The Cable Bay walkway extends from the historically significant shingle beach of Cable Bay to the coastal Glenduan township and is approximately a 3.5 hour walk one way. The starting point is entirely up to you - both ends of the track require a bit of a scramble at the beginning, but the rewards are sure worth it! From Cable Bay, the track crosses undulating farmland with a steep ascent to the top of the hill. Walkers are treated to 360-degree views over the sheltered and rocky Cable Bay inlet, the Horoirangi Marine Reserve, the Tasman Bay seascape and lush native forest. Quite possibly one of the region’s most iconic walking tracks, the Cable Bay Walkway offers the ultimate combination of coastal scenery, rolling pastures and native bush – a true insight to New Zealand’s unique landscapes. Top tip: A sunset stroll here is the experience of a lifetime!
2. Feel the thrill with a skywire experience
Test the limits of your comfort zone at Cable Bay Adventure Park, a thrill-seekers paradise home to the longest flying fox in the world. You can experience the Skywire as part of a quad-biking or horse-riding tour, or simply go it alone. Situated 300m above the base cafe and offering 800m of gravity assisted freewheeling fun, you’ll reach speeds of up to 100kph as you pass over the native forest below. Whizzing through the sky, you’ll slow to a leisurely pace, so that you can enjoy the panoramic views of the bay and the rugged western ranges, before doing it all over again backwards!
Photo: George Guille Media and Cable Bay Adventure Park
3. Go dragon-hunting in the forest
Step into a medieval world and test your hand at archery in one of New Zealand’s last remaining ancient virgin forests. You’ll get to hunt for a series of dragons and lifelike archery targets nestled amongst giant tree trunks, across pristine streams, between the fronds of native ferns and high up in the hills. Your instructors will teach you the tricks of the trade, and by the end of the day you’ll leave feeling at one with the longbow, and at one with nature.
Photo: Archery Park Nelson
4. Kayak around the bay
A kayaking adventure in Cable Bay is unlike anything ever experienced before. As you explore the beautiful waterways that surround Cable Bay and Pepin Island, you’ll kayak through an intricate labyrinth of caves, arches and islets home to a spectacular array of waterfalls, beaches and birdlife. If you’re lucky, you might even spot some seals or dolphins, or Lonely the famous sheep. Stopping off at a secluded beach, you won’t see another soul in sight, so you’ll be able to enjoy this undiscovered paradise for what it truly is. Have lunch, bask in the beautiful sunshine and perhaps even go snorkelling before hopping in your kayak to head back inland!
Photo: Cable Bay Kayaks
5. Snorkel or dive in the marine reserve
The Horoirangi Marine Reserve stretches between Cable Bay and Glenduan, and comprises of rugged boulder reefs crafted from the steep staggering bluffs along the coast. The area thrives with marine life, making it the perfect place for a snorkelling or diving adventure. In the depths of the reef, you’ll see starfish and anemones clinging to the rocks, whilst crustaceans scuttle amongst interlacing boulders and a variety of fish slip playfully through the seaweed. Home to crayfish, blue cod, terakihi and snapper, some of the best snorkelling and diving can be found around Mackay Bluff and near Ataata Point at the north of the reserve. Little ones may also enjoy snorkelling near the beach at Cable Bay. Note: It is important to remember that this area is protected, so you must not disturb, remove or kill marine life.
6. Relax on the beach
Whilst it’s not drenched in the golden sand you’re used to in other parts of the Nelson Tasman region, the shingle beach at Cable Bay is a favourite destination for locals and visitors alike. The crescent-shaped beach is sheltered by the headlands, and the bay is the perfect place for swimming, reading a book or just relaxing amongst nature. In the colder months, you’ll often see people rugged up warm taking a stroll down the beach, or making smores and singing songs around campfires.
7. Tear up the tracks and go mountainbiking
Set to become a mountain-bikers destination, Cable Bay is home to a diverse selection of trails to suit all abilities. Whether you bring your own bike or rent one from the adventure park, you'll get to enjoy steep, technical native tracks, the pine line, DH track and a flowy grade 3+ trail. Descending from spectacular viewpoints, you'll bear witness to unparalleled scenery of the Cable Bay coast, whilst navigating lush native forest, 4x4 access roads and epic farm trails. An on-demand shuttle is available if riding up-hill is something you'd rather skip, and if mountain-biking just isn't your thing, you can hire an e-bike and take a more cruisy trip up to the Bay View lookout.
8. Go to a shooting range
If you’re looking for a dose of adrenaline, you’ve come to the right place. Cable Bay is renowned as an adventure destination, so why not try your hand at some target shooting? Indulge in a dueling tree race or test your aim as you focus on a range of flying clays. Whether you’re visiting as a group or if you’d prefer a one-on-one experience, this outback attraction promises something a little out of the ordinary!
Photo: Cable Bay Shooting Adventures
9. Have some four-wheeled fun
Cable Bay is one of the only places in Nelson Tasman where you can go on a guided quad-biking adventure. Whether you’re looking for all the thrills and spills or if you’d prefer something a little more slow-paced, these tours are designed to suit all ages and abilities. A ride on these four-wheeled fun machines promises a memorable day out for all, as you traverse undulating muddy terrain and navigate a series of forest trails. The Bayview Circuit tour should be on everyone’s bucket list, treating riders to panoramic views over Delaware Bay.
10. Take a farm tour of Pepin Island
Pepin Island is a privately-owned island connected to the Cable Bay causeway. A working sheep station which winters over 2,000 sheep, visitors will get to experience island life and farm life all in one go aboard a 4WD farm tour. The tour showcases the distinct and spectacular landscapes of the island, including native bush, rolling pastures, pebbled beaches and staggering rock-scapes. Observing the sheepdogs at work, and sometimes even sheep-shearing in the beach-front wool-shed make this an experience that is second to none. The great news is that there are three huts scattered around the island, so if you’re left wanting more, you can extend your stay and continue exploring this little pocket of paradise.