See The Sights
A region blessed with stunning natural landscapes, from the city right through to the bay, there’s no better place to experience New Zealand’s famed natural beauty than right here in Nelson Tasman.
Option 1: Nelson + Abel Tasman
Begin your morning with a stroll along the edge of the Maitai River, a picturesque tidal inlet that runs through the central city, providing a sense of peace and tranquillity for the many walkers, cyclists and paddleboarders who choose to make this part of their daily routine. Crossing a footbridge over the tumbling riverbed, you’ll end up at the Botanic Reserve, the base of the Centre of New Zealand track. The perfect place for a picnic, a 20 minute uphill trek to the viewing platform will reward you with panoramic views out over the central city, Tasman Bay, and the Western Ranges.
Returning to the city along the Maitai River walkway, ponder how to spend the rest of the day. You could take a scenic coastal drive to Cable Bay, the site of the very first cable link between New Zealand and Australia in the 1800’s. Here, take a stroll up into the farmland to the left of the bay, looking out over the towering headlands at the ocean below. Or, if a cycling trip is more your cup of tea, hire a bike from one of the central city bike shops and embark on a tiki-tour of the regions most beautiful scenic gems. The Great Taste Trail provides a unique blend of urban and coastal trail, weaving around the Monaco Peninsula and Waimea Estuary, down quiet country roads dotted with vineyards and orchards, and over gushing rivers and streams.
End the day in the beautiful Kaiteriteri, watching from your beachfront balcony as the sun recedes into the horizon, casting shadows over the golden sands that lay before you. The next morning, you’ll journey out along the sweeping coastline with your kayak guide, your paddle gliding seamlessly through the water as you revel in the beauty of the Abel Tasman National Park. After capturing that picture perfect shot of the iconic Split Apple Rock, you’ll get to experience the park from a different perspective with a stroll under the native forest canopy that lines the coastal track. As you descend into one of the sheltered bays, your scenic cruise will await, ready to show you some more of the park whilst you relax top deck, the calm sea breeze rushing through your hair. An optional add-on if you just can’t get enough of the parks famed natural beauty is a helicopter trip from Awaroa.
Option 2: Golden Bay
The drive over the Takaka Hill is truly mesmerising, offering stunning views of the undulating valleys below, and the marble karst landscapes that featured in Peter Jackson’s famous movies. The first stop today comes just after your gradual descent into the Takaka township. A short stroll underneath the lush forest canopy will take you to a sacred and treasured place, Te Waikoropupu Springs. Containing some of the clearest water ever measured, and holding the title as the largest coldwater springs in the southern hemisphere, the beauty that resides here is truly unrivalled.
After a lunchtime stop at The Mussel Inn, you’ll head out to Puponga, where a short trek across the farmland will land you at one of the regions most photographed, yet most remote, locations. The towering arches that sit proudly on Wharariki Beach have been eroded over many years by the wild seas that crash around the headlands, and people the world over are drawn here by their majestic beauty. Dancing sands encircle avid on-lookers, whilst caves and arches provide welcome relief from the wild, windswept beach.
Staying overnight in Collingwood, the next day will treat you to the scenic splendour of none other than Farewell Spit. Stretching a whopping 35km, the spit is the longest of its kind in the country, and is home to over 90 migratory and wetland bird species. As you journey down the length of the spit, you’ll be treated to unprecedented views of the towering sand-dunes, the historic lighthouse, the gannet colony and Cape Farewell, the northernmost point of the South Island. Alternatively, you could spend your day marvelling at the beauty of the Abel Tasman National Park, kayaking in from Tata Beach, and stopping off at the majestic Tata Islands along the way.
See below for the list of operators featuring in this itinerary.