Things To Do
Stunning natural landscapes abound in Nelson Tasman. Known for its light at all times of the year, we’re far more than just a summer destination. Our crisp, cloudless days are perfect for enjoying all the outdoor activities our region has to offer such as cycling, kayaking, paddle-boarding, walking and skydiving.
But for those days when the weather is a little cooler, there is still plenty to do in Nelson Tasman. You can explore our central city shopping precinct, or immerse yourself in the region’s culture and heritage with a vast array of art galleries, museums, craft breweries and wineries to choose from.
Regardless of the time of year, your visit to the extraordinary Nelson Tasman region will be unforgettable.
See below for some suggested itineraries, or for personalised itineraries and advice, contact our regional experts at the Nelson i-SITE on 03-548-2304 or email them at email@example.com.
Nelson City & Surrounds
There are plenty of options to explore our extraordinary city once you arrive. Start your day enjoying the serenity of a calm Autumn morning on a paddle-board with Moana SUP. Or, take a lovely walk through Queens Gardens and along the Maitai River to the Geographical Centre of NZ. At the top you will experience 360 degree views of our stunning city, waterfront and Tasman Bay, encapsulated by the lush green hilltops behind and the rocky mountain ranges further afield.
If art and heritage is your style, Nelson City has an exceptional art and heritage precinct, with options like Historic South Street, The Suter Art Gallery, Christ Church Cathedral, Founders Heritage Park and Jens Hansen to name a few. Alternatively, hop on the NBus to Annesbrook and take a short stroll over to the World Of WearableArt & Classic Cars Museum. Allow an hour or two to truly marvel at the extraordinary garments by artists from New Zealand and around the globe.
For the more active, why not take a bike ride along the Great Taste Trail? This beautiful coastal and inland route will take you past a number of our award-winning cafes, wineries and craft breweries. When in Mapua, we recommend stopping off at the Sprig & Fern Tavern to quench your thirst with some local beer and delicious food before continuing on your journey. Trail Journeys Nelson offer hire and transport options from the start of the trail in Nelson City, Mapua and Kaiteriteri, whilst Nelson Cycle Hire offer hire and tour options from their base at Nelson Airport.
Upon your return to Nelson, there are a number of accommodation options on offer to suit your needs. Trailways Hotel, Delorenzo’s Studio Apartments and The Hotel Nelson are excellent choices and are located in close proximity to our incredible central city dining precinct.
Grand Mercure Nelson Monaco offers boutique accommodation by the water, set amongst beautiful grounds and located just five minutes’ drive from the Nelson Airport (Nelson City Taxis can help you out here). Or, if a beachy setting is more your style, Tahuna Beach Kiwi Holiday Park is located adjacent to the long stretch of Tahunanui Beach, offering a full range of accommodation types.
Abel Tasman National Park
The Abel Tasman National Park is a must-do in the Nelson Tasman region and is an extraordinary place to visit all year round.
Our crisp, cloudless mornings and calm, clear waters set the scene for an unforgettable experience in the park, regardless of the season. We are about far more than just golden sandy beaches - our walkways and scenic reserves offer protected and pristine national environments in which you can explore and we have an array of activities for you to enjoy during your time in the National Park.
Motueka is the gateway town to the Abel Tasman National Park. Start the day with an adrenalin fix at Skydive Abel Tasman, boasting epic scenery and mind blowing views of both South & North Islands. Or, if staying on the ground is more your style, the main street is the place to be, offering an array of extraordinary artisan and hospitality businesses to explore.
Venture further north to the two entry towns of the Abel Tasman. Kaiteriteri and Marahau offer an extensive range of activities to help you explore our stunning coastal paradise (and Nelson City Taxis offer set fares between Nelson & these areas).
In Kaiteriteri, Abel Tasman Sea Shuttles, Wilsons Abel Tasman and Abel Tasman Aquataxi offer day cruises around the National Park, whilst Abel Tasman Sailing Adventures provide a variety of catamaran sailing options.
