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Queen Charlotte Sound and Abel Tasman questions

San Francisco...
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Queen Charlotte Sound and Abel Tasman questions

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!

Picton, New Zealand
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1. Re: Queen Charlotte Sound and Abel Tasman questions

I am in the Picton walking group and we often get a water taxi out to one section of the track, finishing in one of the cafes before another taxi brings us back.

I suggest you leave your car in Picton, take a water taxi to where you want to start, stay in a different lodge along the way then get a water taxi back to Picton.

Westport, New...
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2. Re: Queen Charlotte Sound and Abel Tasman questions

Check in with the local picton isite, very helpful, free advice. The can give you all the info you.

Christchurch, New...
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3. Re: Queen Charlotte Sound and Abel Tasman questions

2) Why not find yourself a base on one area, and move each day in the other. If you have done multiday walks before you will know there is something special about walking to your destination and making a real journey our of your travels. (But it can also get tiring and having a base is sometimes nice.)

If you are after lodge type accommodation, I would move each day on Queen Charlotte as there are more options. But if you are set up for staying in tramping huts (ie have your own pots / plates / gas cooker / sleeping bags etc) then you could stay in the Department of Conservation (DOC) huts in Abel Tasman, of which there are quite a few to choose from.

In the other area, find yourself a motel to base yourself out of, and use water taxis to get to and from the parts of the track you want to visit.

You may also want to consider sea kayaking (very easy and fun if the weather is good, no previous experience needed if you go with a guide, and very little chance of falling in!) although I've not tried it in May. Both Queen Charlotte and Abel Tasman have multiple sea kayak companies; Queen Charlotte is probably calmer and more sheltered.

We don't have a rainy season as such, but it can be cold / windy / rainy at any time of year. Likewise it can be sunny and warm and calm at any time of year. Listen to the weather forecasts, but also take them with a grain of salt, they can be wrong.

Edited: 20 July 2012, 10:13
4. Re: Queen Charlotte Sound and Abel Tasman questions

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