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Planning a trip to Nelson Tasman

Updated: Mar 9, 2020

The travel bug has bit me yet again, and this time I'm looking South to Nelson Tasman.

I've seen photos of amazing cruises in the Abel Tasman National Park, hikes in glaciers around the Nelson lakes, and the stunning views from one of the many lookout points. Not to mention all the ocean activities available.

The landscape and activities aren't the only things attractive about Nelson Tasman, there's some of the best food in the country there too. Plus a huge range of beers, wines and ciders, most of which aren't up here in Auckland.

My first port of call will probably be Takaka and Golden Bay. I've seen photos of some pretty great springs in the past but Te Waikoropupu has got to be at the top of the list. Gorgeous green-blue colours and plentiful eels and fishes - what a sight to see in the flesh!

One of the best parts about small town New Zealand is the arts and crafts shops you'll find, full of neat knick-knacks and objects of fancy. Takaka and Golden Bay have tons of stores, stalls and studios to sift through.

All that and there's still the multiple Lord of the Rings film locations to visit. Most notably is the craig the fellowship took a break on when they left Rivendell. South of Rivendell at Mount Olympus is accessible only through a tour but I can't pass that up!

Next up will be Murchison, home to some of the best white water rafting in New Zealand, even being named in the top 10 in the world! I've really got my work cut out for me narrowing down which rafting site to visit; perhaps I'll just have to try them all out!

In addition to rafting, there are jet boats hooning up and down the Buller Canyon, New Zealand's longest swing bridge, the chance to pan for gold at the Buller Gorge Adventure and Heritage Park, and some great trail biking on the Old Ghost Road.

The last leg of my journey will depend on how long I've dallied so far. I find it's best to leave the last part of a trip fairly open, leaving you the freedom to extend your stay when you find somewhere special, and Nelson Tasman is somewhere special.

Getting down to Nelson Tasman won't be tricky either as there are flights in and out several times a day, ferries to bring you over from Wellington, or paved roads allowing access from Christchurch, Blenheim, and Picton. I’ll be catching one of the many direct flights down from Auckland, but maybe next time I should fly into Wellington to catch up with friends before taking the ferry, or Christchurch to get another chill road trip under my belt

Once there, you don't necessarily need a vehicle of your own. There are coach services for the longer trips, local busses for shorter trips, and a combination of taxis, Ubers and rental cars for everything else.

The only thing left to do is to find accommodation, and with all the amazing choices, I’m sure that’ll not take long at all.

Written by Nathan Fehr


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