The landscape gradually becomes softer and gentler as you leave the rugged west coast and mountains behind. The rolling hills and forested slopes give way to orchards and fertile fields as you approach Nelson and the north coast.
Abel Tasman National Park enjoys New Zealand’s highest levels of sunshine and the beaches here can have a distinctly Mediterranean feel about them. Enjoy some superb walking trails or take a leisurely water taxi to see the coast from a different perspective.
Kaiteriteri, west of Nelson, is a great place for picking up kayaks and taking a paddle around the headland. Why not join a guided excursion to the incredible Split Apple Rock – it looks just like an enormous split apple and has been there in the shallows for 120 million years.
With fine, white sand beaches, palm trees, jauntily painted houses Nelson appears almost subtropical. And with seaside promenades, a bustling marina with bobbing yachts and enticing eateries, you could imagine yourself on the Côte d’Azur. There are friendly cafés, galleries and lots of arts and crafts, not to mention a selection of rather decent small breweries.