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Packing list for one of New Zealand's Great Walks

Summer is upon us and it's time to tackle a Great Walk!

Abel Tasman National Park coastline

The Abel Tasman Coast Track is the chosen challenge; it's a relatively easy tramping track with some great facilities at hand and fits as the perfect way to pass a few warm, sunny South Island days.

Things to consider:

  • Hiking the Abel Tasman National ParkAre you going alone? The Abel Tasman National Park is too nicer spot to experience alone. I'm taking my partner along!
  • Will you camp or pre-book one of the large, serviced DOC huts? Here in New Zealand the high season runs from October to April, so we'll definitely have to pre-book and hope to stay in the huts so we can travel lighter.
  • What is the weather forecast? Nelson and the surrounding region is famous for getting the most sunshine in New Zealand, the forecast is looking promising!
  • Which direction shall we walk the track? This track is not a circuit track so we'll need to arrange a shuttle to get us from the end of the track (in this case Wainui) back to the start, where we've left the car (Marahau).

First things first, you can thankfully leave the tent and sleeping mat in the shed as you've secured tickets for the backcountry huts. These 'huts' are the 'Hiltons' of the backcountry world – they are modern and insulated and even have flush toilets and wash basins with filtered water. With that in mind, let's start out in the usual way.

A good quality 50L hiking pack:
Hiking Pack
One of the best things about this track is there are no climbs over 200metres, in fact there is only one that gets close to that near the end. So all things considered, this is a walk in the park – bring a comfortable pack, but no need to buy a new fancy one.

Pack liner:
Pack Liner
Rain, hail or shine, you should still use one of these.

Hiking boots or shoes:
Hiking Boots
For this type of track that is flat and well maintained, a pair of good quality hiking shoes may be preferable to a heavier pair of boots. But it really comes down to what you're used to and what you know will work for you.

Walking sandals or kiwi flip flops:
Walking Sandals
Since it's going to be warm and you'll be near the beach, these will come in handy.

Sleeping bag:
Sleeping Bag
The temperatures on the West Coast of the South Island, particularly up north are mild and warm in the summer, so a 2 season light-weight bag would be best. However, unless you have a shed full of hiking gear, you probably only have the one bag that you use for all adventures, so if this is the case, it'll have to do.

Rain Jacket:
Waterproof Jacket
The usual story here – a light weight, waterproof jacket is essential for any hiking trip, no matter what the forecast.

Clothing includingthermals:
Yes, I still recommend you pack at least one pair of thermals, even if only to wear in the evenings. Also you'll want some good, quick dry, breathable clothing as you'll likely be working up a sweat. A pair of bathers
Bathers / Togs / Swimwear
(aka togs or swim wear) would be beneficial on this track as the waters can be very enticing. A good sun cap would be handy too. Bring at least one heavy, warm top for the evenings.

Camping stove, cooking and eating utensils: You'll be cooking in the hut, so a light-weight butane gas burner
Butane Gas Burner/Stove
will be perfect (rather than the kerosene style
Kerosene/Liquid Fuel Stove
more commonly used at altitude or in freezing conditions). You'll obviously need at least one pot
Cooking Pot
, a pocket knife
Pocket Knife
, fork and spoon
Fork and Spoon
– don't bother with a 'spork'
– they're gimmicks if you ask me.

Lighter and matches in a little container:
Lighter/Matches in a Waterproof Container
Borrowing a lighter from someone else in the hut will hardly set you in good stead for the rest of the night!

Digital Camera
Do a quick Google Image search for 'Abel Tasman National Park' and you'll see why a camera is crucial on this Great Walk!

First Aid Kit:
Personal First Aid Kit
Again, because this would not really be considered as remote, you don't need to go overboard. But still pack some pain killers, basic bandages, strapping tape, sun cream and hayfever tablets. Toiletries
Personal Toiletries
could also be included here.

Food: Click here for a few ideas on what to bring.

Some final things to consider: Mobile phone coverage is poor, so leave it in your car. It isn't really necessary to take a personal locator beacon on this adventure (unless of course you have one handy) as you'll be found pretty quickly, unless you stray far off the track. But definitely, as always, let the Department of Conservation know of your intentions – how long you plan to spend in the park and how many people you are with.
Make sure you get a tidal chart and plan your hiking distances around the two estuaries that are only passable at low tide. Consider bringing a travel towel
Travel Towel
too, so you can wash off after a warm, hot day's hiking.

