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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

  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 16032 reviews)

    Rimu Rocks!

    The trip was awesome! I met a great bunch of fellow travelers and now have family in New Zealand in Jackie and Emma! I felt like we saw a lot of the South Island in 2 weeks. I loved my first experience in New Zealand and plan on coming back in 2020!
    Terry McNamara Review Image
    – Michigan, United States
    Rimu, January 2018
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 16032 reviews)

    Trip of a Lifetime!

    I am still basking in the glow from this remarkable trip! I admit that I was a bit nervous at first as I was the oldest person in our group and not as fit (for hiking) as some in the group, so I worried about 'keeping up' on the hikes - especially the steeper climbs. Ben and Lauren were very reassuring and encouraging and I felt that I was able to 'hold my own'. In fact, while the hiking was probably the most challenging I've done in at least 7 years, it was the most rewarding/exhilarating part for me. I loved our group - a very positive, health-conscious and fun group of people from all walks of life. It was also wonderful that we were only 12 people - it helped to create a much more intimate and personal atmosphere. I felt we bonded together well - again, thanks to Ben and Lauren's great skills with ice-breaking, fun games, and ability to set and maintain a positive atmosphere from the beginning.
    From the moment we set off from the airport to the emotional farewells back at the airport at the end of the trip, this was a top notch adventure. Our transportation was comfortable, our accommodations were always different and unique and very comfortable - I loved that they weren't all in your standard hotel and that some of them were really off the beaten track. The food was amazing - from the snack basket in the van, loaded fresh every day with fruit and other snacks, to the amazing meals that Lauren and Ben created and the breakfasts and dinners that we had at various restaurants - there was a lot of variety, special dietary considerations were accounted for and there was lots of it!
    I did the kayak option and it was outstanding. The B&B and our hosts were wonderful (the hot tub at the end of the day was most appealing!) and our kayak guide, Nick was terrific - very accommodating, skilled and he made it all very interesting and fun!
    I cannot say enough about our incredible guides - Ben and Lauren - they truly moved the bar for me from a great trip to one that will go down in history for me as the trip of a lifetime. They were so knowledgeable about the island - I loved listening to the legends/folklore and learning more about the vegetation, birds, etc. Ben was a terrific driver - I always felt safe. Lauren was terrific with her cooking and meal presentations - meals looked fantastic and tasted even better! Both Ben and Lauren added those special touches from decorating the bus for the Christmas season, organizing our Secret Santa, making a fantastic Christmas morning breakfast, complete with Christmas crackers and special hats, managing extra logistics like re-booking the paragliding for us, setting up the helicopter tour, taking the time and effort to help reconnect people with items they had left behind either in our accommodations or on a hike/kayak. They even had the perfect music for when we went through the Homer Tunnel and down into Milford Sound - the combination of the music and the scenery was so moving it had several of us in tears! They really ensured that they got to know each person and took a genuine interest in each person. Their positive energy and enthusiasm was infectious. They took kindness and customer service to a new level! The scenery was breathtaking everywhere we went. It would be hard for me to say what the favourite part was or favourite view as the South Island is simply spectacular. I felt that the trip was organized in such a way that I really got a good feel and appreciation for the South Island. Truly New Zealand is one of the most beautiful places (both 'inside and out') that I have ever visited (and I've visited over 20 other countries around the world). I really loved the more laid-back way of life and the local people we met were so welcoming and kind. I would love to come back again and see the North Island but also re-visit the South Island!
    I highly recommend this trip and have already suggested it to a number of my friends. It really was transformational for me on so many levels! My heartfelt thanks to Ben and Lauren and everyone at Active Adventures!
    Sue Hazell Review Image
    – Ontario, Canada
    Rimu, January 2018
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 16032 reviews)


    Some call New Zealand home; I call it Heaven. Hiking, biking, kayaking - all with views of spectacular mountain ranges. Everything about this trip was wonderful. Now that I'm home, I'm wondering how I'll ever organize all of our photos.
    Valerie Ezrin Review Image
    – Maryland, United States
    Rimu, November 2017
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 16032 reviews)

    2017 Manuka Trip with Claire and Jess

    Awesome trip.....
    New Zealand is a beautiful country with plenty of great hikes and sights to see. Jess and Claire were fantastic guides. Would go again in a heartbeat!
    Paul Scopa Review Image
    – Massachusetts, United States
    Manuka, March 2017
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 16032 reviews)

    Joy Project; New Zealand's North Island

    The Tongariro Crossing was the highlight of my visit of the Northern Island. I felt as though we were trekking on another planet.

    Andrew and Claire shared their extensive knowledge of New Zealand’s culture, land, flora and fauna while offering great music on Dick, the bus and fabulous meals!

    I was asked about traveling to New Zealand alone. I explained I was not alone but traveling with twelve friends I had not met yet. This turned out to be factual.
    Lynn Marie
    Lynn Dulmage Review Image
    – Michigan, United States
    Kauri, August 2016



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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