We will be spending 6 days in the Queen Charlotte Sound and Abel Tasman areas beginning the first week in May. We are thinking of three days in each area, but had some questions. We will have finished a Kaikoura visit before this, and will then drive to the north island afterwards. Our goal is to just enjoy the beautiful scenery.
A possible activity will be to 2 days of the Queen Charlotte Track and 2 days of the Abel Tasman Track. We don't want to do the whole tracks due to time and fitness constraints. Maybe Ship Cove to Furneaux Lodge and then to Pungacove on the Queen Charlotte track, though we haven't figured out which are the easiest on the Able Tasman Track yet, or what other things we can do in both these areas at this time of year as we think it might be rainy season.
We'd love some help with these questions:
1. Considering we will be doing two days of each of the tracks and there are water taxis, we are struggling with whether or not to keep our car or drop it off in Picton? How much are the water taxis one way? Is there an easy way to get from Picton to Nelson and does the cost of public transportation, water taxis, and luggage transfers outweigh just keeping our car? If the weather isn't good, we were also thinking of doing the Queen Charlotte Drive.
2. Where should we stay? Should we base ourselves in one place for all three days in the Queen Charlotte area and then in another place when in the Abel Tasman area? Or should we move each day and stay in the lodges along the track? As this is low season, can we afford to wait until we get there the day before to make our bookings at the visitor centers? (We may get there a day late or a day early.)
3. What kind of weather should we expect typically for the first week in May in this area?
4. Other suggestions of things to do in the areas?
Thank you so much for your suggestions!