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10 Nelson Tasman Must-Dos

Tourism NZ


Where the sea breeze is never too far away, the Nelson Tasman region is the South Island’s little corner of paradise. But this is New Zealand, so the dreamy white-sand beaches that make up much of the coast are not just for relaxing. There’s more to discover through hiking, biking, horse riding, kayaking and jumping! Even on land, there are some natural phenomenons worth checking out in the form of fire and water. You’ll find it all within the three national parks of the region: Abel Tasman, Nelson Lakes and Kahurangi.

So take a look at the must-do activities in this sunny section of the South Island!

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1. Hike in Paradise on the Abel Tasman Coastal Track

The Abel Tasman Coastal Track is one of New Zealand’s 9 Great Walks. The multi-day hike takes you to some of the most beautiful and pristine beaches in New Zealand, as well as navigating through native bush. As one of the easier Great Walks, it is definitely a must for anyone with a sense of adventure! It’s also one of the 10 Amazing Things to Do in the Abel Tasman National Park.

Location: Abel Tasman National Park

2. Or kayak in the Abel Tasman National Park

Fancy a day-trip into the Abel Tasman National Park? Then the best way to do it is by kayak to see the wildlife and the famous coastline! There are kayaking trips from Kaiteriteri, Motueka and Golden Bay. Alternatively, look up The Sea Kayak Company and Wilsons.

Location: Abel Tasman National Park
Tourism NZ

3. Jump off the jetty on Lake Rotoiti

Nelson Lakes National Park is just another beautiful place in the Nelson Tasman region. While you can enjoy many alpine hikes at this northern end of the Southern Alps, a must-do still remains jumping off the jetty at Lake Rotoiti – whatever time of year!

Location: Nelson Lakes National Park
Tourism NZ

4. Chill out on Tahunanui Beach

Nelson city is known as the sunniest city in New Zealand and working holidaymakers love it! One awesome place to go is its beach, Tahunanui Beach where you can do all those beachy stuff while being close to cafes for that renowned Kiwi coffee culture.

Location: Nelson City

5. Take on the Nelson Great Rides!

The Nelson Tasman region is a hub for cycle trails! Two of which are considered “great rides”: the easy multi-day Tasman Great Taste Trail or the more demanding Dun Mountain Trail. Book your Great Taste Trail ride with Trail Journeys. Find out more in Mountain Biking in Nelson Tasman.

Location: Nelson Tasman
Tourism NZ

6. Hike the in the wilderness of the Heaphy Track

This mission hike that starts in Golden Bay traverses through the forests and along the coast of the West Coast and Kahurangi National Park. The Great Walk is 78.4km long and can be biked in winter.

Location: Golden Bay
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7. Horse riding in Cable Bay

Not only is Cable Bay simply stunning, but it is a less travelled area worth exploring. For that Lord of the Rings feel, try horse trekking! Find out more in 14 Free and Cheap Things to Do in Nelson.

Location: Cable Bay
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8. See the never-ending burning fire in the Murchison forest

That’s right, there are flames in the Murchison forest that never stop burning. The pretty forest walk to the phenomenon can be accessed through a tour.

Location: Murchison

9. See some of the clearest waters

Some of the clearest water in the world can be found in two locations in Nelson Tasman: Blue Lake in Nelson Lakes National Park and Te Waikoropupu Springs in Golden Bay. The former is a multi-day hike to get to this rewarding destination, or the Te Waikoropupu Springs is super easy to access from Takaka in Golden Bay.

Location: Nelson Lakes National Park and Golden Bay

10. Delve into limestone caves on Takaka Hill

The only way into Golden Bay is guarded by the impressive Takaka Hill, with a few limestone cave offerings. The easiest ones to visit is the free Rawhiti Cave and the Ngarua Cave, which has the remains of the giant extinct moa.

Location: Takaka Hill
Pseudopanax at English Wikipedia

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