• Faqs

    Frequently Asked Questions

When planning a trip there are always a few questions. The following FAQ’s are the ones we get asked most often. If you have any others please feel free to contact us.

  • What do I wear?

    You’re bound to get wet when kayaking, we recommend wearing quick drying clothes to paddle in. Shorts, t-shirt (long sleeves are preferable), warm top (wool/fleece) are ideal. Please do not wear jeans. On your trip confirmation you will see a full list of what to bring or check our generic checklist.

  • What is your bus timetable and where do you pick up from?

    The bus timetable for Nelson or Motueka can be found here. We can offer transport for Seal Sanctuary departures but please note that our bus leaves once a day from Nelson and returns once a day from Marahau.  We can also do private transfers, please contact us for more information.

  • Are there any risks I need to be aware of?

    Risk Disclosure

    In any outdoor adventure activity, participants are exposed to variations in weather conditions and therefore there is an element of risk involved. Risks in undertaking this water-based activity include but are not limited to; Personal Injury (seasickness, heat stroke, hypothermia, drowning), Natural Weather Events (Flooding, Fire, Earthquake, Tsunami), and Property Damage (water damage /salt water submersion).  Abel Tasman Kayaks mitigate this risk through thorough preparation and adherence to a detailed Risk Identification and Management System. This includes providing you with the necessary information, training and safety equipment to participate in our activities. You are personally responsible for listening to our directions, adhering to our advice, and making responsible decisions to keep yourself safe. Additionally, we reserve the right to modify, alter, or cancel activities at any given time if we feel your safety or the safety of others may be compromised.

  • Cancellation policy

    Our full cancellation policy can be found here.

  • What is the minimum age for guided kayaking?

    Guided customers need to be 12+. Under the age of 18  you need to be accompanied by an adult for all tours excluding Split Apple Classic. The age for Split Apple Classic Guided is 8+ and anyone under the age of 18 needs to be accompanied by an adult.

  • Is food included on our tour?

    Lunch is included on all our guided tours except the Split Apple Classic. It is one of the great reasons to go on a trip with Abel Tasman Kayaks. Summer lunches are a freshly baked roll filled with local produce, a sweet snack, fruit, fresh plunger coffee and local juice.  In winter we offer hot seasonal soup, home made bread rolls, fresh plunger coffee and local juice. Vegetarian and dietary requirements can be catered for, please ask at time of booking. Two, Three & Five Day Classic’s & Source to Sea are fully catered. Two Day & Three Day Tiki Tour trips require some catering by you. Check out the trip description to see what meals are required.    

  • Custom Holidays

    If you have explored our site you will see we have a broad range of options from half day trips through to five day trips. All of these trips can be modified to meet your individual needs.  Fill out this form below and we’ll help plan and book the perfect trip for you

  • What additional measures have you put in place?

    On Saturday 21 March 2020 Abel Tasman Kayaks felt it was our social responsibility to support the broader societal efforts to slow down the spread of the Corona Virus and closed before the New Zealand Government alert levels were in place. It was the first time in our history we had closed the doors. This decision was deliberate and made from care for members of our communities who are more vulnerable to the grave impacts of this virus, and to keep our customers, staff and extended families safe. The health and safety of people lied at the heart of this decision and we will continue to have that as our guiding principal during the Covid19 situation.

    • We encourage you to book online to limit contact with office staff.
    • Pay wave installed for those paying in the office.
    • Additional hand sanitiser available in the office and base.
    • Staff will not come to work if they have been requested to self-isolate/quarantine, or have symptoms of COVID-19, or are awaiting COVID-19 test results.
    • We will continue to adhere to the Ministry of Health www.health.govt.nz guidelines and adjust as and when required. 
  • Are you operating your normal range of trips and services?

    Yes we are operating all our services.


  • What is your cancellation policy for Covid-19 disruptions?

    Our standard cancellation policy applies, however if the New Zealand Government mandates a national or localised lockdown or you have covid and are required to self-isolate/quarantine, you have symptoms of COVID-19, or are awaiting COVID-19 test result you will receive a full refund excluding any accommodation costs incurred or you can transfer your trip to another date with no fees applied.


  • What is the minimum age for renting a kayak?

    Rental customers need to be 14+ and anyone under the age of 18 needs to be accompanied by an adult.

  • Do I need hiking boots?

    For walking the track, firm footwear is required, but boots are not essential, walking sandals or sports shoes are fine.

  • Where can we get drinking water?

    Filtered drinking water is available at : our base, Anchorage, Bark Bay, Awaroa, Totaranaui and Whariwharangi. All campsites have water; however, this water must be boiled or treated. Water in the camp sites is piped from streams and is unsafe for consumption. Use only safe water (e.g. boiled, treated, filtered) for drinking, brushing teeth etc. In this regard Giardia is the main concern.

  • Can I buy food and drink in the Abel Tasman National Park?

