Outdoor Adventures

Nelson Tasman’s stunning natural landscapes provide the ideal backdrop for embarking on an adventure and enjoying the natural environment. With three national parks on our doorstep, we offer a surprisingly diverse range of activities throughout the year. Our benign climate and high sunshine hours mean it’s almost always a great time for hiking, sea kayaking, canyoning, biking, rafting, jet-boating, stand-up paddle boarding, and skydiving – you name it, you'll probably find it here.

Go for a Walk

Many of Nelson Tasman’s stunning natural landscapes are best explored on foot, and we have a diverse range of well-maintained trails and tracks to suit every fitness level. Whether you’re looking for a multi-day challenge or a short family stroll our region is paradise for anyone who enjoys the great outdoors.

Easy walks are spread across the region including the very popular 20-minute walk to the Centre of New Zealand lookout where you’ll see panoramic views over Tasman Bay, the buzzing centre of Nelson City, and the striking mountain ranges along the horizon. Enjoy a short stroll back down toward Nelson City along the banks of the Maitai River and up to the Branford Park picnic area where there are a selection of waterholes to cool off in.

Nelson Tasman’s national parks are home to two of New Zealand’s Great Walks – The Abel Tasman Track and the Heaphy Track. Kahurangi National Park and the Heaphy Track will tempt more experienced hikers looking for a challenge, with untracked wilderness, and rocky ridges set amongst a vast landscape of stunning native bush. Meanwhile, the Abel Tasman Coast Track is a beautiful and relaxing coastal walk, easily accessed and well serviced by transport operators and suitable for half day, single day or multi-day adventures. With its golden sands, lush native forest, clear azure waters and trees alive with birdsong, you’ll see first-hand the result of the many projects that are currently restoring this magical part of the world to its former glory. There are DOC huts, campsites and lodges dotted along the trail, giving you plenty of accommodation options to choose from.

Alternatively, a short one hour and twenty-minute drive from Nelson City will land you at Lake Rotoiti in the Nelson Lakes National Park. From here, you can take a leisurely stroll around Lake Rotoiti amongst forests alive with birdsong, or delve deeper into the park to access Lake Rotoroa and a variety of other longer hikes and tracks, ranging in length from a couple of hours to several days. A detour from the Travers Sabine Circuit through stunning alpine landscapes and rushing river valleys is suitable for experienced hikers only, who will be treated to the beauty of Lake Rotomairewhenua (Blue Lake), the clearest lake in the world.

The region is also home to plenty of spectacular waterfalls such as Whiskey Falls, Whispering Falls and Wainui Falls, most within a reasonably short walking distance and perfect for day trips. Labyrinth Rocks in Takaka is an extraordinary place for kids to visit, with its limestone outcrops and weaving pathways, and special surprises dotted around the rocks for children to discover.

From short riverside strolls to challenging hikes over tussocked mountain ranges, beautiful coastal walks to day treks around spectacular glacial lakes, Nelson Tasman is abundant with opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to enjoy our extraordinary outdoor environment.

Walk the Water Race

Cross Te Waikoropupū River, zig-zag up the penstock and follow the path of the old goldmining water race at The Pupu Hydro Walkway. There are fantastic views over the Kahurangi National Park from the weir at the top, so make sure you take some time to stop and enjoy the scenery. 

 

 

 

Paddle Around

Hire a paddleboard or giant SUP at Tahunanui Beach to explore Fifeshire Rock, Haulashore Island and the historic Boulder Bank, or take your board and venture up the Maitai River to enjoy some riverside dining.

Kayak the Coastline

Explore Nelson Tasman’s spectacular ocean environment, visit offshore islands, spot wildlife, discover hidden bays or paddle through sea caves and archways. There are guided and self guided options across Golden Bay, Abel Tasman, Tahunanui and Cable Bay.

 

Brook Sanctuary

The South Island’s largest fully-fenced Sanctuary for vulnerable native flora and fauna, there are some 15km of beautiful tracks open for the public to enjoy, suitable for a range of fitness levels with the main Loop Track also fully accessible for wheelchairs and mobility scooters.

Centre of Aotearoa New Zealand

A twenty-minute uphill trek under the canopy of poplar and kauri trees and you will arrive at the Centre of New Zealand viewing platform, where you’ll be treated to stunning views over the buzzing central city, Tasman Bay and the picturesque mountain ranges.

Boulder Bank

The internationally-renowned Boulder Bank is a natural spit of boulders, formed by oceanic drift over 10,000 years. A walk along the rocky bank is an opportunity not to be missed, as is a climb up into the iconic lighthouse.

Te Waikoropupu Springs

Te Waikoropupū Springs contain some of the clearest water ever measured, coming second only to Lake Rotomairewhenua (Blue Lake) in the Nelson Lakes National Park.

As the largest freshwater springs in New Zealand, and the largest coldwater springs in the Southern Hemisphere, it’s easy to see why people travel from near and far to witness the unrivalled beauty of Te Waikoropupū.

The visual clarity of the springs is estimated at approximately 76m, statistically close to that of optically pure water. An easy, flat 20-minute walk under the canopy of mānuka and kanuka takes you across boardwalks and over bridges to a viewing platform overlooking the crystal clear waters of Te Waikoropupū. Looping back around through the forest and ferns, you can take the longer route to return via Fish Creek or head straight back to the carpark.

How to get there: Te Waikoropupū Springs is located just a short distance from the Takaka township, at the end of Pupu Springs Road.