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south island itineraries

motueka - nelson


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New Zealand ItinerariesTravel distance is approximately 49kms (31 miles).
Allow at least 0.75 hours drive time (not including stops).

Because your journey is relatively short today you can choose to spend more time in the Golden Bay area or plan on getting early into Nelson to get a head start on all the great things there are to see and do.

The road from Motueka back towards Nelson hugs the beautiful coastline, making it easy to stop at all the stunning beaches on route to Nelson.

Some notable stops along the route to Nelson include:

Mapua is a charming seaside settlement with cafes on the waterfront. Watching the sun set on the historic Mapua Wharf whilst eating fish and chips is highly recommended! There is also an aquarium, galleries and eco-tourism estuary tours.

The pebble beach at Ruby Bay is 'alive' with sea-life. This is a fabulous picnic spot with sea views and a camping ground.

Waimea Inlet is the largest estuary in the South Island and considered to be of outstanding biological importance. The inlet is popular for fishing, whitebaiting, water-skiing, sea kayaking, jogging, walking, duck hunting and bird watching. The most popular areas of the Waimea Inlet are Tahunanui ‘back beach’, Monaco, Rabbit Island and Mapua.

Coffee lovers will delight in the array of cafes on offer in Richmond. Richmond is a large retail area with a shopping mall, restaurants, Aquatic Centre, galleries and much more. This is a great area to buy fresh farm produce and berries from the roadside stalls and berry farms.

Nelson offers a vibrant and diverse culture of beach, bush and art lovers so you are guaranteed to find plenty to see and do! Located at the top northwest corner of the South Island, Nelson regularly receives New Zealand’s highest sunshine hours.

Nelson is the gateway to the beautiful Abel Tasman National Park as well as the stunning beaches of Golden Bay.

Nelson offers a huge array of diverse accommodation, including backpackers, luxury lodges, international-standard hotels, ocean front motels, quaint bed & breakfasts, holiday parks and homestays.

Dining options in the region are glorious! Imagine sun-kissed fruits, farm fresh organic vegetables, prime beef and succulent seafood! Choose to dine among the vines at a winery or fresh seafood with fabulous views along the waterfront. From country cafes to award winning restaurants and more… welcome to the taste of Nelson.

Highly recommended Nelson tourist attractions include...

Nelson Lakes National Park - Located on two beautiful alpine lakes (Rotoiti and Rotoroa), the stunning landscape is a contrast of rugged mountains, clear bubbling streams, tranquil lakes and pebble beaches. A range of walking tracks is available as well as boating, fishing, bird watching and swimming.

Mountain Biking - Enjoy the awesome experience of mountain biking in Abel Tasman National Park amidst sub-tropical native New Zealand rainforest and private farmland as part of a guided trip (or you can hire a bike).

Abel Tasman National Park - World renowned for its golden beaches and native bush, Abel Tasman National Park is an outdoor lovers paradise. No matter what your fitness level, everyone can enjoy the Abel Tasman Coastal Track which boasts easy walking through native bush. The track takes 3-5 days to walk the entire length and is one of New Zealand’s 'Great Walks'. Alternatively you can choose to kayak the tranquil coastline past golden beaches.

The Nelson Market - Welcome to the famous Nelson Saturday market! Experience the original creative spirit of the region in one happening place as you stroll the lanes between the hundreds of stalls for Nelson's best fresh veges, breads, fruit, cheeses, woodwork, gourmet foods, designer wear, crafts and treasures before treating yourself at the food stalls!

World of WearableArt™ & Classic Cars Museum - Welcome to this exotic fantasy world where art is taken off the walls to adorn the body while the Classic Car Gallery features over 50 cars and motorbikes - featuring the best of motor vehicle design from late 19th century inventions through to modern day marvels.

Sea Kayaking - Enjoy a guided sea kayak along the scenic coastline of Abel Tasman National Park with a range of tours for complete beginners to experienced paddlers!

Horse Trekking - Enjoy the tranquility and views of 800 acres on a New Zealand working farm with Stonehurst Farm Horse Treks.

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