Abel Tasman Transport

How to get to the popular & accessible Abel Tasman National Park.

The Abel Tasman is located in the Tasman District at the top of New Zealand’s South Island. The start of the Abel Tasman track is easily accessible by road from anywhere in the South Island. From Nelson the park is an easy one hour, 60km drive by car and there are bus options if you need. 

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 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.

Water Taxi – One Way Fare

Water Taxi | Half Day
from $52
Water taxis provide quick and convenient access to the six major bays along the spectacular Abel Tasman coastline.
Book Now

Abel Tasman Water Taxi Charter

Scenic Cruise | Full Day
from $POA
Special charter services available upon request
Book Now

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.

The Local Bus

Once you’re in the area, the Better Bus run a bus service between Nelson, Motueka and Marahau. This bus service departs Nelson and Motueka early each morning and heads to Marahau to meet up with morning trips into the Park. The bus returns from Marahau to Motueka & Nelson in the afternoon. You can book your transfers online or give them a call on 027 577 697

There is also a new local eBus service which operates between Nelson and Motueka  https://ebus.nz/routes-and-timetables/motueka-nelson/

Bus transport to the Abel Tasman - How to get here

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.

Wellington Airport is the closest international airport, a short 35 minute flight away.  Nelson is also well serviced by New Zealand’s other main international airports, Christchurch and Auckland.

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.

Airline Destinations
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
Air transport to the Abel Tasman - How to get here
Ferry transport to the Abel Tasman - How to get here

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.

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