The Nelson Bays region, officially known as the Tasman Region, at the top of the South Island of New Zealand is famed for sunshine, art and craft and alternative lifestyles, and has a rugged farming backbone. The region includes Tasman Bay, the more central and populous bay, and the more remote Golden Bay to the north-west. It is bounded by the Richmond Ranges, Kahurangi National Park and Nelson Lakes National Park. The Abel Tasman National Park is on the northern coast between Tasman Bay and Golden Bay.


  • Golden Bay, over the Takaka Hill from Nelson and a world away, with beautiful golden sand beaches, native bush and solitude
  • Nelson Lakes has the largest native eels in New Zealand inside its National Park and good alpine skiing centred on St Arnaud


  • Collingwood – at the northern end of Golden Bay, gateway to Farewell Spit and Heaphy Track in Kahurangi National Park
  • Kaiteriteri – beach town and popular holiday spot between Motueka and Abel Tasman National Park
  • Mapua – small seaside town between Nelson and Motueka
  • Motueka – the largest town outside Nelson and its satellites
  • Murchison – some of the finest white water rafting and kayaking in the Southern Hemisphere
  • Nelson – the region's only city, with many galleries, cafes and restaurants fringing its cathedral, and a big safe sandfly-free beach at Tahunanui
  • Onekaka – small town in the middle of Golden Bay
  • St Arnaud – village that is the gateway to Nelson Lakes National Park
  • Takaka – the largest town in Golden Bay
  • Wakefield – village south-west of Nelson

Other destinationsEdit


Get inEdit

By carEdit

From the east, State Highway 6 is the main route leading from Blenheim (and Picton) through Renwick, Havelock and the Rai Valley before reaching Nelson. State Highway 6 continues south through Richmond, Wakefield, Murchison and on to Westport and the West Coast. State Highway 63 starts at Renwick and leads to St Arnaud before rejoining State Highway 6 at Kawatiri Junction.

By busEdit

In the main, both buses and shuttle services in and out of the region follow State Highway 6. Nelson Lakes Shuttles specialise in providing transport for trampers, hikers, climbers, mountain bikers and skiers. They run on-demand together with scheduled services to St Arnaud and between Picton, Blenheim, Murchison as well as other tramping destinations further afield.

By planeEdit

Get aroundEdit

For those without transport, there is reasonable bus transport around the region.

Scheduled servicesEdit

On-demand servicesEdit





Stay safeEdit

Sunburn and sun stroke might be the greatest dangers in this region!

Go nextEdit

For those heading south to Christchurch, there are two options which take roughly the same length of time. State Highway 6 branches just after Murchison lending to Springs Junction. Turning east leads soon to the hot springs complex of Maruia Springs before steadily climbing up the Lewis Pass on the Main Divide of the Southern Alps. Beyond too long the turn-off to the spa town of Hanmer Springs is reached, 1.5 hours from Christchurch. The alternative it to travel to Blenheim and then south on State Highway 1 through the whale watching town of Kaikoura. Both routes take approximately 6 hours.

This region travel guide to Nelson Bays is an outline and may need more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. If there are Cities and Other destinations listed, they may not all be at usable status or there may not be a valid regional structure and a "Get in" section describing all of the typical ways to get here. Please plunge forward and help it grow!