Top 10 things to do in Nelson Tasman

Visit the Nelson Tasman region to explore three different national parks, sunbathe on golden beaches and savour the local wines.

1. Explore Abel Tasman National Park

Abel Tasman National Park is situated near the top of the South Island and is accessible by walking, cruising or kayak. The sheltered bays of the Park are perfect for sailing and sea kayaking, also offering opportunities to see the seals and dolphins who regularly play in these coastal waters. If you prefer to explore by land, the Abel Tasman Great Walk follows the coastline through native bush alongside limestone cliffs and along golden beaches.

2. Visit the home of hops and sample beer

Due to its perfect growing conditions, Nelson Tasman is the home of all of New Zealand's hops, and to the South Island’s first commercial winery. It's also the craft brewing capital of the country and has been named the Top Cider City in the world by National Geographic. Spend the day exploring and sampling the local product or visit during annual festivals such as MarchFest, Beervana and the New Zealand Cider Festival.

3. Skydive over both the North and South Island

Take to the skies to skydive over Abel Tasman National Park, where you can see both the North and South Islands of New Zealand. The landscape will take your breath away as you fly over mountains, bush-clad hills, rivers, orchards, vineyards and golden beaches. Or, if you prefer to appreciate Nelson Tasman’s beauty from the inside of an aircraft, there are plenty of helicopter and scenic flights on offer. 

4. Explore the Founder's Heritage Park Museum

One of the top family-friendly attractions in Nelson, the Founders Heritage Park lets you step back in time. The village of gorgeous character buildings are set in lush gardens. While you're there, walk through the Bristol Freighter Plane, visit the Hop and Beer Museum, ride the railway train or browse the goodies in the windmill shop.

5. Visit Nelson Lakes National Park

Nelson is a hub of outdoors activities, with three national parks on the town's doorstep. Nelson Lakes is only an hour and a half from Nelson and features deep blu lakes set against golden alpine hills and dense beech forest. Visit for a day to swim in Lake Rotoiti, go for a short walk along the lake front, or even walk a little further for an overnight stay in Bushline or Speargrass huts. 

6. Go to Golden Bay and Te Waikoropupū Springs

No trip to Golden Bay is complete without a visit to Te Waikoropupu Springs, the largest coldwater springs in the Southern Hemisphere. Or take a tour of the 35km Farewell Spit, home to a vast bird sanctuary and various other wildlife. Opt for a tour that also includes a visit to Cape Farewell, the South Island's most northerly point. Here you’ll get to enjoy stunning scenic views from the lighthouse and spot seals basking on the rocks below. 

7. Visit the Nelson Classic Car Museum

Be inspired by the Nelson Classic Car Museum(opens in new window), which displays 150 iconic cars from more than 100 years of motoring. This is one of the best things to do inside in Nelson, so it's great to visit with kids or on a rainy day. 

8. Experience a white-water rush

The drive to Murchison from Nelson City is a must-do for anyone who loves a dose of adventure. The Murchison ‘four rivers plain’ offers some of the best all-grades white-water kayaking and rafting in New Zealand, world-class fly fishing and an unforgettable jetboating experience through the Buller Canyon.

9. Discover local art

Nelson Tasman is home to one of the largest numbers of working artists and galleries in the country, and art in every form is represented here. From painters, sculptors, glass-blowers, jewellers, writers and creators, it is easy to see the depth of passion for the arts in the region. Visit a local market, gallery or studio and buy a unique gift directly from the artist who made it.

10. Cycle Tasman’s Great Taste Trail

Take in the region's stunning views by bicycle on Tasman's Great Taste Trail. The trail can be done as a whole, or in sections, but whichever you choose your path will take you to vineyards, breweries, orchards, art galleries and boutique shops. Or, if some off-road adventure is more your style, Nelson Tasman has a selection of mountain-bike parks, including Kaiteriteri, Codgers and Wairoa Gorge.

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