About Us

Every journey on a Marahau Water Taxi is a unique Kiwi experience.

Marahau Water Taxis has been family owned since 1986. Marahau Water Taxis provides water transportation services in the Abel Tasman National Park, all year round.

Locally owned

Every journey on a Marahau Water Taxi is a unique Kiwi experience.

This begins when you board a boat while it is still coupled to a tractor on dry land. The boat, with you on board, will be towed by tractor and launched at the boat ramp during high tide, or from the beach during low tides.

Your boat skipper will personally brief you on the journey, local ecology and the history of the area. These briefings are unscripted and from the heart, and every passenger interacts directly with the boat skipper. This provides us with flexibility to meet your specific requirements and interests whenever possible.

Our boats are purpose-built for the Abel Tasman coastline. This allows us to get close to the coastline and local wildlife, and often into otherwise inaccessible spots.

Marahau is located right at the beginning of the Abel Tasman Coastal Track, the closest departure point for the park. Our base, the Abel Tasman Centre, has plenty of free customer car parking. We also have a fully stocked general store, accommodation and a waterfront café with a beer garden.

Marahau Water Taxis is 100% locally owned and operated. We’re locals and we genuinely love sharing our little corner of the world with others!

Marahau Water Taxis - About Us - Peter & Sandra Alborn
Marahau Water Taxis - About Us - Abel Tasman National Park
Marahau Water Taxis - About Us - Abel Tasman National Park
Marahau Water Taxis - About Us - Abel Tasman National Park
Marahau Water Taxis - About Us - Abel Tasman National Park - The Alborns

Our History

In 1997 Peter and Sandra Alborn were looking for a change. After selling up in Waipukurau one of the businesses they looked at was buying the lease on the Marahau Beach Camp at the beginning of the Abel Tasman National Park. According to Sandra, Peter looked around the camping ground and then noticed an old water taxi out the back. Having always liked boats, that concluded the due diligence process and clinched the deal! The business grew quickly over the next few years and they started to outgrow the tiny camp shop and the one water taxi capacity. Around the same time their son, Gavin, and his partner Zoe arrived in NZ after a stint in Australia and started working in the business.

In 2001 the Alborns purchased an old house next to the existing leasehold property and developed that into a sunlit and well-proportioned shop, booking office and sensational waterfront cafe.

Backed up with friendly and personal service and exceptional daily organization of the water taxi and other parts of the enterprise, the business continued its exponential growth. Boats were progressively added until Marahau Water Taxis had four water taxis and a decent chunk of the water transport market in the Abel Tasman.

In May 2012 the Alborn family purchased Abel Tasman AquaTaxi from Ngai Tahu Tourism. While Marahau Water Taxis has continued to operate under its own unique brand and identity, the acquisition of AquaTaxi provided the Alborns with a total of 15 water taxis and over half of the Abel Tasman National Park water taxi capacity. With complete focus on their own performance and in creating a great experience for their customers, the business has continued to grow. They are keen to show everybody the little spot they believe is the best place in the known galaxy!

Environmental Sustainability

Abel Tasman AquaTaxi is proud to be a certified Zero Carbon business.

We offset 100% of our emissions and make a contribution to local conservation projects on behalf of every customer. We believe that enjoying our stunning natural environment and protecting it go hand in hand. Your experience with us will help plant native trees, restore waterways, build climate resilience and restore our biodiversity.

The Environmental Access Fee (EAF) is the portion of your ticket price that goes directly towards preserving the unique environment you will enjoy on your Abel Tasman excursion.

To find out more about our commitment and journey towards sustainable tourism, please visit AbelTasman.com/sustainability

Carbon Footprint: Our business operations will have a net zero carbon footprint. We started our journey towards becoming carbon neutral by identifying the largest contributors to the carbon footprint of our business operations: (1) The petrol and diesel required to power our water taxis, tractors, buses and other company vehicles; (2) The electricity and LPG required to run the energy using equipment in our buildings; and (3) The waste created by our daily business operations, particularly the waste generated by our guests at the Marahau Beach Camp.   Learn more >>
Waste Management: We will minimise the waste resulting from our daily business operations. We have taken every practical step to reduce the amount of waste that results from our daily business operations.  We have recycling stations at all of our operating bases for our own waste and the waste generated by our customers.   Learn more >>
Ecological Restoration: We will contribute to the ecological sustainability of our local environment. Our contribution to this ecological restoration work is therefore through our financial and logistical support of the Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust, Project Janszoon and the Department Of Conversation.
Learn more >>
Community Support:
We will actively support the wellbeing of our local community. We sponsor a number of local community and sports groups and support local schools, clubs and community groups by providing travel vouchers and merchandise for their fundraising efforts.   Learn more >>
Education and Engagement:
We will actively engage visitors and our local community on the importance of resorting, protecting and enhancing our natural environment
We love sharing our knowledge of the Abel Tasman’s flora and fauna and incredible success story of the restoration of the Park’s biodiversity and ecology.   Learn more >>

There is additional information on conserving the Abel Tasman here and a bunch of stuff about the flora and fauna in the Park here

Meet the family

Peter and Sandra

Both products of South Island coal mining families, Peter and Sandra married in the late 60s. After owning businesses in the Wairarapa and then Hawkes Bay, they moved to the Abel Tasman and bought the lease on the Marahau Beach Camp in 1997. Over the next 20 years Peter and Sandra poured their hearts and souls into building up their business. Peter passed away peacefully in May 2018 surrounded by his family.

Sandra is still active in the business, supervising the book keeping, helping out with customer service and generally making sure their everybody is kept on their toes! She has been banned from direct customer contact on the grounds she has been known to react sharply to questions such as “How much is a $5 phonecard?” and “What time does the 9:00AM water taxi leave?”

Brendan spent 17 years overseas, much of that time in China where he worked in “nerdy engineering”. He speaks Chinese fluently. He married his wife Johnna in 2001 at Cyathea Cove in the Abel Tasman National Park and has three children. Brendan plays guitar and sings in a jazz-inspired, alt-rock band called Holly’s Hat Trick. Ask him about it if you’ve got a spare hour or so to hear him go on (and on) about the time-signature changes that typify something called math-rock. Brendan is the Commercial Director.
Gavin is a native speaker of South Island Mumble; incomprehensible to New Zealanders and non-New Zealanders alike. Gavin was a handy rugby player in his day but was never hugely into training. Like his mother and father he is not blessed with huge amounts of patience. This is best typified by his patented ‘shock and awe’ fishing technique whereby you move the boat every 90 seconds whether the fish are biting or not. Gavin is General Manager.
Born and bred in the UK, Zoe is the only one of the bunch who speaks the Queen’s English. She met Gavin in Australia and was lured to NZ with promises of a tour of his homeland. The tour lasted 2.5 days before Zoe was duly thrust into slavery in the family business. Unable to devise an escape plan Zoe and Gavin were married on Adele Island in 2002. They have two children. Zoe manages Hooked, the cafe and beer garden on the Marahau Waterfront.
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