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6 days in Queen Charlotte Sound and Abel Tasman

San Francisco...
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6 days in Queen Charlotte Sound and Abel Tasman

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!

Christchurch, New...
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1. Re: 6 days in Queen Charlotte Sound and Abel Tasman

There are many vagaries here as I don't know what the weather will be like , or your fitness. Another unknown is what drop-off fee your rental car company will charge if you leave the car in Picton.

When I did the QCT the water taxi charged $99 return to Ships Cove, regardless of how far we walked. Porterage of luggage was included. We stayed at Resolution, Endeavour & Punga then taxied out because the weather packed in.

Depending on your budget, you might like to consider staying at Awaroa Lodge in ATNP. I only had a coffee there. Another idea would be to do a day walk, using water taxis and spend the rest of the time driving to Golden Bay/Nelson etc.

Motueka
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2. Re: 6 days in Queen Charlotte Sound and Abel Tasman

Keeping the car might be more convenient, but not necessary and less environmentally responsible as public transport is easy between Picton and Nelson, and from Nelson into Abel Tasman National Park. Check out Abel Tasman Coachlines for timetables and fares. Most water transport operators in Abel Tasman National Park include transport from Nelson, but staying in Motueka or Kaiteriteri is closer to the National Park. Marahau is right at the entrance to the National Park with some lovely accommodation places but not much else at this time of year. The shallow tidal estuary at Marahau makes it more complicated and less environmentally friendly for boat transfers. Weather in May is absolutely stunning but most people have left the beaches at the top of the South so most operators and running on low season timetables. Awaroa Lodge is closed for the low season so you will need to stay outside the Park unless you want to camp at DOC huts or indulge in an overnight Lodge Stay with Wilsons Abel Tasman.

3. Re: 6 days in Queen Charlotte Sound and Abel Tasman

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