Family Adventures in Nelson Tasman region
Last week, my family and I flew down to Nelson Tasman in the South Island for a mini-family adventure with the I love Nelson Tasman tourism board. After a quick 30-minute flight (spent entertaining a fidgeting baby while feeding her every snack in my bag) we landed in the lovely, almost-always sunny city of Nelson.
We hopped in our rental car and began our three-day adventure exploring new spots and revisiting our favorite ones. Here are our top ten recommended places to visit in the Nelson Tasman region with a family:
1. Wainui Falls
Tucked away at the north end of Abel Tasman National Park is a luscious forest walk that leads to an impressive waterfall. The trailhead reads a 40-minute journey, but it took us around 25 minutes to make it to the gushing falls.
2. Dine at Mussel Inn
This cozy microbrewery is the perfect spot for a bite to eat and a pint to match. Although it looks ideal to visit on a summer day with plenty of picnic tables and a big tire swing in the yard, pop inside to find a warm, welcoming lodge complete with a fireplace. The staff go above and beyond to accommodate you and the eats and drinks are incredible (even for a vegan family).
Planning a road trip around the South Island? Check out my favorite spots on my South Island Photo Blog.
3. Wharariki Beach
Easily the most famous beach on the South Island, Wharariki Beach is a must-do for every visitor to the Nelson Tasman region. Down a gravel road where phone signal fades, you’ll find a little campground and a parking lot. Follow the marked trail up and over sheep-run hills to eventually hit sand that will you lead to an unbelievable beach complete with seal friends and impressive rock formations. Pack a picnic, let the kids run through the sand dunes and relax at this stunning spot.
Need a place to stay in Golden Bay? Zatori Retreat is an absolute dream and close to Wharariki Beach. We can’t wait to go back!
4. Te Waikoropupū Springs
Discover some of the world’s clearest water at this sacred Māori location. The freshwater springs are the largest in New Zealand and feature a loop track easy for kids of every age. Lia enjoyed calling out to the birds as we pushed her in the pram and gawked at the insanely clear water.
5. Abel Tasman National Park cruise
Back in 2016, I surprised Ryan on his 30th birthday with a trip to the Nelson Tasman region. The weather was not on our side, but we still chose to hike part of the Abel Tasman Coast Track to Anchorage – in the rain. A casual 12.4km each way, we promised we’d return to see the famous azure waters and golden beaches on a sunnier day. Thanks to I love Nelson Tasman, we got the chance to do it again, but this time via the sea. Our lovely boat captain from Abel Tasman Sea Shuttle took us along the coast stopping by Split Apple Rock, a colony of fur seals and their pups while sharing tidbits of information about the National Park (like why the sand is golden)! He dropped us off at Anchorage where the first serviced hut is located. For the next few hours, we hiked around the bays, played on the beach and I cooled down with a quick dip. Then we cruised back to Kaiteriteri to finish day two of our family adventure.
6. Pic’s Peanut Butter Tour
If you live in New Zealand, there’s a more than likely chance you’ve tried Pic’s Peanut Butter. Our household is big fans of this local brand and we were more than ecstatic to tour the Nelson factory. The entire place smells of yummy roasting peanuts and you can tell the staff love their jobs. We saw the process of making and packaging the famous pb and even made our own. We highly recommend this FREE family-friendly activity in Nelson! They also have a great cafe on-site with a play area for bubs.
7. Bike ride with Kiwi Journeys
For our first time ever, we took a family bike ride thanks to Kiwi Journeys, a local bike rental shop in downtown Nelson. The city is super bike-friendly with multiple bike paths, lanes and even bike routes on google maps. Lia smiled non-stop and we enjoyed seeing Nelson on two-wheels.
8. Founders Heritage Park
On our bike cruise, we visited the charming Founders Park, a family-friendly attraction showcasing Nelson’s rich heritage. We strolled around town learning about the city’s history and indulging in a few beers at McCashin’s on-site brewery.
9. Cable Bay Walkway
For the adventurers at heart who love a little challenge, the viewpoint above Cable Bay is stunning, especially when you catch a sunset like the one we experienced. Head’s up it’s a steep walk through cow pastures, but the 360 degree view is worth it.
10. Tahunanui Beach
Also called Tahuna Beach for short, this local beach was just a stone’s throw away from our accommodation at Tahuna Beach Holiday Park. It’s perfect for a sunrise or sunset stroll and it has an awesome playground for kids of all ages.
Need a place to eat in downtown Nelson? If you are a fan of Mexican food? Try Nicola’s Cantina. Plant-based? East Street is crazy good. Best spot for beers? The Free House. Set in a church with a massive outdoor patio, this dedicated craft beer bar serves a wide selection of tap beers and allows you to bring your own food.
And that’s a wrap for our 10 family-friendly activities in Nelson Tasman area! If you have any questions about the region, feel free to reach out!
Viktoria, Ry & Lia