Abel Tasman Lodge

Abel Tasman Lodge

What to Bring

What to Bring

Our guide to what to bring for your stay in the Abel Tasman

What to Bring

What do I bring for a walking or kayaking trip in the Abel Tasman National Park?
The Abel Tasman Coast Track is often described as one of the easiest walks or kayaks in a New Zealand national park. For this reason some people come underprepared or wear the wrong clothes and footwear.

While it is an easier track than many, and being right beside the coast makes the kayaking more predictable and manageable, it’s still an experience you need to be well prepared for.

We want to make sure you have the best possible experience in the park and come back to stay with us having had a great day out (and without blisters, insect bites and sunburn).

So here are our tips for what to bring to make your time here an enjoyable one.
What clothes are most suitable?
Make sure you bring clothes for a variety of temperatures. If it takes you longer to walk or kayak between bays or stops than you expect you might find you’re cooling off and need an extra layer. Most Kiwis take a layering approach so they can dress more warmly or get cooler when they need to if the weather changes.

Don’t forget that when you stop for lunch you may cool down quickly. Similarly if you’re walking in the shade or experiencing the track or bays during the autumn or winter it can get quite a bit cooler.

It’s worth wearing clothes that can dry more quickly if they get wet. So some quick dry shorts or pants that can be rolled up out of the way of water are great. Jeans don’t tend to be a good option for that reason.

A top that dries quickly is helpful and carrying a lightweight waterproof jacket is a good idea in case there’s a flurry of rain. A hat is essential as the New Zealand sun is harsh and you can find yourself with sunburn in as little as 10 minutes.

Wide-brimmed hats that cast shade on your neck and face are great and tend to be better than caps. Carrying a change of clothes in a day pack can be a good idea, particularly if you are multi-day tramping or kayaking.

There are a lot of specialist suppliers who make durable, lightweight clothing for tramping, walking and kayaking, and that kind of clothing can be a good option. But if you’re looking to buy just one new item to make your trip more comfortable nothing beats a good pair of socks.
What shoes are most suitable?
Make sure you’re wearing shoes that have some grip on the soles and aren’t going to slip on stones and tree roots as you’re walking along the track.

The track does include hills so you need to make sure your toes have enough room to move so that they don’t jam into the end of your shoes when you’re walking downhill.

Always wear in your shoes before you use them for a multi-hour walk to avoid getting blisters – and a good pair of socks is a must. If there has been rain recently the track may be muddy in places so be prepared for your footwear to get dirty – white shoes will probably not be white at the end of the day!

While you don’t need tramping boots they are always a good option if you can fit them in your luggage. Good sneakers or walking sandals will also work. We always strongly advise parents to make sure their kids have good shoes to walk in too – jandals (you may know them as flip-flops or thongs), gumboots, or light sandals won’t work well for a multi-hour walk in the Park and you might find you end up carrying a disgruntled and footsore small person.

Bring some water shoes if you have them. These are great for wearing in a kayak, although jandals will also work if it’s an all-day kayaking trip and you’re not doing any walking. Water shoes are also ideal for tidal crossings where you want to keep your walking shoes dry, but where it’s a bit rough underfoot if you have bare feet because of shells and rocky seabeds.
What extra items should I bring?
We get a lot of sunny weather here so it’s important to bring sunglasses and sunscreen. The sun can be unforgiving in New Zealand so if you’re sweating or having a swim don’t forget to reapply your sunscreen during the day.

Carry some water with you and make sure that you take the water bottle out of the Park with you at the end of the day. There are no rubbish bins in the Park so it’s important that everything we carry into the Park is carried out at the end of our trip.

Take a small day pack with enough food to keep you going for a busy day and a bit extra – walking and kayaking is great for creating an appetite. Insect repellent is needed and we have some good brands for sale here – some made from entirely natural ingredients and just as effective.

Take your swimming costume and a towel for the many lovely beaches you’ll see during your trip. If you need any medication then it’s a good idea to pack it, and a small first aid kit with plasters can come in handy. Lastly don’t forget your camera or phone (for taking photos not taking calls!).

You don’t need walking poles but some people do use them.

See below for all the info in a handy bullet point list if you’d like to print it out and check it off as you pack.

What to Bring Check List

Our exhaustive list of what to bring for day walking and kayaking in the Abel Tasman.

Bottom Half

  • Light comfortable walking shoes
  • Walking sandals are also a great option
  • Water shoes are great for crossing estuaries.

You don’t need walking boots, unless you prefer them.

Middle section

  • Shorts
  • Quick dry long pants (that you can roll up, if required).

Top Bit

  • T-shirt
  • Polypropylene or Merino top (for water taxi or just-in-case)
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat – wide-brimmed is better (if less stylish) than a cap.


  • Small day pack
  • Towel & Swimming costume (if you want to go swimming)
  • Insect repellent (we sell it here if easier)
  • Sunscreen (again we sell it if you don’t want to bring it with you)
  • Drinking bottle (no plastic) – we sell stylish options at the Lodge
  • Medication
  • Camera
  • Packed Lunch – we do lovely homemade options (including GF & DF options).

Walking poles are not required, but you can bring them if you prefer


  • Flip-flops (except if you are doing an all-day kayak trip)
  • Jeans

All day kayaking trips where there is no walking involved, you can take flip-flops as your footwear.

Free booking & information service

Let us take away any holiday hassle.

Use our local knowledge of the Abel Tasman National Park to help tailor and book your activities at no extra charge.

What’s more, if you book ahead, you don’t need to pay for any activity until you arrive.