- Beaches & Bays
The closest beach to the Nelson city centre, Tahunanui is a recreational paradise in the form of a 1.75km stretch of sand. A beautiful and safe family-friendly beach, Tahunanui borders the glistening waters of Tasman Bay, with a range of iconic landmarks visible just off the waterfront.
Locals and holidaymakers are often seen paddling or swimming out to Fifeshire Rock, Haulashore Island or the historic Boulder Bank to explore the attractions nestled along the coast.
At the eastern end of the beach, low tide reveals an exciting collection of rockpools, abundant with small crabs, fish and sea-snails left lingering with the ebb and flow of the ocean. Just above the rockpools is a pier extending into the bay, a site where keen fisherman flock at all times of the year to cast their line and reel in a catch. Tasman Bay thrives with marine life, including snapper, kahawai, blue cod and kingfish, and the Tahunanui waterfront is often the place where stingrays, dolphins and orca are spotted playing amongst the gentle waves.
The word Tahunanui is loosely translated in Māori to mean big (nui) sandbank (tahuna), and it certainly lives up to its name. The beach itself is a popular destination for sunbathing, swimming, paddle boarding, kitesurfing and kayaking, whilst behind the rolling sand dunes is an outdoor playground like no other. People of all ages will have endless hours of fun indulging in everything the beach reserve has to offer, with a hydroslide, bmx track, model railway, go-kart track, mini golf course, zoo, playground, skatepark, roller skating rink, laser tag course, trampoline park, sack slide, beach volleyball court and bumper boat park just a few steps away from the sand dunes.
Whether bringing your own food or indulging in some fish and chips by the sea, an array of BBQ and picnic areas are available for anyone to use. The cafes and restaurants that border the beach offer spectacular seaside dining experiences, from uniquely-styled pubs to live performance venues.
Dogs are not permitted on the two eastern thirds of Tahunanui Beach, and dog walking is only permitted on the back beach.
Photo credits: (1-9) www.nelsontasman.nz, (10) Tamzin Henderson