    If your trip requires you to bring your own food we recommend purchasing this before you get to Marahau. We do sell a few small snack items and drinks. There is a small store in Marahau but the nearest supermarket is in Motueka.  Check your confirmation or trip description to see the food requirements for the tour you have selected. Food suggestions can also be found here.

  • What do I do with my rubbish?

    You must pack out all your rubbish. There are no rubbish disposal facilities in the park.

  • Can I light a campfire in the park?

    There is a fire ban in the park, other than at designated sites. At certain times of the year a total fire ban may apply.

  • What is the weather like?

    Normally the weather in the Abel Tasman National Park is warm and sunny. The average summer temperature is 24 C (75 F), minimum temperature 13C (55F) and water temperature 18C (65F). During the cooler winter months the average daily maximum is 12C (54F), minimum temperature is 4C (39F), and the water is 14C (58F). Winds can occur during any time of the year, and can affect kayaking itineraries and timing. Autumn and early winter are generally calmer.

    Current weather and forward forecasts can be viewed:

    NIWA National Park forecast

    Abel Tasman coastal forecast

    Short forecast for Abel Tasman area

  • Are there any poisonous insects?

    Sandflies are one of the nasties in the park. It is a small native insect which has an irritating bite. The use of insect repellent will ensure these insects do not annoy or bug you! Mosquitoes can also be a nuisance. Mosquitoes do not carry malaria in NZ. During the summer months, wasps and bees can be a problem, and are attracted to food, and may bite/sting if disturbed. If you are allergic, take medication with you (antihistamines). Please inform DoC staff of any wasp nests close to the track or camp sites.

  • Further information on the Abel Tasman National Park can be found at the following sites:
  • What do I need to bring

    On each tour or your email confirmation is a list of what to bring or check our generic checklist

  • Are there toilets in the park?

    Yes, these are regularly cleaned and restocked with paper by park staff.

  • Is food included?

    All kayak rentals & kayak & walk rentals are self catered (unless you have opted to add lunch for day 1 at time of booking) the trip description provides suggestions of meals. Be sure to bring enough food for your whole journey, food tips can be found here. We recommend purchasing this before you get to Marahau. Make sure you bring plenty of fresh water with you. Filtered water is available at our base and hut sites, untreated water is available at the campsites.  


  • Flying into Nelson

    We recommend if your flying into Nelson to fly in the night before and book a return flight after 7 pm.

    We can arrange a private shuttle from/to the airport. Please contact us for pricing.

  • Is transport included in the price of the trip?

    We have a small charge for transport $70 return from Nelson & $30 return from Motueka.  Bus times and locations for Nelson or Motueka can be found here

  • If I am on my own can I rent a kayak?

    It’s possible to join a guided trip if you’re a solo traveller. We will pair you with another guest or a guide. No rentals are available to solo kayakers due to safety.

  • Can I take my camera or phone?

    Yes, we have camera cases to keep cameras dry.

  • Do you use double or single kayaks?

    We use double kayaks on all our guided tours. If you are an odd number booking a rental then one of you will be in a single and the rest in doubles. 

  • Do I need any previous kayaking experience to rent a kayak?

    While past kayaking experience is desirable, a reasonable level of camping and outdoor skills and water confidence is essential. Before you go out on a kayaking trip you are briefed by a qualified sea kayak guide who is very familiar with the park and will provide you with information about places to go, how far you are likely to get in the time you have and information on safety, weather and sea conditions.

  • How fit do I have to be?

    An average level of fitness is required for kayaking trips. Guides instruct clients on easy ways to paddle and you will rapidly develop your skills.

  • Are there any height and weight restrictions?

    Weight restrictions is a hard query because it has a lot to do with where the weight is on the body and your height . Econizh kayak cockpits are 41cm wide at their widest, Sea bear kayaks are 47cm wide, if you are larger than this at the bottom / hip area you will be unable to kayak. Most people are able to kayak, but if you’d like to double check please give us a call to discuss.

    Height, if you are taller than 6ft 3″ (188cm) you will struggle to get into an Econizh kayak. If you are taller than 6ft 7″ (198cm) you may not fit in a kayak at all and you WILL need to try a kayak before you commence your trip. Please chat with staff to discuss so we can advise appropriately.


  • Can I go kayaking if I get sea-sick?

    If you are prone to sea sickness then please take your medication as recommended.

  • Can I go if I’m pregnant?

    It may be possible to kayak if you’re pregnant.  Please call us directly to discuss on 03 527 8022.

  • Where and what time do I check in?

    Check-in is at Abel Tasman Kayaks 273 Sandybay-Marahau Rd, Marahau

    Check in time is seasonal, generally Summer (1 Sept – 30 Apr)  8.15 am  & Winter (1 May – 31 Aug) 9.00 am check-in. Please check your confirmation email or the trip itinerary as some trips do start later.

