The wider Nelson Tasman region is renowned for its depth of talent, heritage and passion for the arts, and Abel Tasman is no different.
After an overnight stay in the extraordinary Mapua District, exploring the array of cool-store galleries and delicious cuisine on the wharf, you’ll wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day. Hire a bike from one of the local operators on the wharf and hop on Tasman’s Great Taste Trail to take a journey along one of the most scenic sections of this iconic trail. Stopping off at Jester House along the Ruby Coast for breakfast, you’ll be amazed at the whimsical world that lay behind the gates, such as the garden surrounds, which are filled with mosaics, sculptures and an array of other quirky things.
After tackling a couple of short hill climbs (which we promise will be rewarded with some epic panoramic views), you’ll enter the vibrant town of Motueka, known for its artsy vibe and strong community spirit. If you’ve arrived on a Sunday, your first stop should be Decks Reserve Car Park, where the Motueka Sunday Market is held each week. Here you’ll find delicious artisan treats, handcrafted fabrics, freshly baked bread, extraordinary artworks and musical entertainment; a true feast for the senses! But if you’ve arrived mid-week, never fear – the retail and gallery scene in Motueka is strong, and there are plenty of galleries lining the High Street.
Or, if galleries aren’t your thing, cycle a short distance further toward Riwaka until you reach the Hop Federation Brewery. The beer enthusiasts here are situated in the heart of the craft brewing capital, and are producing something that is a true expression of traditional craft and creative innovation. Spend some time sampling the range of beers in their tasting room, appreciating the subtleties and complexities of Nelson Tasman hops.
Next, hop back on your bike to follow the trail back along the coast, and through an easy forest trail at the Kaiteriteri Mountainbike Park, before descending down into Kaiteriteri for a delicious lunch at the beachfront restaurant. Take in the sights of the stunning national park on a scenic cruise out to Awaroa Beach in the afternoon, a beach that was purchased by New Zealanders, for New Zealanders, in an ambitious crowdfunding campaign.
Awaroa is the perfect place for an arty getaway. Here, the lodge regularly runs multi-day art retreats, offering the opportunity for visitors to join extraordinary New Zealand artists for immersive and inspirational workshops in the heart of the Abel Tasman National Park. But, if your visit doesn’t happen to align with one of their art retreats, why not head on up to one of the nearby vantage points and capture the bays rippling sand dunes and crystal-clear waters on paper or canvas?
End your visit with a delicious meal at the on-site Harakeke Restaurant, tasting some of the region’s fresh produce, and award-winning wines, craft beers and ciders whilst enjoying stunning views out over the wetlands.
See below for the list of operators featuring in this itinerary ↓