About the Nelson Tasman Region
Including Motueka, Kaiteriteri, & Golden Bay
Nelson Tasman, the geographical centre of New Zealand, is a region renowned for warm sunshine, fine beaches, lakes, mountains and native forests. The City of Nelson is large enough to offer all the services and amenities of a large city yet is small enough to be intimate, welcoming and friendly.
Nelson Tasman Sunshine! Great Weather All Year Round
The Nelson Tasman region is also known for having the highest number of sunshine hours of anywhere in New Zealand. Add to this the attraction of fine foods, superb wines, an innovative craft industry, spectacular scenery and traditional Kiwi hospitality and you can understand why the Nelson Tasman region is a place to which holiday makers flock all year round.
To see how great the weather really is in Motueka and Nelson, check the weather forecast for the coming week on the Meteorological Service of New Zealand www.metservice.com.
Ideas for Enjoying the Beautiful Top of the South
You can easily spend three days (or more) exploring this beautiful part of New Zealand’s South Island. And here are some suggestions to get you started.
Abel Tasman National Park – Day One
Grab some water, something for lunch, and a beach towel, then drive to Kaiteriteri to catch a water taxi departing around 9 am. After about 45 minutes of cruising the clear sea water you will be amazed at the beautiful coastline of Abel Tasman National Park. Depending on what you feel like doing, you can disembark the water taxi and spend time relaxing on a stunning golden sand beach and swim in the clear turquoise water, or walk through the forest, listening to the native birds, and appreciating georgous bays and scenery across Tasman Bay.
There are plenty of varied walks – from a gentle stroll for an hour or two, to more challenging treks from one bay to another, such as the very popular four-hour walk from Medlands Bay to Anchorage. And when you are ready, catch your pre-booked return cruise on the water taxi back to Kaiteriteri.
While you were out in Abel Tasman National Park, you will have no doubt seen people sea kayaking. This is also a wonderful way to explore the stunning coastline, and you can choose between a guided tour or freedom rentals.
Completely guided tours of Abel Tasman National Park are available and are very worthwhile. For example, spend a day with a local marine biologist and learn all about the native flora and fauna, plus see places in the National Park that you can’t ordinarly get to.
Takaka Hill, Golden Bay & Farewell Spit – Day Two
The drive from Awatea Tasman Bay to the delightful village of Takaka is spectacular! You just have to take your time as you wind your way up to Hawk’s Lookout, where you can stop and appreciate the magnificent view after a short 10 minute boardwalk to the viewing platform suspended above the Riwaka Valley. There is a really interesting marble and limestone Ngarua Caves nearby, with fossilised remains of the giant Moa that once roamed the area.
From Takaka Hill you can also explore areas of Abel Tasman National Park that few people go to, such as Harwood’s Hole, which at 357 metres (1170 ft), is New Zealand’s deepest vertical shaft.
At the village of Takaka you can stroll through shops selling local arts & crafts and fill up on yummy bits to eat & drink at the cafés.
There are some choices for you to make – see the Te Waikoropupu Springs (which hold the world record for the clarity of their fresh water) and the facinating Grove and on to the Fairy Falls that are within the northern reaches of Abel Tasman National Park. Alternatively you might wish to drive to the village of Collingwood and then to the beginning of Farewell Spit. There are some great walks from here; one from the lookout café to Fossil Point; another is to walk Wharariki Beach with its stone outcrops and tidal sea-pools where Fur seals often play.
If you want to visit the unique Farewell Spit up close, join one of the four wheel safaris operated by Farewell Spit Eco Tours. Over 100 species of birds visit this enormous sand-spit each year, some from as far afield as the Arctic circle!
You can also venture into Kahurangi National Park from Upper Takaka – take the road south toward the Cobb Valley and trek into the hydro-electic dam.
To drive to Takaka from your Motueka boutique accommodation at Awatea Tasman Bay, takes about 1 hour (58 km), and from Takaka it takes about another hour’s drive to reach the beginning of Farewell Spit (40km).
