Many of Nelson Tasman’s stunning natural landscapes are best explored on foot, and we have a diverse range of well-maintained trails and tracks to suit every fitness level. Whether you’re looking for a multi-day challenge or a short family stroll our region is paradise for anyone who enjoys the great outdoors.
Easy walks are spread across the region including the very popular 20-minute walk to the Centre of New Zealand lookout where you’ll see panoramic views over Tasman Bay, the buzzing centre of Nelson City, and the striking mountain ranges along the horizon. Enjoy a short stroll back down toward Nelson City along the banks of the Maitai River and up to the Branford Park picnic area where there are a selection of waterholes to cool off in.
Nelson Tasman’s national parks are home to two of New Zealand’s Great Walks – The Abel Tasman Coast Track and the Heaphy Track. Kahurangi National Park and the Heaphy Track will tempt more experienced hikers looking for a challenge, with untracked wilderness, and rocky ridges set amongst a vast landscape of stunning native bush. Meanwhile, the Abel Tasman Coast Track is a beautiful and relaxing coastal walk, easily accessed and well serviced by transport operators and suitable for half day, single day or multi-day adventures. With its golden sands, lush native forest, clear azure waters and trees alive with birdsong, you’ll see first-hand the result of the many projects that are currently restoring this magical part of the world to its former glory. There are DOC huts, campsites and lodges dotted along the trail, giving you plenty of accommodation options to choose from.
Alternatively, a short one hour and twenty-minute drive from Nelson City will land you at Lake Rotoiti in the Nelson Lakes National Park. From here, you can take a leisurely stroll around Lake Rotoiti amongst forests alive with birdsong, or delve deeper into the park to access Lake Rotoroa and a variety of other longer hikes and tracks, ranging in length from a couple of hours to several days. A detour from the Travers Sabine Circuit through stunning alpine landscapes and rushing river valleys is suitable for experienced hikers only, who will be treated to the beauty of Lake Rotomairewhenua (Blue Lake), the clearest lake in the world.
The region is also home to plenty of spectacular waterfalls such as Whiskey Falls, Whispering Falls and Wainui Falls, most within a reasonably short walking distance and perfect for day trips. Labyrinth Rocks in Takaka is an extraordinary place for kids to visit, with its limestone outcrops and weaving pathways, and special surprises dotted around the rocks for children to discover.