Fall in Love with Nelson Tasman

Fall in Love with Nelson Tasman

Written by Jason Petterson

Posted on Wednesday 20 March 2024

Perfect paradise for romantic getaways
Nelson Tasman, nestled in the green heart of New Zealand, is a very attractive destination for couples seeking to find an unforgettable autumn getaway. Whether you're an empty-nester looking to go slow and quietly savour the scenes, tastes and moments, or a younger couple craving heart-pumping adventures, this beautiful place can be your canvas and your playground.

Picture this – rustic autumn leaves fluttering from the trees, breathtaking sunsets over the western ranges, calm seas lapping the golden sand beaches and the crisp scents of harvest in the air - all setting the scene for an unforgettable, romantic escape. Nelson Tasman’s captivating beauty is gracefully unveiled as the hot summer stretches long into autumn.

Kissed by nature, Nelson Tasman provides the perfect setting for couples to unwind, reconnect, capture memories and share personal moments. You can take a stroll along the secluded beaches of Golden Bay and the Abel Tasman or the beautiful Nelson Lakes. Together enjoy a private picnic, gaze at the night stars, take a gentle boat or cycle ride, and savour some of the abundant delicious local flavours on offer.

Come and explore Nelson Tasman's diverse landscapes and adventures, from the Cable Bay Adventure Park to the north with its exhilarating, adrenalin-filled rides, to the tranquillity of the Maruia River Retreat in the south and to the beauty of Wharariki Beach to the west. There is so much to fall in love with in this diverse region.

Crafting your Own Love Story
Nelson Tasman provides the canvas, and you get to paint your own love story. You can immerse yourself in the vibrant arts scene, carve a track through natural bush, plan a menu of gastronomical delights and design your own personal itinerary. The many sensual offerings of the region will entice you to fall in love with the scenery, the activities, unique moments - and maybe even each other! Wouldn’t it be wonderful to share this special place with your significant other?

Romantic Retreats
To truly enjoy a visit in this beautiful region it’s important to stay at accommodation that provides peace, comfort, small luxuries and privacy. For the empty-nesters seeking a slow-paced escape you can indulge yourself at centrally located Ah House B&B, Rutherford Hotel Nelson or The Tides on the Maitai River.

Nestled in its own beautiful gardens, Ah House B&B is a unique award-winning bed and breakfast and self-catering accommodation experience in the heart of Nelson city. They’re all about the location and excellent service. Choose between the Garden Rooms or Garden Apartments, tastefully decorated for comfort.

Rutherford Hotel Nelson is the obvious choice for luxury accommodation in Nelson. It is Nelson’s only 24-hour fully-serviced hotel, offering luxurious rooms with a fine-dining restaurant Oceano and top-shelf bar Port o’ Call. Its central location means Nelson’s many shops, markets, galleries and city attractions are just a short stroll away. All rooms have a view of the harbour, city, historic South Street or Nelson’s beautiful cathedral.

The Tides Hotel is a beautifully located right on the Maitai river and just a few minutes walk from Nelson’s main shopping precinct. It is one of Nelson’s most stylish and contemporary hotels with 'local' style, atmosphere and service. The Tides Bar and Eatery overlooks the river and offers exceptional dining and a wide selection of local and international beverages.

South of Murchison the Maruia River Retreat is a private nature and wellness resort offering luxurious accommodations, gourmet meals, and nature activities designed to enhance your well-being in breathtaking mountain landscapes, within a 500 acre beech forest rainforest. Enjoy yoga shala, massage, private forest spa bathing, soft water magnesium pool, bird walks, hikes, plus river rafting tours, river walks and bathing along the pristine Maruia River. You are also just 70 minutes drive from St Arnaud and the Nelson Lakes National Park.

For the younger and more active and casual set you might enjoy the options that Tahuna Beach Holiday Park provides with its camping, motels, cabins and caravans. It’s perfect for the motor homes and RVs too. It provides plenty of space, sea views, and privacy or socialising as you wish. Fun thrills are close by with the beach, fun park and Natureland next door. Plus there are a plethora of restaurant, bars, takeaways and café options just a short stroll away.

Adrenaline-Pumping Adventures
For young active couples or besties seeking an adrenaline rush, Nelson Tasman offers a plethora of heart-pounding activities. Slide into a thrilling canyoning experience with Abel Tasman Canyons and get up some ‘G’s on the zipline across a waterfall.

