Tourism operators collaborate to connect Nelson city and Abel Tasman National Park with a new, Better Bus service

Tourism operators collaborate to connect Nelson city and Abel Tasman National Park with a new, Better Bus service

Written by Charlotte Lang

Posted on Wednesday 14 December 2022

A new initiative, the Better Bus has been launched by a collective of Abel Tasman Operators, led by Wine, Art and Wilderness, with the support of the Nelson Regional Development Agency (NRDA).

The Better Bus aims to drastically reduce the carbon footprint created by multiple operators having to run their own vehicles to link the region to the Abel Tasman National Park and the park’s southern access points of Kaiteriteri and Mārahau; and closes the public transport gap between Nelson City and the Abel Tasman.

Along with reducing transmissions across each company and improving road transport and accessibility to the region’s most popular summer destination, this unique collaboration will help operators manage staffing efficiencies during the busiest season of the year, and at a time when labour shortages are high.

“The Better Bus has been overwhelmingly popular in its first month of running. It’s a valuable offering to the region and is already in high demand by tourism operators, accommodation providers, through word of mouth across the region. Last week we saw 9 operators utilise the service, in one day, and we have this week added a second return trip service, as well as a link between Mārahau & Kaiteriteri!” says initiative lead Zane Kennedy from Wine, Art & Wilderness. “We are so grateful for the support from NRDA and the contribution by Wilsons Abel Tasman, and Aqua Taxi (Alborn Enterprises) to help get this idea off the ground through their input into the consultation and set up phase, and the use of their vehicles to facilitate the service.”

“Operators involved are passionate about reducing their carbon footprint to help protect our environment and giving visitors an even better experience while here in Nelson Tasman.” says Fiona Wilson, Chief Executive of NRDA. “It makes sense for the environment, and the businesses involved. This collaboration broadens the scope of the region’s Zero Carbon itineraries by providing an everyday Climate Positive transport option between Nelson, Richmond, Motueka & Abel Tasman National Park; and further supports the work our region is doing to follow the path set from the Te Tauihu Intergenerational Strategy, to be good ancestors.”

The Better Bus has a clear goal to at least halve the number of vehicle movements between Nelson and the Abel Tasman National Park this summer. Currently, the footprint that is created by the daily journeys is offset by Wine, Art & Wilderness (a Climate Positive Business), meaning that there is as little impact on the environment as possible ahead of moving to a zero-emissions fleet. Wine, Art & Wilderness are also actively investigating alternative transport options such as hybrid, electric, even hydrogen vehicles to further reduce the impact to the environment as part of their efforts to move towards having a zero-emissions Better Bus fleet in 2-3 years.

Since soft launching in November, ten Abel Tasman based activity providers have already used this service, including: Wilsons Abel Tasman, Abel Tasman Aqua Taxi, Abel Tasman Kayaks, Abel Tasman Canyons, R&R Kayaks, Kahu Kayaks, Wine, Art & Wilderness, Abel Tasman Centre, Abel Tasman Sailing Adventures, Abel Tasman Charters. The initiative has also seen excellent support from i-SITE Motueka, YHA Nelson, Adventure Inn Marahau, The Barn Marahau, Kaiteriteri Recreation Reserve and several other accommodation providers; demonstrating the power of community in Nelson Tasman amongst the Visitor Sector.

Visitors (or locals) can book this service through their accommodation, or their Abel Tasman activity provider, or by emailing

A website with booking portal is currently in construction, for