Abel Tasman National Park: Scenic Kayaking New Zealand

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As The Travel Tester, I love to try out products, accommodation, tours and activities all around the world! To give you the best advice on whether you should use them as well, I’ve created a short test report. Not only will you find all the information you need to book or buy yourself, but I will also show you my experience and tell you what for type of traveller this product or service is suited best.

Today, we’re looking at the Kayak trip Nick and I did in the Abel Tasman National Park on the South Island of New Zealand. We did this back in 2008, but you can still book a similar tour with this company today! Scroll down to find out more.

 

Abel Tasman National Park: Fantastic Place for Kayaking New Zealand

 

Abel Tasman National Park: Scenic Kayaking New Zealand

 

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Company Name: The Sea Kayak Company
Website: seakayaknz.co.nz

Tour Name: Paddle & Hike
Tour Website: seakayaknz.co.nz/g9.html

Number of Days: 2
Price: $265 per person dinner bed and breakfast. (dorm style accommodation) semi catered, or $300 per person dinner bed and breakfast. (private double) semi catered. Check all prizes here, as they have many different tours!

Start: The Sea Kayak Company at 506 High Street, Motueka, then depart from Marahau, New Zealand
End: Marahau, New Zealand

 

Location:

 

 

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The tour we did back in 2008 still exists, but some changes have been made. We started in Marahau, with a paddle to Anchorage bay, overnight stay at the house boat and a hike to Onetahuti the next day (although we never made it there, read the story below to find out why!), followed by a water taxi return to Marahau.

These days, you start with a water taxi ride to Onetahuti, where you paddle back to Anchorage, stay overnight and end the tour with a hike back to Marahau. Seems like a good change!

 

Day 1

 

Abel Tasman National Park: Fantastic Place for Kayaking New Zealand

Abel Tasman National Park: Fantastic Place for Kayaking New Zealand

We get assigned a sea kayak and load our gear into waterproof bags. Don’t forget the sandwiches :)

 

Abel Tasman National Park: Fantastic Place for Kayaking New Zealand

Nicks shows the kayak gear

 

Abel Tasman National Park: Fantastic Place for Kayaking New Zealand

And we’re off. The scenery is stunning right away:

 

Abel Tasman National Park: Fantastic Place for Kayaking New Zealand

Abel Tasman National Park: Fantastic Place for Kayaking New Zealand

Abel Tasman National Park: Fantastic Place for Kayaking New Zealand

Our Guide

 

Abel Tasman National Park: Fantastic Place for Kayaking New Zealand

Good Team Work!

 

Abel Tasman National Park: Fantastic Place for KayAbel Tasman National Park: Fantastic Place for Kayaking New Zealand

Abel Tasman National Park: Fantastic Place for Kayaking New Zealand

We take a break at one of the idyllic beaches and get a sandwich and a slice of carrot cake. Now we have energy enough to paddle a bit further!

 

Abel Tasman National Park: Fantastic Place for Kayaking New Zealand

We even came past a penguin! Can you spot him? (Clearly we’re not wildlife photographers)

 

Abel Tasman National Park: Fantastic Place for Kayaking New Zealand

When we arrive at Anchorage bay, we are happy to see our boat for the night… well… actually this is not it. Check the video to see the real one :)

 

Abel Tasman National Park: Fantastic Place for Kayaking New Zealand

Abel Tasman National Park: Fantastic Place for Kayaking New Zealand

Abel Tasman National Park: Fantastic Place for Kayaking New Zealand

Anchorage bay is absolutely stunning. We take a short hike up the hill (high enough after so much paddling) and enjoy the view for a while…

 

Abel Tasman National Park: Fantastic Place for Kayaking New Zealand

 

Abel Tasman National Park: Fantastic Place for Kayaking New Zealand

Happy we made it, time for a BBQ on board… and a nap! In the evening, the owner of the boat asks us if we would like to see some glowworms, of course we do! We jump on his rubber boat and he shows us a secret cave with glowing green worms (I think it’s their poo you see glowing actually, but still… pretty cool)

 

 

Day 2

 

Abel Tasman National Park: Fantastic Place for Kayaking New Zealand

Abel Tasman National Park: Fantastic Place for Kayaking New Zealand

We set out bravely for a couple hours hike today. The people at the kayak centre told us the weather would be ‘less good’, but soon we learn this actually means ‘all hell is about to break loose and your underwear will be dry again around March’. Even my binbag raincoat couldn’t handle it.

 

Abel Tasman National Park: Fantastic Place for Kayaking New Zealand   Abel Tasman National Park: Fantastic Place for Kayaking New Zealand

Never thought rain could get you so wet. The hike was supposed to be over 5 hours, but we had to give up after just 4 because we just couldn’t get any wetter. Unfortunately, also every single thing we carried (including camera and passport) got soaked and had to wait at the cabin at Bark Bay for over an hour to catch the water taxi back. The waves were insane though, as they rolled up above (!) the back of the boat! Never been so scared in my life.