If you have ‘a need for speed’ choose between revved-up quad biking, mountain biking or the skywire at Cable Bay Adventure Park, or power paddling with Waka Abel Tasman. Or if you like the thrill of heights you will find the Buller Swingbridge Adventure exhilarating.

Other speedy endeavours include terminal velocity from 16,000ft with Skydive Abel Tasman, a helicopter safari to remote mountains and beaches with Helicopters Nelson or Wine, Art and Wilderness or you can catch the wind with Abel Tasman Sailing Adventures. Both of these last two operators also offer slower experiences of nature, art, wine, fine dining, and accommodation. It is worthwhile checking them out for a little luxury!

Fall in Love with the Trails
The cycling options in Nelson are really second to none in New Zealand, from Grade 1 to 6. If you choose to idle along slowly and take in all the sights, sounds, smells of the Great Taste Trail you can stop at any number of boutique stores, roadside stalls, vineyards, cellar doors, breweries, artists' studios – you get the idea. The trail is a 170km loop where you can choose to do the whole circuit or just select a piece which suits your desires.

If you choose a gut-busting grind up the mountain you’ll have earned the right to some mad-rush adrenalin and speed on an epic downhill. But be careful because you could fall head over heals for more of our incredible network of trails. You can choose from more than 450km of tracks – all within 40km of Nelson city! And after one of those epic rides it is traditional to rehydrate with one of many local craft beers (many choices that is)! Check out the Nelson Mountain Bike Club (nelsonmtb.club) for all the news on trails and events.

Table for Two Please
A dinner or lunch date is the perfect way to sit back and take in the tastes of the region with your best friend. Nelson Tasman is one of the great ‘food bowls’ of New Zealand and there is an abundance of fresh produce, fruits, seafood, juices - all harvested here at this time of year. The regions artisans and chefs turn these products into mouthwatering meals, thirst-quenching beverages, award winning wine and beer, and other delicious epicurean delights. Book early for one of the following eating houses.

Rutherford Hotel Nelson’s Oceano Restaurant offers fine dining with fresh seafood and many other choices of protein and vegetarian fare. Tables come with views of the city, Nelson Haven, Nelson Cathedral and historic South Street.

For one of the most romantic dining views in New Zealand you can dine at The Boat Shed Café or The Boathouse on Rocks Road looking across Tasman Bay to a burning sunset over the western ranges. Or you can choose from over twenty international cuisines in the regions’ restaurants, cafes, food carts and coffee houses – such as the locally famous Ruby’s Espresso down at the Nelson Marina, NZ’s Best Café 2023 TOAD Hall in Motueka, or the legendary Mussel Inn in Collingwood which offers its own craft brews and often has live music.

For a full review of the latest and best places to dine visit www.toptastes.co.nz

Taste Local Flavours
Get a real taste for Nelson Tasman by sampling as many of the local flavours as you can fit in. Our plentiful seas, rich soils and sun-drenched hills produce an abundance of delicious fruit, berries, nuts, vegetables, seafood, wild game, organic foods, snacks and mouthwatering wine, beer and beverages. Then our local chefs and kitchens combine these ingredients into sensational dining experiences.

There are too many to name but these are some of the locally produced foods you can find in local stores and at the markets; Appleby Farms Icecream, Connings (Fruit & Veges), Gelato Roma, Golden Hill Walnuts, Hecks Sausages, Hogarths Chocolate, King Salmon, Neudorf Black Garlic, Oaklands Milk, Pestells (Meat & Smallgoods), Pic’s Peanut Butter, Proper Crisps, QBs Snacks, Sublime Coffee, Talley’s Mussels, Tasman Bay Foods (Juicies, Moosies), Thomas Bros (Cherries, Apples, Kiwifruit, Honey), Thorvald Cheese, ViaVio Cheese. There are many, many more.

You can experience the many wines from Nelson Wines vineyards www.tastenelsonwines.nz along the Great Taste Trail, many having cellar doors and some with dining. There are three wine sub-regions within Nelson Tasman – Waimea Plains, Moutere Hills and Tasman Coastal. Neudorf Vineyards sits in the Moutere Hills sub-region and is known best for its Chardonnay, Aromatics and Pinot Noir. Arrange for a tasting at the cellar door or choose a bottle of their award-winning wine and a picnic basket to share in the picturesque garden overlooking the vines.

