Trips to Abel Tasman National Park from a Nelson heritage Guest House - Maps
However, in the summer months*, undoubtedly the nicest way to travel was by fast catamaran so that your marine adventure started right away.
Day trips by sea
Unfortunately the catamaran that used to take our Guests across Tasman Bay to start our "Scud and Stroll" whole day trip was withdrawn from service in 2014:
Some of the text in the section below is kept only for historial reasons and is now out of date. You used to be able to
- be picked up from our place at 07:40hrs (after a specially early cooked breakfast at 07:29hrs) and heading for Wakefield Quay to board your fast aluminium catamaran that has been purpose-built for the Tasman Bay crossing*
- then take less than an hour to zip across Tasman Bay, if you're lucky, delighting the dolphins with a really fast bow wave to surf on. [Since the Crusader is a good sea keeper in all weathers, usually the only delay is if Orca are sighted when the law (and your fellow sightsee-ers) demand the engines are throttled back]
- gloat as some poor passengers are then dropped off at Kaiteriteri (and, possibly, Marahau) and you then cruise almost the whole length of the Abel Tasman National Park's coast to Totaranui viewing seals and the lush coastline along the way
- be delighted to see that from Totaranui, the boat then takes you for individual visits to Awaroa and Tonga Bays before you disembark the cat at Medland Bay at 11.30hrs so that you can enjoy the best walk in the Park (unguided)
- see lush native bush, beautiful golden beaches, hear the mellifluous native birdsong and cross the 47 metre long swingbridge at Falls River during your stroll in the park. If you're fit and making good time, from Torrent Bay estuary, a 20-minute walk leads up a stream bed of large boulders to Cleopatra's Pool
- end your stroll at Anchorage Bay, in time for your 15.45hrs pick-up using a hydraulic front bow ramp and then return via Kaiteriteri and hence home to Wakefield Quay in Nelson
- be collected from Wakefield Quay and returned to us at Amber House in time for tea - usually about 17:55hrs
This option allows you to see the Abel Tasman National Park coast and walk the best part of the Abel Tasman Great Walk.
Our price of $130 per person (return) includes all land and sea transportation, taxes and National Park fees together with the packed lunch that you would like to eat (please tell us when you book what sandwiches and fruit and drinks would please you).
Children aged 5 to 14 years old are $75 and the track is comfortable walking.
Bring insect repellent (for the Sandflies to drink when you stop walking), sun block and sunglasses, a hat, swimming togs and towel in a light day pack.
*1st December to 31st March During other months or during times when Tasman Bay is too rough or during ship maintenance periods we supplied a coach or van to join your scudding cruise at Kaiteriteri. That coach option is now the noorm throughout the year.
Why not drive yourself to the Abel Tasman National Park and save a few bucks?
There is only one road access into the Abel Tasman National Park from the South or East and it terminates at Marahau. The thieves know that there is a
good chance that a rental car parked there (or from where the water taxis leave at Kaiteriteri) will have occupants that won't return for quite a while and
that those occupants may be reluctant to carry their heavy valuables on the track. Unfortunately, even if you have not left anything in your vehicle for
thieves to steal, you will still be faced with the expense and inconvenience of a smashed window or jemmied boot (trunk) lid when you return.
It is for this very reason that our advice contradicts that of the police: in a rental car you should remove all valuables (including the radio) from the car and then leave the doors unlocked with the windows closed. Leave the empty glovebox open so the thieves can see that there is nothing to steal.
The Nelson Tasman police district has the lowest crime rate in New Zealand, but burglaries and thefts still occur. Too frequently thieves target the larger motels and camp grounds because they can mingle unobserved and unremarked in the throng. They know that windows will be left open in hot weather (because few Motueka, Richmond or Nelson motels have air conditioning like Amber House) and that visitors often carry high value items like video cameras, jewellery and laptops.
The Amber family is still permanently resident in Amber House and have never had a theft or burglary. Since we don't book more than four guests into our own home at one time, all comings and goings are noted. We don't advertise our guests as a target by being included in printed directories. We record the names, phone numbers and permanent addresses of all our guests and check photographic ID if they have not stayed with us before. We want to keep our children very safe and an agreable by product of that caution is less risk for you.
The hydraulic bow ramp begins to extend as
the "Scud and Stroll" catamaran approaches
The unique hydraulic extending bow ramp on
our "Scud and Stroll" catamaran means you
don't get your feet wet as you disembark!
There is a well stocked galley on board where both
hot and cold drinks are available together with
There are two comfortable unisex toilets on board
which are kept clean by the three crew throughout
All long distance coaches and the shuttle buses to the Abel Tasman National Park stop right outside Amber House Bed and Breakfast (BandB) Guest House.
Wilsons Abel Tasman Experience will typically drop off your water-resistant "Lodge Bag" with us before you arrive so it's then ready and waiting for you to pack. They, along with most other tour and guiding firms, usually collect you from our breakfast room - so you can lie in a bit longer for your trip to the Abel Tasman National Park or paragliding that day...
Keep your Bikes and Kayaks securely in our garage. We grow many of our own vegetables organically in the sunniest place in New Zealand. All water is filtered for low chlorine drinking and bathing and is naturally soft.