But it wasn’t over. We had to then wait about an hour (wearing our soaking wet clothes) at the taxi centre, before our bus back to the kayak centre would arrive… but even then it didn’t, so someone offered to bring us by car. Arriving at the kayak centre, we waited another 2 (!!) hours for another bus to bring us to the hostel, but that seemed to have broken down. And they also kind of forgot us. When the bus finally arrived, it had to make a detour because there was a big accident on the road. Absolutely knackered, we arrive in the hostel to finally change our clothes and get some food…

… but the lady from the kitchen tells us that they cannot serve us, because they have a big group coming in. We lose it there and pull her over the bar, well almost… but somehow we did end up with a plate of fish & chips. And that’s all we asked for.

 

Abel Tasman National Park: Fantastic Place for Kayaking New Zealand

Back in the hostel… drying every single item we carried.

 

Curious to see more? Check out this video we made:

 


(you can choose English subtitles!)

 

The Verdict:

Ok, so we didn’t have such as great experience because of the extremely bad weather the second day and all that went wrong around our pickup that day.

But we did see one of the most beautiful National Parks of the world, we had loads of fun kayaking to Anchorage bay, a nice lunch at a secluded beach, enjoyed our unique house boat stay (which was almost empty, so we got a room of our own), saw glowworms in a secret cave and a cute little penguin on the way. We also met some great people on the boat and had a BBQ and some beers, which is never a bad idea. If you like getting active on your travels, get a bit away from it all and you’re reasonably fit, then this is definitely something for you.

So I will recommend the tour to you. But perhaps check the weather forecast a bit better than we did and bring proper rain protection, because the tour is quite expensive, so you don’t want to end up like us wasting most of the enjoyment of it!

 

Skydive Taupo: True Adventure in New Zealand! | The Travel Tester

 

 

The Travel Tester Blog: Now it's your turn!

 

Are you a kayaking fan? Would you choose to do a kayak trip in the Abel Tasman National Park?

 

 

Brochure Sea Kayak in Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand

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Download the entire brochure in PDF format

 

The Brochure Rack: Sea Kayak in Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand || The Travel Tester

 

 

Thank you for sharing this Travel Test Report on Pinterest:

Abel Tasman National Park: Fantastic Place for Kayaking New Zealand[:nl]

 

 

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14 Comments

    • Hahaha, je hebt me! Ik vond de oude post op de website terug en vond het wel een goed verhaal. Zo zie je maar dat je na verloop der jaren alle ellende stiekem gewoon vergeet, ik wist alleen die pinguin nog :)

  • We have walked in the Abel Tasman a few times now. It is truly beautiful. On our first trip in 2001 we had a guide for just the two of us because no one else had booked so early in the season (first week in December). His name was Shay and, when we checked 12 years later, he was still working with the same company. He told us brilliant stories, often illustrated by maps drawn in the sand. He also knew the common name, botanical name and Maori name for everything floral that we could point at. He had done a LOT of research because this was his first season guiding. We salute you Shay! We stopped at some fabulous accommodation. I was still earning then and we could afford a bit of luxuary. Sometimes the chef was cooking for just 3 of us. I had a new digital camera and took some memorable shots many if which drift across as my screen saver today. Oh, we did some kayaking too but my wife tells everyone to this day that I just sat up the back and admired the view while she did all the paddling. This is because I was sitting there with my mouth open every time she looked around! We capsized the craft as we came into a beach in just the smallest of waves. But we were soon dry because we had fabulous weather. We took our English friends back to Abel Tasman in 2012. We all LOVE New Zealand and especially Abel Tasman. It has an interesting history. Much of the peninsula was cleared for farming and they built boats up there with the timber that once grew there. Just imagine how pristine it must have looked before all that happened.

    • Hi Max, that sounds fantastic! It’s so great right, to have someone come along with such good knowledge about the place you’re in. That definitely enhances the trip and makes for much better memories. And about the kayakking, haha that is too funny, I can just see you two having lots of fun :) Would be great to go back to New Zealand one day. We are also thinking of *hopefully* going back to Australia next year. Fingers crossed!

  • Tasman National Park is popular. I went there several times and enjoyed a lot. But didn’t try kayaking for a while. Afer reading this post, I am very much interested in making a kayaking tour to Tasman National Park. Hope I will make this kind of kayaking tour for the next time.

  • Nice post, great story.
    Sounds like a great place for adventure, I’m just starting kayaking so I may try it soon.
    Thanks for sharing
    PD: Nice photos!

  • Currently planning a trip out that way and this definitely looks like something I need to add to the list. Thanks for all the details – seems like a good price for the tour.

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