Chasing Nelson Tasman’s Autumn colours
Posted on Friday 28 August 2020
As the long summer days begin to cool, our lush green landscapes turn to vibrant flaming colours as the Autumn months roll in. With beautifully rich coloured trees and dappled light bursting through the entire region; it’s no secret Nelson Tasman offers spectacularly picturesque scenes in every season. We’ve compiled the top locations to chase this Autumn beauty and capture the golden scenery.
The Maitai Valley
The Nelson Tasman weather in Autumn is temperate - with crisp mornings, warm days and cooler nights, it makes for the perfect time to get out for some active pursuits. The base of the Centre of New Zealand or Botanic Gardens are a great place from which to begin a bicycle ride, taking you on a journey along the Maitai River and past numerous local sculptures to the Maitai valley. As autumn leaves coat the stretch of trees, it’s the ideal way to take in the city’s beautiful golden views.
On the right night, a walk around Monaco Point can provide the most stunning sunsets and scenery on a cool autumn evening. You can walk and walk and when you think the view has gone, keep going to the top of the point and it’s all there waiting for you.
The Centre of New Zealand
The Centre of New Zealand, at the top of Botanical Hill, is an all-time local favourite, spending just half an hour to get to the summit. You’ll be engulfed in apricot-coloured trees as you stroll to the top where you’ll enjoy stunning views of the city, port, Tasman Bay and surrounding mountains. Have a seat and soak in these stunning views as the autumn sun rises or sets. Using the information panels, you can identify local hills and town features and if you're feeling energetic, you can head further along the hillside chasing the sun to Walter's Bluff, enjoying even more of Tasman Bay.
Tahunanui Beach and the Nelson Haven is well-loved by Nelsonians and visitors alike and it’s skies are often painted with beautiful bold colours at the hour of sunset. With Moana Paddle Nelson, you can paddle-board out over calm waters and watch the sun set behind the clouds and fall behind the distant mountain ranges.
The Nelson Haven
Just down the road you’ll find some local businesses who have made the most of this Nelson Tasman beauty, including The Boat House, Boat Shed Cafe, Nahm and Harbour Light Bistro all which can be found dotted along Rocks Road with views out to the sea. These restaurants all offer waterfront fine dining at its best. The picturesque landscapes paired with local cuisine and a mulled wine are all the ingredients needed for a perfect autumn evening.
Beautiful coloured trees, a touch of early snow on the distant mountains. For those keen mountain bikers, one of the best places for marvelling a Nelson Tasman sunrise is Fringed Hill. Its summit is 793 metres above sea level and to get to this view requires a 7km climb from the Brook Valley. A lot of sweating, but worth it as the Autumn sun rises and fills the crisp morning air - what better way to enjoy Nelson Tasman’s stunning natural landscapes?
Rather than a majestic "looking-out" spot, the Brook Valley, specifically at the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary provides an autumn "looking-into" scene of fantastic native bush. Just 4 kilometres from the city centre, the sanctuary has a faraway, out-of-town feeling and is a paradise for native birds. Hear their beautiful song as you walk along the network of over 70km of track amongst the lush autumn flora.
Nelson Tasman Vineyards
The ultimate autumn paradise could arguably be the many idyllic vineyards dotted around Nelson Tasman. These picture-perfect vineyards are embedded in rolling hills, surrounded by vast open skies. Experience the whole autumn package, spending the day at any one of the regions 21 incredible cellar doors from the Waimea Plains to the famous Moutere Hills. Sipping your way through their delicious Riesling, Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc options over lingering golden sunsets - with this setting, what more could you want?
The Janie Seddon shipwreck is located on the Motueka foreshore, but despite its weathered ruins the ship has a rich and diverse history. Beginning as a submarine mining vessel to the last surviving military ship to have served in both world wars (rumour has it she even fired the first shot in WW2). Janie’s rusting hull now rests on the coast of Motueka and a short stroll along the foreshore will take you to her unofficial burial site. Photographers travel from near and far to capture this iconic shipwreck on camera. Get up early enough to watch the sunrise behind the contrasting hull or perfectly time the sunset to capture the incredible scenery.
For the sunset experience of a lifetime, pack a picnic, rug up warm and find your way out to Cable Bay, only a 20-minute drive from Nelson City. For the perfect lookout spot to watch the sky be scattered in an array of warm colour you can take the Cable Bay Walkway up from the beach. With a steep ascent to the top of the hill we promise you won’t be disappointed when you reach the top. Walkers are treated to 360-degree views over the sheltered and rocky Cable Bay inlet, the Horoirangi Marine Reserve and the Tasman Bay seascape – the sky lighting up these truly stunning natural landscapes.
An active way to chase the regions array of autumnal colours is the Great Taste Trail. Tasman’s Great Taste Trail is one of New Zealand’s Great Rides, a scenic route that is made easy with the help of local cycle hire, tour and transport businesses. The trail takes riders through Norris Gully in particular, a stop on the Wakefield to Kohatu segment. The large grass reserve is surrounded by beautiful tall trees whose leaves turn to varying shades of rusted orange during the autumn months. Make sure it’s on the top of your list as a place to stop and take in the views!