Nelson Tasman is one of the few places in New Zealand where you’ll find good temperatures all year round for water-based activities. Many locals say their favourite time to get out in the bay is during sunrise and sunset, when the rays of the new or ending day begin to dazzle across our beautiful waterways.
The sea here is, of course, warmer in summer, but calmer and more predictable during winter, autumn and spring. People are often surprised when they see the backdrop of snow-capped mountains contrasted with people paddling a kayak along the waterfront or circling Fifeshire Rock on a paddleboard.
From Cable Bay, to Tahunanui Beach, to Kaiteriteri Beach and over the Takaka Hill to Golden Bay, there are plenty of options if you love to be on or near the water. Protected from the elements and sheltered by the granite coves and bushy headlands of the Abel Tasman National Park, you can take a leisurely paddle through crystal clear waters along the length of crescent shape beaches. Further inland, you can drift under the footbridge in the Kaiteriteri Beach lagoon, or head further north to explore the caves and archways carved out by the sea in Golden Bay. If you’re lucky, you might even get to spot some playful seal pups, penguins, dolphins, or whales.
There is nothing more relaxing than sitting top deck on a scenic cruise or laying on the bow of a sailing catamaran, taking in the sea breeze and gazing in awe at the iconic rock formations, extraordinary marine life and stunning beaches that surround us. We guarantee you won’t be able to resist the urge to take a dip in the crystal-clear waters the moment the boat is anchored.
If swimming in the sea isn’t your thing, you’ll be pleased to know that swimming spots abound in Nelson Tasman, from the Lee and Aniseed Valleys, to the Motueka River and the saltwater baths. The Richmond Aquatic Centre or Kimi Ora Eco Resort in Kaiteriteri are also perfect for when the days start getting a little cooler, and you’re looking for a hot spa bath or heated swimming pool to warm you through to the core.
Nelson Tasman is also a popular spot for kitesurfing and surfing as there are consistent thermal sea breezes, and you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to locations, from the ever-popular Tahunanui Beach, to the remote and wild west coast beaches of Golden Bay. Challenge yourself to ride the peaks and weave your way through the ‘epicentre’ of Nelson Tasman while you surf at Schnapper Point.
Looking for something a little more thrilling? The Murchison district is renowned as the white-water capital of New Zealand and has some of the best all-round grades of rapids in the country. It’s here that you’ll find the best white-water rafting, white-water kayaking, and jetboating all year round!