Ruby Coast, Mapua Wharf & Wineries – Day Three
Spend a day looking around the craft galleries along the Ruby Coast Highway to, and in the village of, Mapua. Then enjoy a traditional Fish’n Chips lunch from the world famous (in New Zealand) Smokehouse take-away at Mapua Wharf www.mapuawharf.co.nz. You can also hire a bike for a day at the Wharf and take a ferry across to Rabbit Island and ride along the beach and through the pine forest on the island. If you feel like exploring some wineries, then ask the very helpful people at Wheelie Fantastic www.wheeliefantastic.co.nz about the bicycle route to Upper Moutere via a selection of outstanding wineries.
Stay in the Centre of the Nelson Tasman Region
The best way to enjoy all or most of the activities around Motueka & Abel Tasman National Park, would be to base yourselves in the Motueka area for approximately three to four days (more if you want some leisure time after those strenuous daily adventures) at Awatea Tasman Bay’s boutique accommodation. We are only minutes from Kaiteriteri Beach (and water taxis to Abel Tasman National Park), as well as being just minutes off the main road to Takaka, Waikoropupu (Pupu) Springs, Golden Bay, Farewell Spit, and more. Awatea Tasman Bay is also convenient to a walk on the summit of Takaka Hill, part of the QEII National Trust covenanted land in the area.
Eating Out in Motueka
Just 10 mins from Awatea Tasman Bay!
Enjoy Lunch at Local Motueka Cafés
During the day, cafés in Motueka serve great breakfasts, lunches, morning and afternoon cakes, snacks, etc., along with espresso coffee and speciality teas. Stay a week and try a different café every day!
- Patisserie Royale, 152 High Street Motueka
- The Red Beret, 145 High Street Motueka
- Antonius European Bakery www.eurobakery.co.nz – European style breads, pastries, and cakes, made right here in Motueka. Address: 235 High Street Motueka
- T.O.A.D Hall www.toadhallmotueka.co.nz – also offering evening meals in summer and serving up wood-fired pizza & BBQ meals using locally sourced ingredients and free range meats. Address: 502 High Street Motueka, 03 528 6456
- Muses Café, 136 High Street Motueka
- The Smoking Barrel, 105 High Street Motueka
Evening Meals Served by Restaurants in Motueka
A delicious evening meal can be had at number of restaurants, taverns, and bistros in Motueka, just a 10 minute drive from your boutique Cottage accommodation at Awatea Tasman Bay. Here are a number you might like to try:
- Simply Indian www.motuekaindian.co.nz – consistently serving up tasty Indian meals no matter what you like (vegetarian dishes available). Address: 130 High Street Motueka, telephone 03 528 6364, take-away available
- Chokdee Thai Cuisine www.chokdee.co.nz – Thai, Malaysian, Chinese restaurant. Address: 109 High Street Motueka, telephone 03 528 0318, take-away available
- Sprig & Fern Tavern www.sprigandferntaverns.co.nz – specialty beers brewed in Nelson with gourmet pizzas, burgers and steaks. Address: Wallace Street Motueka (opposite i-Site), telephone 03 528 4684
- Elevation Restaurant www.elevationmotueka.co.nz – café with pizza, steak, fish and other seafood selections. Address: 218 High Street Motueka, telephone 03 528 6103
- Precinct Dining Co www.precinctdining.com – stylish café and restaurant. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Address: 108 High Street Motueka, telephone 03 528 5332
- Armadillo’s Bar & Restaurant www.armadillosrestaurantsnz.com – generous meal portions and a good range of choices in the Post Office Hotel on the corner of High and Pah Streets. Address: 122 High Street Motueka, telephone 03 528 9890
- Lanna Thai Cuisine www.lannathaimotueka.com – Motueka’s newest Thai restaurant serving authentic Thai dishes. Address: 134 High Street Motueka, telephone 03 528 9458, take-away available
To help you understand where many of these cafés & restaurants are, download the following handy PDF map showing approximate drive times from Awatea Tasman Bay.
