Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Australia & the Pacific
Reload this Page > Can You Help with NZ Abel Tasman or Marlborough Sounds logistics???

Can You Help with NZ Abel Tasman or Marlborough Sounds logistics???


Jan 12th, 2009, 06:32 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 2,529
Melnq8 -- Thanks so much. Those chalets look perfect! And the price is right -- especially after looking at the extremely high prices for the resorts at the Great Barrier Reef (which will be part of my trip to OZ after NZ).

Question: From Wellington ... would I fly to Nelson--and then rent a car? Would I want a car once I get to the chalets to explore the area?

And Melnq8 -- thanks for the comments about my Kauai trip report. Try hard not to be jealous ... but I'll be going back to Kauai a month after returning from NZ and Oz. I like my life ;-)
Songdoc is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 12th, 2009, 07:08 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 14,685
I like your life too, and I think I want it.

From Wellington, you should be able to fly to Nelson. I say 'should' because flights from Wellington and to Nelson are somewhat limited. You'd have to do some checking.

Or, you could take the ferry from Wellington (takes three hours I think), but you'd end up in Picton.

If you take the ferry, you'll see quite a bit of the Marlborough Sounds we discussed earlier.

You can rent a car in Nelson or Picton to drive to Abel Tasman.

You could certainly take a bus from Nelson or Picton to Marahau, but then you'd be captive(Marahau is tiny). If you want to explore the areas outside of Abel Tasman, you'll definitely need a car. If you just want to plant yourself in Marahau, you won't.

You might be able to rent a car in Motueka, which is about 15-20 minutes from Marahau, but you'd need to arrange transport to and from the car rental place.
Melnq8 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 13th, 2009, 05:57 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 2,529
Putting this trip together is a bit like working a jigsaw puzzle ... and now, thanks to all your help, the picture's beginning to come into focus!

I just have to decide whether I want to take the ferry between Wellington and Picton -- or fly from Wellington to Nelson. This will be May so it might be quite cold on the ferry -- but I assume it's enclosed. It would be nice to see the Sounds. Hmm...

I'll want to rent a car. Is the drive much longer from Picton (than from Nelson)? That might help make my decision.

Again, thanks so much.
Songdoc is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 13th, 2009, 06:12 PM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 764
The first section of the road from Picton to Nelson is Queen Charlotte Drive. This is a winding stretch of road on which it is difficult to overtake for much of its length. If you get caught behind slow traffic, it can add quite a bit to the time for the journey. Many campervans and similar vehicles use it and the scenery is quite nice. You should allow a couple of hours for the trip. This, plus the ferry crossing, will make that option far longer in terms of the time taken than would the flight to Nelson. As you say, however, you would get to see some of the Sounds.
kiwi_rob is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 13th, 2009, 07:00 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 14,685
Yep, Picton to Abel Tasman will take longer. The actual mileage from Picton to Motueka (closest town that appears on milesage chart) is 158 km, about 2:15. Queen Charlotte Drive could add even more time to the journey (photo stops) but it's a beautiful stretch of road and might make a nice compromise since you won't be seeing the Marlborough Sounds otherwise.

Taking the ferry will really add time - three hours, plus loading in Wellington and unloading in Picton, but it might be a good way to squeeze in more of the sights if you can afford the time.
Melnq8 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 13th, 2009, 11:01 PM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 7,907
There are at least 10 flights a day to Nelson from Wellington, if you want a cheaper flight though you need to book well in advance.

There is no need to take the Queen Charlotte Drive to get to Nelson from Picton. You can take the normal route which is travel on the main highway to Blenheim but take a right turn at the Spring Creek hotel, this brings you out at the Nelson side of Renwick. It is not nearly as scenic as the Queen Charlotte drive but a much faster and less windy drive.

The ferry is enclosed and is a lovely trip depending on the weather and how much time you have available.

Songdoc are you working in Nelson at the weekends when you are in the area, If you don't mind me asking what will you be doing?
nelsonian is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 14th, 2009, 12:00 AM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,566
Book marking - thanks for all the great info
Maudie is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 14th, 2009, 01:07 AM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,566
Hi Songdoc,
Just re-reading your post I noticed you had a question about the TranzAlpine. I am also doing some research for a trip next year and come across a booklet I have on the train.

There is an option called Arthur's Pass Adventure that might suit you. Its Christchurch- Arthur's Pass-Christchurch giving you 5 hours to explore the area so you can bushwalk or have a leisurely lunch or both! I can't find any info on it on the website but the booklet is dated October 2008 so its current and the price is $149NZ. I am sure you can pick up the info once you get to NZ.

I am sure you will have a great holiday.
Maudie is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 14th, 2009, 08:17 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 2,529
This is such great information. What would I do without you???

In response to Nelsonian:

I'll be teaching songwriting master classes (hence "Songdoc") during weekends in Auckland, Christchurch, and Wellington--then leading the Australian Songwriters Conference north of Sydney. My time in the Nelson/Abel Tasman area will be "down time" when I collapse and relax -- before I do it again.

I have the best job in the world for a traveloholic -- but I worked, struggled, and paid my dues for decades to get there. I've been very, very fortunate.
Songdoc is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 15th, 2009, 09:45 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 67
We loved Abel Tasman and stayed at the Ocean View Chalets...great location and they arranged all of our activities (hiking, kayaking, etc.) from there.
mirsy is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 16th, 2009, 08:15 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 2,529
I really appreciate the recommendations about Ocean View Chalets. It also got great reviews on tripadvisor.

This forum is the BEST!!!
Songdoc is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 7th, 2009, 02:02 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 92
Abel Tasman--Ocean View Chalet--ask for one with unobstructed view (we had number five and it was pefect)--you'll have a bit more of a climb but well worth it. The "kitchenette" is pretty basic for cooking dinner--the OV offers a very good breakfast buffet for $ or eat yogurts in yr room, have a picnic lunch and enjoy a wonderful dinner at any one of the cafes down the hill or along the road. Bliss.
There is also horseback riding next door as well as down the road a bit and the kayak tours are first rate--

off Wednesday to Taranaki and only North Island to visit family but would very much prefer to head south...

opus is offline  
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 05:05 AM.