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Renowned for its stunning golden sands, sweeping granite coastline, lush native bush and crystal-clear waters, a visit to the Abel Tasman National Park is a must-do on any travellers itinerary. What's more, this pristine paradise can be explored in your own way, and at your own pace. So, whether you fancy a multi-day hike along the spectacular Abel Tasman Coastal Track, if a short scenic cruise or kayak is more your style, or if you'd rather just relax on one of many beautiful beaches, you'll find something to suit your interests here. If you just can't get enough, you can even spend the night in the midst of the park at one of the luxury lodges, DOC huts or glamping by the beach!
2. Stroll around the markets
Immerse yourself in the natural abundance of Nelson Tasman at the weekly markets, which are held on Wednesdays and Saturdays in Nelson City, or on Sundays in Motueka. A drawcard for locals and visitors alike, the markets showcase the extraordinary artists and artisans that call the region home, and offer ample opportunity to get a taste for Nelson Tasman's unique culture. A selection of boutique stalls and food carts adorn the car-parks and laneways, offering everything from goat milk soap, to handcrafted jewellery, manuka honey, chutneys and even the world famous Pic's Peanut Butter.
3. Savour local cuisine
The region is abuzz as a dining and entertainment destination all year round, with alfresco dining, waterfront restaurants, quirky cocktail bars, farmers markets and vineyard restaurants characterising the Nelson Tasman culinary scene. Artisanal local flavours are heroed on menus from the city through to the bay, whilst you can sample them at the source when you visit the weekend markets or explore the artisan, craft beer, or wine trails on a guided or self-guided tour. Popular dining destinations include the Mapua Wharf, Wakefield Quay and the Upper Trafalgar Dining Precinct, whilst food carts, microbreweries and quirky cafes are discoverable down hidden laneways or by venturing further afield.
4. Sample craft beer, cider, spirits or wine
Whether you're visiting one of our 11 craft breweries, tasting your way around the 28 cellar doors, visiting a distillery or simply kicking back at one of the spectacular waterfront restaurants, one cannot visit Nelson Tasman without sampling a selection of local artisan beverages. Our consistently sunny climate and fertile soils allow us to produce the high quality ingredients that our passionate artisan producers then craft into something truly extraordinary for the taste-buds. What's more, from the picturesque Waimea Plains through to the rolling Moutere Hills, an array of stunning natural landscapes provide the perfect backdrop for a spontaneous vineyard lunch or a cycle tour through the orchards.
5. Have a wellness experience
Wellness comes easily in Nelson Tasman, where it's possible to escape from the hustle and bustle of every day life as you immerse in stunning natural landscapes, a creative arts scene and delectable cuisine. Combine nature and wellness in the depths of the Abel Tasman National Park, staying in beachfront lodges, relaxing on gorgeous golden beaches and recharging amongst lush native bush. Discover the true meaning of paradise on your own private island, be pampered at a day spa or try forest bathing and stargazing at a wellness retreat by the Maruia River.
An extraordinary depth of passion for the arts shines through in this historic city, where stunning murals are discoverable at every turn, and cobblestone streets are juxstaposed alongside spectacularly modern art galleries. Go back in time with a visit to South Street, New Zealand's oldest fully preserved street, or spend the afternoon at Founder's Heritage Park, where character buildings house passionate artisan businesses, and windmills, freighter planes and red railway trains form just part of the scenery. Make your way around the art galleries and studios that stretch from the city through to the bay, including the ceramicists, sculptors and artists in Upper Moutere and the coolstore studios in Mapua.
8. Visit Golden Bay
Golden Bay is home to some of the Nelson Tasman region's most stunning natural landscapes, and we guarantee that what lay on the other side of the Takaka Hill is well worth the short drive to get there. From a short trek over farmland to reach the wild and wonderful Wharariki Beach, to a guided nature tour along the majestic length of Farewell Spit, to viewing some of the clearest water ever measured at Te Waikoropupū Springs, the adventures to be had here are endless. There are plenty of accommodation and dining options stretching from Wainui Bay all the way around to Collingwood, and if you have time, it's well worth checking out some of the galleries, shops, markets and studios set in the creative village of Takaka.
9. Try a Great Walk or Great Ride
Nelson Tasman is home to a network of leisurely cycle and mountainbike trails, as well as many spectacular walking and hiking tracks. Some of the most popular are the Great Walks and Great Rides, most of which can be broken down into smaller sections suitable for half day or single day journeys. Leisurely cyclists will love exploring the scenic, foodie and artistic tastes along Tasman's Great Taste Trail whilst those looking for some rough terrain may prefer mountainbiking the alpine trail of The Coppermine. A multi-day hiking adventure along The Heaphy Track promises diverse and rugged scenery as you trek through alpine meadows and rolling valleys, whilst the Abel Tasman Coastal Track is suitable for walkers at all levels, with the option to break the journey up with kayaking, scenic cruises, beachfront accommodation or R&R time on the beach.
10. See the Nelson Lakes National Park
The Nelson Lakes are truly picture perfect all year round, whether they are basking under the warm Autumn sun, or flaunting a fresh coating of snowfall in Winter. The National Park can be accessed from the alpine village of St Arnaud, where nestled amongst undulating mountains lay 16 glacial lakes just waiting to be discovered. The most popular (and most accessible) lake is Lake Rotoiti, offering a range of leisurely lakeside walks through forest alive with birdsong. As the enchanting calls of tuis and bellbirds echo through the treetops, day walkers will be treated to the spectacular scenery and wonderful waterfalls that this little pocket of paradise is renowned for.