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Abel Tasman Park: Wilson Experience Tours

Portland
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32 posts
26 reviews
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Abel Tasman Park: Wilson Experience Tours

My daughter, friend and I spent two nights/three days (really 2 &1/2) on the combination Kayak/Walking tour with Wilson Experience in Feb. Apparently, this tour company is owned by a fellow who either owns, or has exclusive access to the two lodges that are in the park; Torrent Bay and Meadowbank Homestead - Awaroa; both, very nice accomodations, but not available in the high season (as I was told anyway) unless booked as part of the Wilson Exp. Tours. This was a very nice tour, and the food and the lodges excellent. We had wonderful dinners and rooms both nights. Only complaint was that the starting day was a bit disorganized. Apparently one could hike, not Kayak, but nobody mentioned this to us. And the guides can be a bit too chatty for me, but that's a personal issue for me, I suppose. One can only hear so much about the botanical diversity of Abel Tasman before you realize that if we just hiked at a normal pace, we'd get to our destination too soon. It's also a bit pricey; I paid about $2,500 USD for three of us for two nights; wine is extra.

ashland, oregon
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449 posts
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1. Re: Abel Tasman Park: Wilson Experience Tours

Hi Malthus, My wife and I also took the 3 day walking/kayaking tour ,but in April. After pre-paying ( about $2100nz/ $1500us) and then being required to call the night before the tour to confirm, we arrived only to find out that there was a direction change. We were now kayaking first, going south to north instead of the opposite as advertised. This meant we had to hurry up and change, not only our clothing ,but also our packing for the following days ahead while we were at their office! Why no mention of the change while we were on the phone? Not a great start!

Then we found out that we were shoved between a wedding and a large family. Everything from then on was basically catering to these two groups. We had to wait until they cleaned up after the wedding before we could arrive and as for the family, we felt as if we were the least favorite family member! Lots of hurry up and waits! Obviously, they wanted it all and we were to pay for it!

Now here are the positives. 1)There were only three of us, including the guide. 2) The lodgings were great, especially Torrent Bay( great food catered by Craig Wilson and company of the Wilson family. 3) Our guide, Charlotte, was very nice and informative. We also, can't say enough about the staff. Great group of people!

Motueka
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39 posts
16 reviews
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2. Re: Abel Tasman Park: Wilson Experience Tours

The "fellow" mentioned is actually 3 generations of the Wilson family. They are direct descendants of the Hadfield family who were among the first British farmers at Awaroa. That is how the family is able to own land and operate 2 Lodges: Torrent Bay Lodge and Meadowbank Homestead - Awaroa within the boundaries of the National Park. The Wilson's aim is to introduce visitors to their National Park whilst preserving its unique environment for the next generations. To ensure everyone's comfort and safety, they do not operate their Lodges on an accommodation only basis. To make the best use of resources (boat transfers, freight and Lodge operations) they operate on 3-day (1 night at each Lodge) and 5-day (2 nights at each Lodge) itineraries. Guests are welcome to walk unguided (no unguided kayaking for safety reasons) and itineraries can be varied to suit each individual. These itinararies are detailed on the Wilson's website www.AbelTasman.co.nz and Travel Agents are advised, but the information can be lost in translation when trips are booked through Agents. Guides and Reservations staff are highly trained to sort out any confusion on the first day, but as that is the first contact the company has with many visitors, there can be some re-organisation required if Guests have been given the wrong information before arriving in the region.

3. Re: Abel Tasman Park: Wilson Experience Tours

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