Trip Reviews

  •   4.60 out of 5 (from 1887 reviews)

    Amazing Trip

    This trip was amazing - the hikes took us to beautiful vistas, the guides were knowledgeable and fun, and the food was never in short supply ("Food is Fuel!" as one of our guides kept restating).

    Koru and Kim were great guides throughout and everyone had so much fun! I was traveling solo but 2 of the other 4 on my trip were as well, so nobody was ever left out! Having such a small group made the activities much easier to enjoy.

    The hikes, like I mentioned, were truly unbelievable, though somewhat more difficult than I expected. Everything was talked as 'full-on' or by time, but know that NZ hikes are up mountains then back down, so work on hills more than distance before you go! Even some of the small walks we did (Blue Pools, only 5 minutes from the road & the Chasm, 10 minutes from the road) were breathtaking. Kayaking the Milford Sound was another once in a lifetime experience we got to have on this trip.

    The only thing I would have liked (and got jokingly by the end of the trip) were straight communication prior to the hikes about how long they were updates mid-hike about how much longer/further. There was one day with miscommunications leading me to think the hike would be another 3+ hours uphill (nearly inducing panic) but was really only 30 more minutes.

    Overall, I really loved this trip!
    Taylor Ceithaml Review Image
    – California, United States
    Tui, November 2016
  •   4.48 out of 5 (from 298 reviews)

    Weka - New Zealand

    Wow!! What a trip! This hiking & biking tour was breath-taking both figuratively and literally. Our guides made our adventure challenging, yet fun. They were knowledgeable, encouraging and you could tell they are truly passionate about what they do. This tour captured all the great highlights of New Zealand staying just off the beaten path so we could really experience the diverse beauty and savory tastes of the island. Our group enjoyed ourselves so much we are already discussing another Active Adventure trip in 2019. Thank you Active Adventures for a wonderful experience!
    Sue Stohrer Review Image
    – California, United States
    Weka, March 2018
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 4983 reviews)

    Rimu - South Island

    Great trip, full of discoveries away from big city centers, the kind of adventure nature lovers will appreciate to the fullest. We had a great two weeks of travelling through the real NZ landscaping natural beauty and 14 days is not enough to see or do everything. We enjoyed hiking, kayaking, biking, swimming in pristine water, caving, always surrounded by super guides who made us feel in goods hands at all time.
    Claude Remy Review Image
    – Ontario, Canada
    Rimu, December 2017
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 4983 reviews)

    Experience of a Lifetime!

    Active Adventures was an incredible trip. We had two excellent and knowledgeable guides that were a real team and complemented themselves very well--plus the meals they prepared were awesome. They REALLY made our trip special! There were so many new activities for me that I had never done before that I can't even pick a favorite--I loved them all. New Zealand is a beautiful country, and your well thought out itinerary certainly allowed us to see and experience it in unique ways--hiking, cycling, kayaking, wine tasting, etc. Celebrating my 66th birthday with champagne and fresh strawberries after hiking up Searly Tarn trail was a birthday I will truly never forget! Thank you Active Adventures!
    Stephanie Nelsen Review Image
    – Michigan, United States
    Rimu, November 2016
  •   4.38 out of 5 (from 1211 reviews)

    Excellent way to see New Zealand

    My husband and I went on the Kauri trip in November 2017. This trip had been on our bucket list for a while and we decided to go with Active Adventures as they were offering the type of travel and activities we wanted to do in New Zealand. Our two awesome guides, Andy (encyclopedia of knowledge) and Jo (excellent cook) made us feel at home and have shown us the beautiful country of NZ while ensuring everyone had fun. We had an amazing time on the North Island and I highly recommend this trip if you enjoy outdoor activities.
    Claire Barrette-Remy Review Image
    – Ontario, Canada
    Kauri, December 2017



Why travel with Active Adventures?

Above all, we aim to be amazing hosts. We're proud of our kiwi roots, and our professional, warm and relaxed style of running trips around the world is unforgettable.

We're VERY picky about who we select to work in our team, and we have people from all over the world lining up to guide our trips. So we get to hire the absolute BEST in the business.

As soon as you get off the plane, we've got all the details of your vacation covered – top notch meals, comfortable transport & accommodation, amazing guides and INCREDIBLE service.

Whether you’re new to adventure travel, or you’ve never travelled in a group before, you’ll find yourself arriving home positively different from when you left.

With our small groups (no more than 14), you'll get to know our team, your fellow travellers, and have the flexibility and freedom to do as much (or as little!) as you like.

It's all about getting there under your own steam – on foot, in a sea kayak, or by bike. What better way is there to experience mind blowing scenery? If it's your first time, no worries – our expert guides have got you covered.

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