  • Can I go if I’ve got my period?

    Yes you can but please bring a bag (gladbag or similar) to pack out used sanitary items. There is a basin or tap near all toilets for washing hands. All rubbish needs to be taken out as we operate in a national park.

  • What are your opening hours for booking?

    You can book online any time (up until 7am the day of travel). Our phone lines are open from 7:30am – 8.00pm +64 3 527 8022 and our office at 273 Sandybay Marahau Rd from 8am – 5pm.

  • How far in advance do you recommend booking?

    We recommend booking ahead especially over Dec, Jan & Feb. We have live availability online.

  • Do you operate every day?

    We operate tours everyday except Christmas Day (25 Dec). We operate our trips seasonally, please check the open dates by the trip description.

  • What if I’m not a strong swimmer?

    If you are worried about swimming we suggest you choose a guided tour. Strong swimming skills are not essential for rentals, but we recommend you let your instructor know if you are not a confident swimmer.  

  • How much gear/equipment can we store in our kayaks for an overnight trip?

    You can easily fit the equivalent of approximately two large packs full of equipment in the dry storage areas of a double sea kayak. This needs to be put inside large plastic bags to fit into the hatches. Check out our video on tips for packing your kayak.

  • Do you hire camping gear?

    Yes, from gas bottles to a full set of gear. It can be booked online at time of booking or over the phone a full list can be found here. These items are subject to availability.

  • What time do trips finish?

    Check the trip itinerary for finish times. As a general rule summer (1 Oct – 30 Apr) full day guided tours return by 4.30 pm and winter (1 May – 30 Sept) by 4.00 pm. Rentals are due back at our base by 4:00 pm in the summer and 3:30 pm in the winter. This is for operational and safety reasons.

  • How many people go on a guided trip?

    We have a maximum ratio of 1 guide and up to 10 clients.

  • Can we store our vehicle or extra luggage while we are out in the park?

    We provide free storage of vehicles and extra luggage at our base.

  • Do we go if it’s raining?

    Yes, bring along a rain jacket and an extra warm (wool/fleece) layer of clothing. Marine life is more active on rainy days.

  • When would Abel Tasman Kayaks cancel a trip?

    Safety first. Our policy is not to launch a trip on safety grounds if we consider that the wind and sea conditions are unsafe for the group. This is our decision. In this situation we give a full refund please see our cancellation policy.

What our customers say

Gorgeous country, coast, trail, weather. Does not get much better than this. Just the right amount of trail time.


Originally I sighed up for a different longer Abel Tasman day tour but on the day of the tour the weather was changing and the wind was picking up, so I was offered a shorter kayaking and walking. And think it was thoughtful and responsible on the part of Abel Tasman Kayak company. The waters for sea kayaking was already pretty rough. Abel Tasman Kayak does a great job on... read more


My wife and I just returned from a 2 day trip with ATK - we started our adventure in Marahau and took a 40 minute water taxi up the coast to Awaroa. We’d have loved to do the 3 day trip which covers the same coastline but includes a few nature walks a however, we were NOT disappointed by the truncated experience. We were paired off with one other... read more

Tim R

We booked the half day kayak tour to Observation Beach and everything was fantastic. Our guide Darryl was great- super knowledgeable about the area, funny and full of stories. We saw loads of sea lions, birds, golden beaches, sea caves and had fun exploring the coastline. Had a relaxing snack and tea/coffee on the beach before continuing on our self-guided trip back down the Abel Tasman track to Motueka. The... read more


3 day immersion at the Abel Tasman ,saw lots of seals and surrounded always by pristine park
Was a group tour
Guide super helpful with kayaks and paddling was enjoyable with a min to mod fitness level of middle aged person


We did the 3 day classic guided kayak trip. From the first contact with the company through to when we said our last goodbyes, Abel Tasman Kayaks were fantastic. Our guide, Awatea was amazing, whipping up fabulous meals at each lunch and overnight stop. He was an experienced guide, coaching us through a couple of more exciting sections on the route and we always felt safe and... read more



Many of our trips conclude at Anchorage by the end of the day. 🌅🚣‍♂️ its also a great place to spend a night in the park.
Exploring the park on your own.
Split Apple Rock is just around the corner from our base, waiting to be explored.
This is one of our favorite photos ever! 📸❤️
Whether you're a seasoned kayaker or a first-timer, we make sure the paddling is easy and fun for everyone!
Only 6 months to the longest day!  Bring on Summer!
One of our team members demonstrating the correct use of a dry bag. 📸 Cameras are welcome on all our trips, so you can capture every moment!
Awaroa is one of the many stunning beaches we launch our kayak trips from, situated right on the edge of the Tonga Island Marine Reserve. 🚣‍♂️
It may be the smallest national park, but it's got a lot of coastline to explore. ❤️ the Abel Tasman National Park.