Other Dining Options
Eating Out in Kaiteriteri & Marahau
Kaiteriteri is a 12 km (18 minute) drive from Awatea Tasman Bay, and is where you can book and catch a water taxi out into the Abel Tasman National Park. Further along Kaiteriteri-Sandy Bay Road (or via the shorter route on Riwaka-Marahau Road, 16.5 km, 25 minutes drive from Awatea Tasman Bay’s boutique accommodation) you’ll find the village of Marahau. Many of the kayaking tours depart from Marahau, and you can also begin walking into the Abel Tasman National Park from here! Here are three cafés you might like to try for lunch, or maybe dinner:
- Kai Restaurant & Bar www.experiencekaiteriteri.co.nz – just opposite the beach at Kaiteriteri. Address: Corner of Inlet Road & Kaiteriteri-Sandy Bay Road Kaiteriteri, telephone 03 527 8507
- Hooked on Marahau Café, Beer Garden & Restaurant www.hookedonmarahau.com – opposite the beach in Marahau. Address: 229 Marahau Sandy Bay Road Marahau, telephone 03 527 8576
- Park Café www.parkcafe.co.nz – funky café located at the start of Abel Tasman Coastal Track in Marahau is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with pastas, seafood, and specialty pizzas. Address: 350 Harvey Road Marahau, telephone 03 527 8270
Eating Out in Mapua & Moutere
It is worth taking the 30 minute (28 km) drive, via the Ruby Coast Scenic Route, to Mapua Wharf from Awatea Tasman Bay’s boutique Cottage accommodation. There are some great restaurants, bars, and galleries, plus if you’re into cycling, you can catch a ferry from Mapua Wharf to Rabbit Island with many fun cycling trails amongst the pine tree plantation.
- Jester House Café www.jesterhouse.co.nz – award winning café in a lovely country setting, open daily for lunch. Address: 320 Aporo Road, Tasman, telephone 03 526 6742
- Jelly Fish Café and Bar www.jellyfishmapua.co.nz – modern mediterranean influenced cuisine located right on the water’s edge, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Address: Shed 1 Mapua Wharf Mapua, telephone 03 540 2028
- The Apple Shed Café and Bar www.theappleshed.nz – also located on the water’s edge in Mapua, has great local fish & seafood offerings and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Address: Shed 1 Mapua Wharf Mapua, telephone 03 540 3381
- Rimu Wine Bar www.rimugrove.co.nz/the-wine-bar/ – opposite Jelly Fish & The Apple Shed at Mapua Wharf, has great selection of local wines, craft beers, and light meals. Address: 404/6 Aranui Road, Mapua Wharf Mapua, telephone 03 540 2580
If you are looking for a rural retreat, try the co-operative run café & restaurant at Riverside Community, which is located in Lower Moutere (about a 20 minute, 16 km drive from Awatea Tasman Bay). Or perhaps you’re interested in sampling some crafted brew made from the locally grown hops – then Upper Moutere (a 29 km or 30 minute drive) is definitely worth checking out.
- Riverside Café Restaurant www.riverside-cafe.co.nz – country-style food using free-range, organic, and community grown produce, they are open for lunch every day. Address: 289 Main Road Lower Moutere, telephone 03 526 7447
- Moutere Inn www.moutereinn.co.nz – New Zealand’s oldest pub specialising in really good pub food and offering a huge range of local wines, cider & New Zealand brewed beers, they are open every day for lunch and dinner. Address: 1406 Moutere Highway, Upper Moutere, telephone 03 543 2759
Activities & Things To Do
Stay at Awatea Tasman Bay’s boutique accommodation and enjoy some of the following activities that are based in the Motueka and Abel Tasman National Park area:
- Mountain Biking – within 18 mins (bikekaiteriteri.co.nz)
- Playing Golf – within 10 mins (motuekagolf.co.nz, www.tasmangolfclub.com)
- Fly Fishing – within 5 mins (www.nzfishing.com)
- Wine Trail – within 5 mins (winenelson.co.nz, www.baytoursnelson.co.nz)
- Craft Breweries & Pubs – within 8 mins (www.beertourist.co.nz, www.hopfederation.co.nz)
- Moutere Artisans – within 30 mins (moutereartisans.co.nz)
- Find a bargain & sample local produce at a weekend market – Saturdays in Nelson (www.nelsonmarket.co.nz) and Sundays in Motueka (motuekasundaymarket.co.nz)
- Horse Treks – within 30 mins (www.nelsonhorsetreks.co.nz, www.horsetreksnz.co.nz)
- Be amazed at WOW (World of Wearable Art & Classic Car Museum) – within 50 mins (www.wowcars.nz)
- Rabbit Island Cycling – within 30 mins (www.trailjourneysnelson.co.nz, www.wheeliefantastic.co.nz)