Rotokura/Cable Bay is a hidden gem in the Nelson Tasman region, and only a 20-minute drive from Nelson City. So close to town and yet you feel like you’ve got away from it all and discovered a slice of beautiful nature in rural New Zealand.
The bay’s crystal clear water is gorgeous and rims a fine rock beach with some sandy patches; great for swimming, fishing, and kayaking, and at low tide it’s a great rock pooling spot where you’re likely to see starfish, sea slugs, crabs and other interesting sea life. Situated right next to the Horoirangi Marine Reserve, Cable Bay is a popular snorkelling and diving destination, and also a drawcard for kayakers who come to explore the rough coastline, serene bays, beaches and caves.
A bay with an interesting past, Rotokura has evidence of Māori occupation back to about 1150 CE; the area was a fishing ground, and a campsite was maintained there. Archaeological evidence also shows Māori interaction with three different types of moa at this site.
The laying of New Zealand's first international telegraph cable gave the bay its 19th-century name, Cable Bay. The operation, from Sydney to Cable Bay, took 11 days and transmission began on 21 February 1876.
A walkway overlooks the bay and provides stunning vistas of Te Tai-o-Aorere/Tasman Bay. For those that like a longer walk, the walkway continues on across farmland that runs adjacent to the marine reserve, taking hikers on a beautiful journey around the coast, and the middle section of the track passes through a patch of beautiful and varied native forest, before ending at Glenduan – known as ‘The Glen’ to locals. The walkway offers wonderful coastal views of the Boulder Bank, Nelson City and Kahurangi and Abel Tasman National Parks.
For those looking for a bit more adventure, Cable Bay is also home to the region’s largest adventure park. Ride the world’s longest skywire, go quad biking or mountain-biking, play paintball or take a trip in the Argo amphibious all-terrain vehicle. For something a little quieter, you can try your hand at archery and learn how to shoot a longbow, as you hunt for dragons and other fantasy creatures in the archery park’s native forest.
Accommodation in Cable Bay is varied and caters for every budget. Stay in one of Nelson’s finest campgrounds right on the edge of the bay, or choose a luxury mountaintop B&B, or something in-between. Just a step away from Nelson, Cable Bay is perfect for a day trip or weekend getaway.