Either way, a visit to pristine Awaroa Beach is a must. Awaroa has a very unique history – in 2016, 2.3 million dollars was raised by New Zealanders to purchase Awaroa Beach and gift it back to the country. Not far from the beach is Awaroa Lodge where you can enjoy a delicious lunch at their pizzeria or restaurant. You can then take a walk through the park to be picked up at a different beach if you choose, either returning on the cruise or by water taxi. Both Kaiteriteri Kayaks and Wilsons also offer guided and un-guided kayaking options for those that want to try a bit of everything in one day.
You can experience Kaiteriteri with dinner at Kai Restaurant & Bar and a nights’ stay overlooking the stunning golden beach from Kaiteriteri Reserve Apartments, or enjoy tranquillity further out in the park at Awaroa Lodge, Meadowbank Homestead or Torrent Bay Lodge.
Five minutes drive north at the entrance to the National Park is the town of Marahau.
From here you can embark on numerous kayaking trips with Abel Tasman Kayaks or Marahau Sea Kayaks, or if you’re feeling slightly more adventurous, Abel Tasman Canyons provide a fun filled, exhilarating day out. Marahau Water Taxis and Abel Tasman Aquataxi also provide quick and easy water taxi access to most points along the National Park to enable exploration of the Great Walk.
Regardless of your activities, you can unwind, relax and refuel with lunch or dinner at Hooked on Marahau before a stay at Marahau Beach Camp or Abel Tasman Lodge. The Lodge is a tranquil haven and provides spacious private chalets set in beautiful grounds.
Takaka & Golden Bay
*Please refer to the NZTA website for the latest updates on the Takaka Hill road over the Easter period.
Travel approximately two hours over the Takaka Hill and into Golden Bay where you will discover an endless array of places to explore. A stroll down the main street will reveal the vibrant character of the region, showcasing the work of the very active and well-recognised arts and artisan community. Spend the morning browsing shops, visiting art galleries and enjoying some of the delicious food and beverage on offer.
Then, travel approximately six kilometres west of the Takaka township and you will find the largest freshwater springs in New Zealand. Containing some of the clearest water ever measured, the stunning Te Waikoropupū Springs are a Māori treasure held in high cultural and spiritual regard.
One day simply isn’t enough to immerse yourself in the vibrancy and beauty of the Golden Bay region – whether you are looking for a hotel, a motel, a lodge, a backpacker hostel or a campground, there is no shortage of places for you to rest your head for the night.
A highlight of your trip to Golden Bay will be a trip with Farewell Spit Eco Tours out to the world-recognised bird sanctuary on Farewell Spit – a nature and bird-lovers delight. This trip will take you to Cape Farewell, and along the natural sand spit to view the historic lighthouse and explore its intriguing reserve. Trips are tide dependent, so ensure you allocate a full day.
Alternatively, you can enjoy Farewell Spit and Nelson Tasman’s other stunning natural landscapes from up above with a scenic flight. Reid Helicopters offer a variety of tours, including one tailored especially for LOTR and Hobbit fans, stopping off to explore film sites such as Mt Olympus and Mt Owen.
Head south on State Highway 6 for approximately two hours which will bring you to Murchison, a town with rural charm and natural beauty. The township is an ode to a gold mining past, with many buildings still in their original form from the late 1800's and early 1900's. With many tourist attractions and activities, there is something for all ages, tastes and budgets.
Murchison dubs itself the ‘white-water capital’ of the country as there are rivers everywhere. Enjoy a mind-blowing 40 minutes of pure thrill at 85km/hour and ride through the beautiful scenery of a protected scenic reserve with Buller Canyon Jet – an experience you definitely don’t want to miss!
If your desire for adventure has been satisfied for the day, you may choose to enjoy a leisurely afternoon gold panning at the swing bridge or hiking to some of Murchison’s renowned scenic vantage points. Alternatively, you may choose to extend the thrill and go white water rafting or ziplining instead.
As you travel back up SH6 to Nelson, make sure to turn right at the historic rest stop of Kawatiri, detour to St Arnaud and get a glimpse at another of our regions three National Parks – Nelson Lakes National Park. Check out the ever popular jetty on the Lake Rotoiti shoreline with an incredible backdrop.