A Food & Travel Blog

A Walk in the New Zealand Woods – Wilsons Abel Tasman National Park

04/09/2017 | By

Lambs’ Ears and The Bloke celebrate not being dead with a fantastic 3-day walking trip in New Zealand with Wilsons Abel Tasman.

NZ views - Wilsons Abel Tasman

It’s been a bit of a milestone birthday year in our house with our youngest turning 21 and The Bloke and I both celebrating ‘significant’ birthdays. The Bloke was first cab off the ranks for major life landmarks, so we celebrated still being alive by heading to New Zealand for a three day walk on a Wilsons Abel Tasman National Park walk. 

Hidden beaches Wilsons Abel Tasman

The fabulous views at Wilsons Abel Tasman

Wilsons Abel Tasman is a family-run business, operating just out of Nelson on the magnificent south island of New Zealand. It is within a designated New Zealand national park which covers a spectacular 225 square kilometre area. The coastal walk, which is one of New Zealand’s Dept of Conservation official Great Walks, is part of two parcels of beach front land on historic free-hold title, surrounded by the park, which is operated by the Wilson family. They have had family connections to the region for eight generations.

split apple rock Wilsons Abel Tasman

Split Apple Rock

Pond at Wilsons Abel Tasman

From their selection, we opted for the three day walk, which is fully catered. I may be getting older, but I haven’t completely lost my marbles, so any walk I’m putting my hand up for has to offer plenty in the way of soft options. Wilsons pick you up from your Nelson accommodation, transport your luggage from point to point, provide backpacks, snacks and lunch and greet the weary, but self-satisfied, hiker with local wine, a fabulous dinner and a comfortable bed in their beautifully appointed lodges at the end of each day.

Meadowbank Homestead Wilsons Abel Tasman

A cosy nook at Meadowbank Homestead – Awaroa

Dining room, Meadowbank - Wilsons Abel Tasman

Meadowbank dining room

Bedroom - Wilsons Abel Tasman

Meadowbank bedroom

The park is utterly glorious, with the added advantage for an Australian that there is absolutely nothing lurking in the bushes or on the ground that is going to kill you. The walking paths are well-constructed tracks and, while there were a couple of steep climbs, there is no scrambling over rocks – which makes the whole experience generally accessible for anyone of reasonable fitness.

Magical forest - Wilsons Abel Tasman

tree across track Wilsons Abel Tasman

Occasionally the track throws up a surprise – like this tree that had fallen across it and which we all had to crawl under.

Overcast skies at Wilsons Abel Tasman

The skies were gloomy, but we weren’t!

For us, the only downside was the weather – it began to rain first thing in the morning on our second day and just didn’t stop. Our kiwi cousins take this all in their stride. If they stayed inside because of rain they’d never get out at all, so they provide all the necessaries to keep us as dry as possible – which actually wasn’t very dry, really. While the weather wasn’t cold at all, it totally poured.

Threatening rain Wilsons Abel Tasman

Keen kayakers Wilsons Abel Tasman

Keen kayakers getting ready for a big, wet, day.

Our walk included a full day of kayaking on the open sea – not something I was up for, even with the promise of seeing lots of seals – but Wilsons Abel Tasman are flexible enough to work with varying preferences and skill sets, offering those of us who didn’t want to die on the open sea kayak a further walking option.

Entree Wilsons Abel Tasman

Salmon main course Wilsons Abel Tasman

Dessert Wilsons Abel Tasman

The guides are fabulous – warm, friendly, well trained and informed and totally sensitive to the needs of each individual in their walking groups. At the end of the day they turn their hand to hospitality, offering plenty of the wonderful local wines and generous meals featuring local produce. Wilsons Abel Tasman really offer the whole package – and an invigorating way to see their beautiful country.

One of the locals Wilsons Abel Tasman

One of the locals

Wilsons Abel Tasman three day package includes all transfers, wine, meals and accommodation. Cost per adult – $1470.

This IS NOT a sponsored post – all costs were independently paid for.


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  1. Lucy Hodgson

    Hi Amanda,
    Thank you for a great article, and great images. Really glad you enjoyed your trip, despite the weather.
    There is one detail that is important to clarify. The 225 sq kilometers of Abel Tasman National Park is part of the public estate managed by Department of Conservation.
    The Wilson family own and manage only two parcels of beach front land on historic free-hold title, surrounded by the public estate of the National Park. It is on this land that the family were able to build the two Lodges that host guests on their guided trips.

  2. Amanda

    Thanks for the clarification on that Lucy – I will edit to correct.

  3. Anna @ shenANNAgans

    Yep, walking trips in NZ are the business. Did a day walk through some of THE best views a few years ago & I’ve researched doing something like this too. Great to see how flexible they are and pretty affordable too huh, specially seeing it’s all fully catered and a comfy bed each evening, now that’s the thing!!!

  4. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella

    It’s always good to celebrate life or as you say, not being dead. NZ is so photogenic and beautfiful but yes the trade off is sometimes the weather.

  5. Mackay Sherry

    Oh this all looks so marvellous. Adore NZ. I do remember getting soaked to the skin and then some one wet day walking around the bush. But it’s part of the experience isn’t it? Happy birthday 🎉

  6. Krista Bjorn

    What a stunningly beautiful place. Just this week I was thinking about how much I want to return to New Zealand for hiking. Your pictures will keep me going until I can. 🙂