Winter 'Hot Spots'

Winter 'Hot Spots'

Written by Rosa Friend

Posted on Monday 29 May 2023

It’s the perfect season for a fun-filled break to reset and refocus, and there’s no place quite like Nelson Tasman to escape the ordinary this winter. Arts and artisan experiences are still on offer, and the abundance of local galleries, wineries and craft breweries give visitors something to do even when the winter weather is a little cooler. Evenings call for cosying up in front of the fire at our award-winning restaurants, with comfort food and hot chocolates galore.

Read on to discover some of these local ‘hot’ spots to keep you toasty this winter.


Fire-side dining 

With an array of restaurants, bars and cafes, there's no shortage of places to grab a bite. Views of snow-capped mountains from the warm indoors of high-quality establishments offering seasonal, locally sourced produce, creates the perfect winter dining experience. If you’re hoping to cosy up next to an open fire whilst sampling what the region has to offer, visit The FreehouseHawker House and BarMilton St Sprig & Fern, East Street or Rimu Wine Bar to name but a few.

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Hawker House and Bar | Photo by Neat Places for 


Enjoy a Tipple
Nelson Tasman is known as the craft brewing capital of New Zealand – and a top contender for the best cider city, globally. As we grow 100% of New Zealand’s hops here in the region, you'll never be short of places to find a brew. Take a sip of a delicious craft beer at the Sprig & Fern BreweryMcCashins BreweryMussel Inn or The Free House, and see what all of the fuss is about!

Wine lovers rejoice and enjoy one of Nelson Tasman's 22 incredible cellar doors. Home to some of the most stunning backdrops New Zealand has to offer you'll want plenty of time to soak it all in. Explore from the Waimea Plains to the famous Moutere Hills, sampling your way through their delicious Riesling, Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc options, finishing with a tour of Gravity Winery and tasting straight from the barrels. Or, give your taste buds the full Top of the South experience, and enjoy a toasty mulled wine with divine local cuisine at a nearby restaurant.

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The Mussel Inn | Photo by Neat Places for 


ReTREAT yourself

Nestled in lush native gardens with stunning views of the Abel Tasman National Park, sits the Abel Tasman Lodge in Mārahau. After a walk in the national park, further unwind with range of massage therapy techniques, including Swedish and Polynesian to melt your stress away.

For those who want a bit of history with their pampering, check out Pihopa Retreat and it's historic chapel, stunning park-like grounds, and luxury accommodation. Or stay between three national parks at Falcon Brae – an exclusive use luxury villa, bordered by rivers and a private forest.

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 Pihopa Retreat |

Artisanal taste-testing

Join a group of peanut butter enthusiasts at Pic’s World of Peanut Butter - where kids of all ages (including the big adult ones) can tour the new factory and watch as the peanut butter makers crush, roast, pump and seal the delicious Pic’s Peanut Butter spread we all know and love. Little pic’sters can try their hand at creating their own, whilst the adult pic’sters can grab a coffee at the on-site café or browse the international collection of peanut butter mementoes and products at the gift shop. 

Chocoholics will be delighted to know that Hogarth's have now opened their factory shop- samples included! Learn about their handmade, bean to bar process over some 'Buttered Toast and Sea Salt' chocolate.


 Pic's Peanut Butter World | Photo by Bare Kiwi for


Be inspired by makers, creators & curators

Creative people thrive here and that’s reflected in Nelson Tasman’s abundant arts community. Many of our celebrated artists, sculptors, jewellers, potters and ceramic artists have studios you can visit or are represented at many unique galleries dotted around the region. We've collated a comprehensive list of makers, creators and curators HERE or read on for some highlights...

Idle away time while visiting the Suter Art Gallery, one New Zealand’s oldest cultural establishments - the modern architecture of the gallery is almost as fascinating as it’s exhibitions, with a range of fascinating collections spanning over 200 years. Red Gallery is a cute little coffee shop come art and giftware shop, while Wall to Wall Art gallery is a collective space of 12 passionate local artists.
Over in Golden Bay, hop on to the Arts Trail for a full day of discovering talented local creators.

Get your hands dirty by trying your hand at ceramic with MacMillans Pottery @ Alchemy Arts in Richmond or Kiln Studio in Nelson.


Suter Gallery | Photo by Bare Kiwi for 


Catch a film

A cooler winter's day is the perfect opportunity to snuggle in and catch the latest film at the cinema. See a blockbuster at State Cinema 6 in Nelson, an arthouse film at The Gecko in Motueka or have a date night at the Silky Otter in Richmond.


Leave a positive footprint

Kaiteriteri Recreation Reserve is offering a two-night package for those who want to learn more about the native fauna and wildlife. Spend a day enjoying beautiful Kaiteriteri and a return boat trip to the world-famous Abel Tasman National Park. After a good night's sleep at a premium apartment, enjoy breakfast before joining the park manager for a morning of voluntary planting New Zealand native plants & trees in Kaiteriteri Recreation Reserve, as part of their regenerative forestry program to replace exotic species with natives throughout the 242-hectare reserve.  

Looking Out Over Kaiteriteri Lagoon

Kaiteriteri |


Work up a sweat on the water

The calm waters, easy beach access and snow-capped mountains decorating the background of Moana Paddle Nelson’s base makes Tahunanui Beach the perfect place to have a go at stand-up paddleboarding or sea kayaking. Beginners welcome!

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Moana Paddle Boards |


Hit the slopes

Rainbow Ski Field offers a diverse selection of slopes and snow-based activities for all ages and skill levels. After a day on the slopes, unwind beside a toasty fire at the Alpine Lodge. The lodge, situated at 640 metres above sea level nestled amongst the impressive St Arnaud Range with breath-taking winter wonderland scenery. 

Nelson Lakes Snow Fight taken by Oliver Weber credit

Rainbow Ski Field |


Roam the Nelson Classic Car Museum

Whether you’re a car-fanatic or not, the Nelson Classic Car Museum is an iconic visitor attraction that celebrates design and is the perfect winter-day activity for the whole family to enjoy. As you move from room to room, you'll be amazed by one of Australasia's largest collections of veteran, vintage and classic cars, before finishing off with a bite to eat in the cozy Little Engine Room Eatery.


Go on a glowworm tour

The Brook Waimārama Sanctuary is the largest fenced Sanctuary for endangered plants and creatures in the South Island. Their glowworm tour is a special experience which will delight night-time visitors. Experiencing the Sanctuary in the dark is a completely different experience compared to visiting during the day, your senses will be heightened. Smell the forest, hear the noisy Brook Stream gurgling in the background and perhaps hear the occasional hoot of a ruru (morepork) and marvel at the stars in the night sky away from the city lights. You’ll see the glowing bioluminescence points of light generated by the Sanctuary glowworms living in the sheltered banks of the Sanctuary pathways.

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 Glowworms | The Brook Waimārama Sanctuary