A locals guide: Date night
Posted on Wednesday 10 June 2020
Stunning natural landscapes, delectable cuisine and unique experiences abound in the Nelson Tasman region, and opportunities to reconnect are discoverable at every turn. Whatever date night looks like for you - dining alfresco, chasing the sunsets, taking a stroll along the beach, or dancing the night away, you'll find what you're looking for here.
We asked our locals to share their favourite date night experiences from around the region, and have collated them into this handy guide just for you.
"In our house Friday night is curry night! A few leisurely drinks and some nibbles with good friends at the delightful Jellyfish at Mapua Wharf to start our weekend, then date night officially starts when we go home to enjoy our curry and take it in turns to choose music on YouTube" - Joanne
With a diverse selection of restaurants, wine bars, craft breweries and cafes on the Mapua Wharf, seaside dining overlooking the glistening waters of the Waimea Estuary is an ideal place to begin a date night. Indulge in a wine tasting experience at Rimu Wine Bar before settling in for some nibbles on the waterfront at Jellyfish Restaurant. Dine in, or grab a takeaway to enjoy at the beach, by the fire or at a quirky B&B in the area (Jester House or The Gates Accommodation are two great options).
"My favourite way to spend a night with a loved one would be to enjoy a lovely three course dinner at Forsters Moutere Hills & then watch the sunset somewhere high, or coastal" - Amy
The Moutere Hills is a place where creative souls thrive. A place of abundance, the rich fertile soils, glorious sunshine and stunning natural landscapes provide inspiration for the artists and artisans of the Moutere community. Using fresh, local ingredients, Forsters Restaurant offers eloquent, refined dining amongst the rolling vines of a boutique winery. Nearby at sunset, head to the Tasman Hills for an elevated outlook over the Western Ranges, to the wide open beach at Rabbit Island, or to Sunset Valley Road for some vineyard views.
"Dine & dance at the playhouse - so much fun and laughter" - Bronwyn
The Playhouse Cafe and Theatre is one of the regions most-loved (yet relatively undiscovered) date night destinations. Unique cabaret experiences, magical entertainment, boogie nights, live musical performances, comedy shows, murder mystery dinners and themed events on Friday and Saturday nights are a great way to have a little fun with a loved one. The grotto style interior and gorgeous garden surrounds make the playhouse a true oasis of art, culture and romance.
"I love to be pampered, so i'd start with a float pod, a massage, then a night away somewhere where they have a spa" - Sophie
A little bit of rest and relaxation is good for the soul, and the floatation tanks at Uplift Float Centre are the perfect place to relieve your body and your mind of any daily stresses you may have. With options for couples, you'll feel complete weightlessness as you float in a pod filled with over 500kg of epsom salts. If more pampering is on the cards, treat yourself to a holistic or relaxation massage afterwards at one of the regions many day spas, and retreat to your own private studio in the central city or further away in Kaiteriteri or Murchison.
"Definitely Arden Bar and Kitchen, and for a night or two away a trip to Golden Bay Hideaway" - Tracey
Savour the artisanal flavours of local growers, brewers and winemakers in the courtyard of Arden. An ever-changing menu means that no two date nights are ever the same, and the cosy alfresco setting is designed to enhance intimacy and connection.
The Nelson Tasman region is also home to many romantic retreats, offering seclusion and scenery galore. Outdoor baths at places such as Zatori, Golden Bay Hideaway, Rabbit Island Huts, Pepin Island Farm, Abel Tasman Lodge, Maruia River Retreat and Kissing Gate Glamping are ideal for stargazing in the evenings or watching the sun as it rises in the morning.
"Share a platter for the intimacy, and nice bottle of wine at The Styx. Waterfront ambience, your partner will complete the atmosphere" - David
Seaside dining is certainly a favourite for Nelson Tasman locals, and with waterfront restaurants in Nelson City, Tahunanui, Stoke, Mapua and Kaiteriteri, there's no shortage of options to indulge in the sights and tastes of the region. Sharing platters often include local cheeses, meats, produce and chutneys, and when paired with a glass of wine are the perfect example of a seaside degustation for two.
"My perfect date would start with a fun activity such as wheelthrowing, then would head to the city centre for nibbles, dinner and dessert - all at different restaurants" - Laura
Whilst dining out seems to be a common theme for date night, there are plenty of activities to spark a little bit of fun and laughter before or after dinner. A wheel-throwing experience is something you often see in the movies, but you can also join forces (and hands) to create some clay pottery at Alchemy Arts, head to the Action Centre to challenge one another in bowling, or go for a scenic bike ride along Tasman's Great Taste Trail.
As day transcends swiftly into night, the city centre comes alive in a dining extravaganza. Whether it's winter by the fire or summer by the seaside, there are so many options that it can be hard to pick just one. With everything in close proximity, many locals enjoy moving between the bars and restaurants to indulge in tapas, fine dining, dessert and cocktails.
However you choose to spend date night, we hope you enjoy spending time with your loved one in the Nelson Tasman region.