Art and Artisans
For those who appreciate the finer things in life, Nelson Tasman's vibrant arts scene awaits. The region is a haven for artistic expression, featuring painting, sculpture, print, jewellery, craft, music, theatre, and interactive experiences. Explore galleries, studios, artist workshops, and museums to acquire unique artifacts that speak to your soul.

Take in the art at the Suter Art Gallery, explore the art of automobiles at the Nelson Classic Car Museum or find an undiscovered treasure at the famous Nelson Saturday Market in Montgomery Square.

The Suter Art Gallery curates exhibitions from its collection and features many established and upcoming artists in its annual itinerary. You can also purchase many beautiful, bespoke arts and crafts pieces from its’ galleria – and grab a bite to eat at its locally famous café.

You will find many artisans shops in the Hardy Street precinct. Or further afield along the Great Taste Trail you can discover many artisans, craftspeople. The creatively inclined favour the Moutere, Mapua and Mahana Hills as a favourite place to work and live. From woodworkers to painters, sculptors, florists, crafts, jewellery and galleries, theatres and gift shops there is a lot to choose from. The rich soils of this sub-region are the gardens of many Moutere Artisans producing craft beer, ciders, wines, charcuterie, cheeses, mushrooms, black garlic and olives. There is so much love poured into these products you wont be able to resist!

Explore History at Your Own Pace
For a relaxed day, take a leisurely stroll through the many easy walks around the central city and throughout the province. Stroll through Founders Heritage Park, Nelson Provincial Museum or Motueka District Museum if you care for history. Embrace the magic of a beachside walk on Rabbit Island or Ruby Bay or slowly climb to a hilltop view on Princes Drive, Centre of New Zealand, Abel Tasman Memorial (Ligar Bay), Kaiteriteri Lookout Track or Cable Bay.

Fall in Love with Nature
With zero carbon operators, light footprint journeys and sustainable tourism initiatives Nelson Tasman is becoming known as the ‘Green Heart of Aotearoa’ and endearing itself to all environment lovers. If your heart is in the right place and you want to choose an itinerary that treads lighter then look no further than Nelson Tasman. Take a journey with Farewell Spit Eco Tours to see protected birdlife, windswept sand dunes, stunning rock formations and furthest tip of the South Island.

Visit Natureland in Tāhunanui to interact with our native birds, tuatara, iguana, primates, meerkats, porcupines, alpaca, kunekune pigs, peacock and farmyard animals.

Discover the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary, surrounded by its pest free fence, which has reinvigorated native birdlife and birdsong to the Brook Valley. Explore the old time miners trails and native bush along the creeks to find the historical workings of the old water reservoir and dam.

Walk the walk
If hiking is your favourite transport mode then this region has a multitude of choice. It’s very special sharing private and peaceful time walking along remote trails listening to native birdsong. There are over 2000km of off-road tracks and trails within the Nelson Tasman region. From an easy grade to difficult you can plan a simple hike or a week-long adventure – and there are plenty of dog friendly options too!

Within the Nelson Tasman region there are three National Parks; Nelson Lakes, Kahurangi, and the Abel Tasman National Park. The Abel Tasman Coastal Track follows a pristine coastline of extraordinary beauty between Marahau on the east coast of Tasman Bay north through to Wainui Bay on the southwest coast of Golden Bay. It is the smallest and most popular of all New Zealand National Parks with an easy walking grade most of the way. The full length is recommended as a 4-5 day tramp. Contrastingly Kahurangi National Park, location for Lord of the Ring scenes, is the second largest National Park stretching from Murchison in the south, through the West Coast and north to Golden Bay and Mount Arthur, with 570km of tracks more challenging terrain.

The 16 picturesque lakes that make up the Nelson Lakes National Park include the ‘Blue Lake’, officially named the clearest lake in the world are nestled amongst the stunning forests of this park. It is renowned for winter escapes with the Rainbow Ski Field, being a big drawcard.

As well as these great parks you’ll also find tracks, trails, roads and some huts in the Richmond Ranges. You can visit the www.nelson.govt.nz and www.tasman.govt.nz websites for more information on trails around the region and the latest news on access and conditions. Alternatively check out the nelsontrails.co.nz website even more information you might need to organise your walk.

Cruising Along
How about discovering the region from the sea. Explore the bays, coves, beaches, estuaries and river mouths that greeted our forefathers when they arrived here many moons ago under the shadow of Wharepapa (Mt Arthur).

