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!

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

We are deeply committed to providing our customers with a quality experience. At the same time, we do everything possible to ensure our business operations have the minimum impact on the environment and our community.

In fact, our aim is to enhance and influence positive changes in our local community and this wonderful natural environment that we call home. The long-term sustainability of our business is directly connected to the sustainability of our community and environment. Our key sustainability initiatives are:

We are constantly striving to minimise fuel consumption. We continue to invest heavily in the most fuel-efficient boat motors and other fuel-saving technologies. All of our boats have been fitted with electronic fuel gauges to help each boat skipper ensure they are running their boats as efficiently as possible at all times. In 2017 our parent company invested in the establishment of a full workshop at our Marahau base to service and maintain our boats. This has lead to massive improvements to the lifespan and efficiency of our equipment.
We are always trying to reduce waste by reusing and recycling. We also offer our customers recycling facilities and encourage our customers to reuse containers and bottles whenever possible.
We do everything we can to minimise our water usage by turning off taps when we are not directly using water and by using water saving technologies. We also have a rainwater harvesting system at our main water taxi storage sheds.
We support various charitable organisations in their efforts to protect and restore our local environment. For example, we donate 10c from each passenger fare to the Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust. As well as paying a share of each passenger fare to the Department of Conservation as part of our concessions to operate in the Abel Tasman National Park, we also transport DOC staff free of charge. We also provide various forms of sponsorship and donations to local sports clubs, schools and other community groups throughout each year.
We will activity encourage our customers to act responsibly when they are using the National Park.
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
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
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.
Zoe
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.