start with a water taxi ride over from Mārahau to Observation Beach, and then you’ll head out on a kayak to explore the Adele and Fisherman Islands along the coastline, both of which are home to colonies of New Zealand fur seals and blue penguins.
You’ll spend about 1.5 hours on the water, which is plenty of time to observe these amazing animals playing and basking in the sun.
The tour costs $220 NZD and includes your kayaking equipment and a leisurely lunch on the beach. It’s super organized so it never feels rushed, and it’s an excellent way to learn more about the park’s wildlife. Plus, the views along the way are absolutely beautiful.
This trip has a minimum age of 12, but we think it would be a great bonding experience for families with teens – or basically anyone who’s keen to see some adorable NZ fur seals! Book a spot on this unique kayaking tour online now!
10. Oarsome Marine Reserve Kayak Tour
If you’re keen on a full-day kayaking tour inside Abel Tasman (and the puntastic name hasn’t already convinced you to book), then we think that this “Oarsome” kayaking tour is an ideal choice. It’s an 8-hour kayaking excursion that will take you to visit New Zealand fur seal colonies at Shag Harbour and Tonga Island.
Your guide will also point out many other kinds of wildlife as you paddle through the reserve, including blue penguins, stingrays, and lots of sea birds. At around noon, you’ll stop in Bark Bay to refuel with croissants, cakes, and more on the beach before paddling back to Anchorage, where you’ll catch a water taxi back to Mārahau.
There’s a maximum group size of 8 and you need to be reasonably fit to take part, since you’ll be paddling for the vast majority of the day. Participants also need to be at least 12 years old, since a full day of kayaking would probably prove too much for little ones!
The tour costs $280 NZD for adults, so it’s one of the pricier single-day tours on this list, but we think it really is an amazing way to immerse yourself in the natural surroundings of Abel Tasman National Park.
Renting a Car, Campervan, or Motorhome in New Zealand
Let’s face it, you’re going to need wheels to get around New Zealand. Although a small country, buses between destinations are infrequent and expensive. Plus, some of the best experiences you can have in NZ are on road trips!
You have three options when it comes to getting wheels in New Zealand; a car, a campervan, or a motorhome. Here’s what you need to know about each and where to get them:
- Car – A normal car is the cheapest rental vehicle you can get in New Zealand. It’ll get you around to all of the best destinations with ease. The only downside to a car is that you will need to stay in hotels or Airbnbs during your travels (no camping.) The easiest place to rent a car in New Zealand is on Discover Cars where you can compare cars, companies, prices, features, and more very easily.
- Campervan – A Campervan is a large van that has a bed and a small kitchen in the back. It’s what most budget travelers use for traveling around New Zealand since it allows you to camp comfortably and for free (most) nights. Campervans are best for couples or solo travelers who are happy to live in a small space. You should also love the outdoors and camping…and be prepared for an adventure of a lifetime! My favorite campervan rental company is JUCY because they have a huge selection of campervans to choose from, plus multiple pick-up/drop-off locations. You can browse JUCY’s campervan selection online here. Alternatively, you can easily compare all campervans available in NZ on Motorhome Republic here.
- Motorhome – A motorhome is larger and more comfortable than a campervan. Many motorhomes will comfortably sleep 6 or more people – perfect for a family visiting New Zealand. Motorhomes are the most expensive option, but with one you won’t ever need to stay in a hotel and you’ll save money that way. My top choice for a motorhome company is Star RV because they have beautiful motorhomes at affordable prices. You can check prices and availability for Star RV motorhomes online here. Alternatively, you can use Motorhome Republic to search all motorhomes in NZ. For more detailed info, read my complete guide to renting a motorhome in New Zealand!
EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNT CODE: I’ve managed to snag a discount code for 5% off for my readers if you book your JUCY or Star RV campervan or motorhome before the end of June 2024! Simply click here to select your JUCY campervan, or click here to select your Star RV motorhome, and then use the code DTRAVEL24 at checkout to get 5% off – it’s that easy! One thing to note is that this code is only valid for travel before Dec 21, 2024.
Travel Insurance Has Your Back!
Life can be unpredictable and when you’re traveling abroad, the last thing you want to worry about is getting sick or injured and having to pay out of pocket for treatment.
If this concerns you, SafetyWing can help! SafetyWing specializes in very affordable and comprehensive medical and travel insurance that is aimed at digital nomads, remote workers, and long-term travelers. It costs just $45 USD per 4 weeks!
To start coverage, you must purchase it after leaving your home country, so we usually buy it as soon as we land at the airport.
Since using SafetyWing we’ve been reimbursed thousands of dollars when we’ve gotten sick. During the pandemic, they’ve even gone as far as to pay for our last-minute flights back to Canada before the border closed!
Thanks for reading!
Tours are a fantastic way to see Abel Tasman National Park and there’s such a variety, I’m positive you’ll find one you like. There’s a great mix of tours that let you see the best parts of Abel Tasman by hiking, kayaking, camping, or just cruising through the water. Plus there are options leaving from the three different locations of Nelson, Kaiteriteri, and Mārahau, depending on whichever is closest for you.
If you’ve found this article about Abel Tasman Tours helpful, check out more of my blogs on New Zealand. I have everything from road trip itineraries and city guides to the best places to stay in each location.