Flying into to Nelson is one of the easiest ways to get close to the Abel Tasman National Park. Nelson is the largest city in the area and home of New Zealand’s sixth busiest airport. Nelson airport serves around one million passengers per year. From Nelson the park is an easy one hour, 60km drive by car and there are bus options if you need.
The park is also easily accessible by road from anywhere in the South Island. If you’re coming from the North Island you’ll need to catch the car ferry from Wellington. For travellers without their own transport, bus services are available from Nelson and Motueka each day.
Water taxis shuttle visitors in and out of the park, 7 days a week. You can drive or bus to Marahau or Kaiteriteri to catch your boat.
Transport By Car
The main road access point to the park is via Marahau, at the southern end of the Coast Track.
There is also road access from the northern end of the Park via Golden Bay, to Wainui, Totaranui and Awaroa.
Approximate driving times to Marahau (click below for google map directions):
Transport By Air
Nelson Airport has fantastic connectivity to the rest of New Zealand. It may be small but it’s extremely busy.
Nelson Airport is serviced but around 300 flights per week. As well as frequent daily flights on Air New Zealand, in recent times, a good number of other airlines have begun to offer services into Nelson.
|Adventure Flights Golden Bay||Charter: Awaroa, Karamea, Nelson, Takaka|
|Air New Zealand||Auckland, Christchurch, Nelson, Wellington|
|Golden Bay Air||Regular scheduled air services Wellington – Takaka – Karamea – Nelson|
|Nelson Tasman Air||Charter: Karamea, Motueka, Nelson, Takaka|
|Originair||Nelson, Napier, Palmerston North|
|Sounds Air||Kapiti Coast, Nelson, Wellington|
By Ferry from Wellington
There are two ferry services from Wellington at bottom of the North Island, to Picton at the top of the South Island.
The Interislander and Bluebridge both operate large car-carrying ferries that travel across Cook Strait and through the remarkably beautiful Marlborough Sounds on their way to Picton. Picton is then a 3 hour and twenty minute drive from the Abel Tasman National Park.
Both ferry services take around three hours. The ferries contain restaurants, bars and other ways in which to pass the journey, including children’s areas and even small film theatres.
Transport By Bus
The Intercity bus network has a hub right in the middle of Nelson City with daily services from Picton, Christchurch and other cities and towns around the South Island.
Once you’re in the area, the commercial operators in the Park run year-round daily bus services from Nelson and Marahau . These bus services depart Nelson and Motueka early each morning to meet up with morning trips into the Park that, and then return in the afternoon at around 5:30PM.
Scenicnz Abel Tasman also operate daily services from Nelson and Motueka which take you right to the entrance to the Coast Track in Marahau.
For group bookings requiring transport between Nelson, Motueka and Marahau give us a call on 0800 80 80 18 to add bus transfers to your booking.
Transport By Water Taxi
As one of New Zealand’s few coastal national parks, the Abel Tasman is easily accessed by boat.
The park itself is incredibly accessible with scheduled water taxi services daily all year round. These Abel Tasman transport services allow visitors to do day trips in any area of the park or even half-day trips in the southern end of the park. For visitors doing multi-day trips it provides the opportunity to walk or paddle a kayak in one direction and then water taxi back to where they started their trip, rather than having to return over the same ground they have already covered.