The Nelson-Tasman region at the top of New Zealand’s South Island, with its sunny climate and easy access to a variety of landscapes, is a favourite destination for outdoors pleasure seekers. Depending on your time and mobility, there is a range of activities available for anyone who wants to enjoy spending some time in Nature.
1. Nelson hikes & walks
If you are in the City of Nelson and have an afternoon free, the Grampians Walk offers an expansive view over the city, Tasman Bay and the Arthur Ranges. This can be found at the South end of Collingwood Street, beginning some way up the hill. The Centre of New Zealand walk is an easier option with similar views, to be found in the East of the city near the Botanical Gardens.
2. Mountain biking
The Nelson-Tasman region dubs itself the ‘Heart of Biking’ within New Zealand, and with 50 mountain bike trails suitable for people of all experience levels it’s easy to see why. If you want a family-friendly scenic ride there is the Great Taste Trail that runs from the Nelson Information Centre all the way up to the Abel Tasman National Park. The Dun Mountain Trail offers a more exhilarating experience for the fitter folks and unbeatable views of Nelson from the highest point. See heartofbiking.org.nz for information relating to bike hire, permits and maps.
Mountain biking might give you a bit of wind in your hair, but it won’t beat windsurfing. Nelson is the New Zealand Centre for windsurfing, even producing former world champion Cindy Mosey. Watersports Nelson offers both lessons and equipment hire. You can find them at the Nelson Yacht Club on Rocks Road. They offer 90-minute tasters involving an introductory lesson for NZD60 and equipment hire for NZD30 per day.
If you’re after a more visceral thrill, Skydive Abel Tasman offer jumps from over the popular Abel Tasman National Park, located an hour’s drive from Nelson. You can choose to jump from 9,000, 13,000 or 16,500 feet, and from the latter, it is possible to see the North Island. Starting from NZD249, this will offer you the unique experience of sandy beaches, serene turquoise waters and snowy mountains, all in a single vista.
Also popular in the Abel Tasman National Park is kayaking. All of the many bays on the Coastal Track can be reached by kayakers, and there are others that the hikers seldom see. Abel Tasman Kayaks were the first company to set up in the park, and they offer kayak rentals, lessons and guided tours. A half-day guided kayak tour will cost you NZD130 and renting a kayak for a four-day independent trip is NZD170.
These tips ought to be good for at least a few weeks of outdoors fun. The summers are long in Nelson, so there’s plenty of time for these activities as well as hiking, rafting, gliding, skiing and more!