With a brief and pleasant drive by rental car from Nelson, there are many spectacular locations to spend a day, or a weekend exploring… Out Top 5 picks are listed belows;

1  Mutton Cove, Abel Tasman National Park


A wee gem of a place, tucked inside Separation Point, out of the prevailing westerly winds.  A 2 hour hike away from either Totaranui or Wainui Bay ensure it stays pretty quiet even in peak season. A beautiful golden sand beach , clear waters and great campsite with fire hearths, running water,  picnic tables and a flush toilet. Plenty of greenlipped mussels on the shore to be found which are ideally steamed open over the fire in a pot with a dash of wine and enjoyed with a cold beer or glass local of wine.

2  Totaranui

2.5 hours drive from Nelson is Totaranui campsite,  theres a reason why the Department of Conservation have to run a ballot every year to allocate campsites over the peak summer season.  Its got a great beach, caves, walking tracks and a beautiful big estuary where just after high tide you can float down the channel in the current into the sea.

3 North West coastline of Golden Bay

Its quite a drive over to this coastline,  but once you get to Westhaven Inlet and head down the coast to Anatori you can really appreciate the untouched forests and wild coastline.  Big surf beaches , massive sand dunes and great rivers, one of the most remote parts of the country.

 4 Durville Island, Marlborough Sounds

You can only get here by boat,  take a drive to French Pass and you’ll see Durville Island just across the Current basin. Its our 3rd biggest island and has some great fishing and hunting opportunities.  It also has plenty of great anchorages to stay in if on a boat ,  especially on the western side of Durville in Greville harbour or Port Hardy. A fishing charter is a great way to explore this area and you are guaranteed to come home with plenty of fish that you have caught yourself.

5  Mt Olympus Skifield

This is one of our lesser known skifields, and one of the most laid back.  It’s a club operated field and is located in the Caterbury high country, near Lake Coleridge  on Ryton Station. It is one of the few ski fields in NZ where you can actually stay right up on the ski area. Its hut sleeps about 40- 50 people in bunks and it has an amazing atmosphere where guests and staff enjoy each other company with a cold beer after a great days skiing. Awesome terrain too and plenty of options to hike the backcountry and you can always find fresh snow here.  The drive up is an adventure on its own!