The heat of summer and being back at work is upon us and so is the craving for our next holiday. New Zealand has many jewels hidden in its landscapes. One of these to be discovered is at the top of the South in Nelson/Tasman. The Abel Tasman National Park is surrounded overhead with glorious tree ferns and mosses underfoot, criss-crossed with bubbling rivers and waterfalls, and shaped by magnificent turquoise bays. It is teaming with bird and marine life and is easily accessed by boat, kayak, bicycle, car and foot.
Fly into Nelson from any New Zealand Airport or come by Road or Ferry. Either way, do come. Nelson/Tasman is a great holiday destination, if not for any other reason but its length of sunshine hours each year.
Before heading West and North West around the Nelson Bays on route to the Abel Tasman do stop off at a local favourite – Tahunanui Beach – for oysters or the local fish of the day, cocktails and a swim in the calm, warm ocean. An overnight in Nelson on a Friday night will give you live music at The Boathouse, or other local top restaurants and great shopping the next day, especially at the weekly Saturday morning market. The Dutch stand at the back of the market, and Kiwi Kai or Maori Flatbread somewhere in the middle are great choices for a bite and you can sit right there in the market and absorb the bustling jovial atmosphere.
An afternoon at Founders Park will give you a great introduction to Nelson’s early beginnings and a couple of hours spent at the Gardens of the World in Hope is a great place to chill and enjoy a picnic.
There are many other local spots, like Twin Bridges Reserve in Hope; Spooner’s Tunnel in Wakefield; and the Nelson Lakes, but do research how to find them before you go.
Heading Westwards around the coast you’ll come across loads of arty crafty places that make pottery, jewellery, unique glass pieces, sculpture, paintings and other artwork. Rabbit Island is another good swimming stop-off. Explore the treasure trove of goods at the apple-shed stores on Mapua Wharf with an ice-cream from Hamish’s in hand. Consider hiring an electric bike ($99 for the day) and exploring Waimea Estuary or taking the Mapua Ferry across to Rabbit Island for another swim.
Next stop, Motueka. Highly recommended is the longer scenic route via Ruby Bay towards quirky Motueka where the Smoking Barrel is your next stop for delicious decadent doughnuts!
Just around the corner, the golden sands of Keiteriteri and Split Apple Rock will give you a taster of Golden Bay on the opposite side of the Tasman. Your entry point to the Abel Tasman begins a few kilometres down the road from here or take State Highway 60 straight to hippy Takaka and explore from there. Wanui Falls is a great starting point and easily reached within a few hours. Takaka is a fabulous otherworld place to spend a few nights – great food (try a pizza at the Dangerous Kitchen), vibe and shops to browse. The Takaka information centre also will give you numerous Abel Tasman adventures to choose from.
So, book a place (well in advance is advised) and make sure to pack in your swimming togs, walking shoes and camera. Happy adventuring!
And, if you haven’t got here yet and need help with all the moving logistics and immigration paperwork, contact our office at email@example.com. We are very excited to share our journey with you.
Article by Lindsay Neumann for Great Life Immigration Services
Photographs of Nelson/Tasman by Lindsay and Scharll Neumann