Autumn is a beautiful time of year to discover Tasman Bay and Golden Bay by sea, with less wind or sea haze and you might get to see dolphins and seals frolicking. It’s an exciting time to be out on the water. You can float, drift, boat, sail, motor, paddle, ski, windsurf, and swim all over the bays. The sightseeing is spectacular with our unique golden sand and native fauna coming right down to the waters edge. If you’re after privacy hidden coves, estuaries, creeks and streams will reveal themselves to you by sea that aren’t accessible by car or on foot!

You can look to book a trip with any of these operators to navigate the around the stunning Abel Tasman National Park, Tasman Bay and Golden Bay; Wilsons Abel Tasman, Abel Tasman Eco Tours, Abel Tasman Charters, Abel Tasman Kayaks, Abel Tasman Sailing Adventures, Waka Abel Tasman, Abel Tasman Sea Shuttles, Abel Tasman Aqua Taxis, Golden Bay Kayaks. Tours can be guided or you can explore alone. Most operators have choices to walk, kayak part of the way or get picked up by arrangement.

You can also explore the Nelson Haven and inner harbour with Abel Tasman Sailing Adventures www.sailingadventures.co.nz. They have on-board dining and 4 cabins on board some vessels for two person accommodation. You’ll see Haulashore Island, Fifeshire Rock, the Boulder Bank and Lighthouse closeup and personal in the lap of luxury. (Note: Check availability during the shoulder season). www.theferry.co.nz also operates ‘on demand’ inner harbour journeys to the Lighthouse, Boulder Bank and Haulashore island.

Create Lasting Memories
As you explore Nelson Tasman, let the warmth and colours of autumn wrap around you. Whether you're sipping wine overlooking the vineyards, star gazing in the clear air of the mountains, or melting marshmallows on a beach fire at sunset, this region promises moments that linger like the golden hues of an autumn evening.

Getting to Paradise
If you want the freedom of getting around yourself bring your wheels across the ditch on the Interislander. They’re offering a discount of 10% off Rate of Day for travel between 1 April until 30 June 2024. www.interislander.co.nz/book (Promo Code: ntautumn241). Then you can travel wherever and whenever you want with freedom and make your own precious moments.

If you prefer to fly you can catch direct or two-sector flights from most domestic airports on Air New Zealand. And direct flights are also available on Golden Bay Air, Origin Air, Sounds Air, from Wellington, Blenheim, Palmerston North and Paraparumu. It’s most likely you will get stunning views of your holiday playgrounds around Tasman Bay as you fly in and will be itching to get exploring right away. But we suggest, for some part at least, that you go slow and savour all the sights, sounds, tastes and experiences that this paradise offers.

Getting Around
If you are flying in you can pick up a rental car in the Rental Car Hub right outside the Nelson Airport terminal.

Alternatively you can take Nelson’s ebus.nz that gets you all around the Nelson, Richmond, Wakefield, Motueka, Brook and Atawhai areas. They run from the airport regularly. And for those seeking the golden sands and native bush of the Abel Tasman National Park there is the betterbus.co.nz running between Nelson, Kaiteriteri and Marahau (October through April).

Or if you are travelling very light you can rent a bike/ebike from Nelson Airport at Nelson Cycle Hire. located to the south of the terminal building behind Airport House. There are many other cycle hire places in Nelson including Wheelie Fantastic, The Gentle Cycling Co, Kiwi Jouneys, and Gravity Nelson.

The province is famous for its walks, hikes and tramps so for more information visit our Walking & Hiking page. For getting around Nelson City by foot it’s relatively easy as the CBD is just 1km2 and within this zone there is so much to see and do. You can shop till you drop, or visit art galleries, museums, parks, gardens, cafes, restaurants or theatres. Alternatively you can climb to the Centre of New Zealand, Grampians Hill or the Port Hills on the CBD fringes for stunning elevated views of Tasman Bay.

Dive in
Immerse yourself in Nelson Tasman's autumn embrace and each day will become a page in your own love story. The Nelson Tasman region offers such a diverse range of activities - whether you seek a slow-paced holiday or a thrill-filled itinerary. Whatever your desires you’re destined to fall in love with something here.

So make a date – to find love. Your romantic autumn escape awaits you in Nelson Tasman. There are many deals and packages now available for autumn 2024. Visit www.nelsontasman.nz/fallinlove and start planning your itinerary for the loveliest getaway ever.