We do not allow smoking anywhere on our land because we have children at primary school. We are not a motel or inn and do not have a reception desk staffed round the clock, so you will need to advise us of your estimated time of arrival at our Abel Tasman accommodation when you book (and again if that estimate subsequently changes) so that you can be sure we'll be at home to welcome you to your lodgings.
Anne and Adam Amber were both born and raised in Nelson and would very much enjoy giving you tips on how to get the best out of your stay in the Abel Tasman National Park...
Obviously and if you can afford it, the ideal Abel Tasman lodgings are right on the beach front within the boundaries of Abel Tasman National Park itself.
Some folks then make the mistake of thinking that accommodation in Richmond or even lodging in outlying areas like Upper Moutere would be preferable since
they look a tad closer to an Abel Tasman National Park boundary than Nelson city centre.
We'd like to explain why that isn't always true:
- Security - digital safes and secure parking
- Convenience - Abel Tasman shuttle bus, kayak and quay transports collect you directly from our dining room after a satisfying breakfast and return you in time for tea
- Comfort - air conditioned and double glazed rooms with orthopaedic mattresses assure a restful night
- Local knowledge - Anne and Adam are both born and bred in Nelson
- Value for money - sometimes less than half the price of our competitors. If you ever think you've found better value phone me, Adam Amber and tell me where!
- Shopping - potteries, glass blowers, craft workshops and boutiques are just a short stroll
- Night life - 30 different restaurants and pubs are less than 12 minutes walk away
If you choose a Motel in Richmond just because you think it may save a few minutes off the road trip, just ponder how many extra minutes you'll spend with the car rental damage and insurance forms?
Much better to leave your valuables in your secure digital room safe at Amber House and/or your car in our secure parking while an experienced local National Park shuttle bus driver collects you from Amber House's dining room and leaves you safely right at the start of the track!
During the summer months, for a one way price of $22 per person, we can arrange for you to be collected from our dining room at 07:45hrs and travel by purpose built catamaran across Tasman Bay to the great beach at Kaiteriteri where sea shuttles and water taxis are available to all parts of the Abel Tasman National Park. The return journey is the same price and will usually have you back with us by 17:30hrs and with a good chance of seeing dolphins (and the occasional orca) en route.
That way you can enjoy some drinks along the way and at the end of your adventure as well without the anxiety of being stopped by the police and breathalyzed...
Amber House is just six minutes walk from the wonderfully informative and helpful government Department of Conservation (DoC) visitor centre where you can book your campsite and buy the Abel Tasman N.P. Great Walks pass that you must carry and exhibit on demand while tramping overnight in the Abel Tasman National Park. They also have the best selection of maps and guidebooks in the entire region.
All rooms have direct dial DECT cordless phones and hairdryers.
All our rooms have en-suite facilities. Our Blue, Gold and Rose Rooms, together with the Balcony Suite are air-conditioned with reverse cycle heat pumps providing rapid room heating in winter.
Our Balcony Suite, Blue, Gold and Green Rooms also have German manufactured, uPVC double glazing by Koemmerling (with argon gas filling the 16mm gap) for extra sound proofing (and low emissivity glass) to reduce our carbon footprint.
Balcony Suite, Gold Room and Blue Room guests can watch channels and programs on High Definition LCD screens via our satellite receivers that are simply not available in New Zealand on terrestrial channels or Sky.
Both Anne and Adam were born and raised right here in Nelson. Our Irish and Scots relatives were some of the first European settlers in Nelson and arrived on the barque Bombay on Friday, 12th December 1842.
Our pacific island and Māori relatives arrived six hundred years and more before that.
New Zealand in general, and Nelson in particular, has excellent value Motels and many of them have kitchenettes where you can
prepare your own meals
and some of them also have swimming pools.
We have no pool - but with the fabulous Tahunanui beach close to us, who wants to suck chlorine?
We will cook for you. Even if you value our breakfasts at $5 less than the going rate we still beat all of Nelson's Motel prices - and they don't offer air-conditioning or a laundry service like we do.
All our prices are fully inclusive of breakfast, applicable taxes and service charges.
If you ever think you've found better value in Nelson's city centre or with convenient access to the Abel Tasman National Park, please let us know immediately because, like John Lewis, we are never knowingly undersold!
It may sound like heresy to say it, but there may come a time in your holiday when you will appreciate a bit of retail therapy. Nelson's Saturday morning market is rightly famous throughout New Zealand. Whether it's an organic fijoa or a model airplane built from a Steinlager can, nobody ever comes away unhappy from Montgomery Square.
Nelson city is just big enough to have all the facilities you need while preserving small town friendliness and helpfulness. Because it is such a pleasant place to stay, many artists, musicians and other creative people have settled in the South Island's first city - how many other towns of a similar size to Nelson can boast their very own Symphony Orchestra?
If you're billetted in sleepy little Richmond, Motueka or bored stiff in Mapua or Upper Moutere the taxi fare to Nelson's nightlife might prove prohibitive.
However, if you made the sensible decision to stay at Amber House in Nelson's city centre, even if you've got blisters from dancing the night away, you'll still be able to stagger the three streets back to Amber House without even stopping to look for a cab.