Wednesday, 10 November 2021

What to see in Tasman

I saw a question from a fellow Kiwi on Quora recently, asking what to see in Motueka (the town closest to where I live). 

In reviewing the answers, I was quite surprised at many of them: they were of the 'don't bother' variety, or 'only take one day'. It got me thinking about how often we know very little of an area, and we don't bother to find out what else there might be of interest.

Having hosted many, many overseas visitors, I now have a good selection of options for them to try, to get a taste of the land and of what we produce here. I felt that the asker could fill up two weeks in the area easily, depending on what they were interested in, and what their fitness was like. 

While the Motueka township might take half a day: it is a rural hub, with some good food places, and has a number of craft brewers. I suggested that they go to Toad Hall for lunch, and visit Bloom Cafe right in the middle of Motueka, behind the Real Estate agent in the old Church. Then an estuary walk is nice a couple of kilometres, and a good way to settle a lunch. 

Kaiteriteri and Marahau are great beaches to visit, in any season. Taking a Wilson’s boat tour through the Abel Tasman National Park if there isn’t have time to walk the track (though I would recommend a day walk: winter or summer, it is lovely). There are some really great walks, such as the Mount Arthur track and the start of the Kaurangi National Park. 

There are a lot of artisans with studios in the hills and bays between Mapua and Mouteka - working in clay, paint and other materials. Mapua is also worth a lunch or two: the waterfront is lovely, and most of the restaurants specialise in seafood. Fish and chips on the wharf with a beer from the Golden Bear is great too. A stop at the Tasman Store for ice cream is reminiscent of summer childhood trips in the car. 

If you like wine there are plenty of good wineries from main road out of Richmond towards Brightwater, then towards Mouteka. The wines in the area tend towards the aromatics: riesling; pinot gris; rose; from award winning wineries such as: Seifried Estate; Greenhough; Brightwater; Richmond Plains; Moutere Hills (and a wonderful lunch at Forsters); Kahurangi; Neudorf; Rimu Grove, Riwaka Estate... I could go on! Being at Glovers Winery with Dave Glover explaining the terroir and the wine is most entertaining. Listening to a live band in Neudorf vineyard is an experience not to be forgotten. 

A visit to the oldest pub in New Zealand in Upper Moutere, the Moutere Tavern, for lunch is a laugh, which serves local wines, craft beers and ciders. Buying the specialities of the area from the Old Post Office is fun, followed by a real fruit ice cream from the village dairy (there is also an artisan bakery tucked in behind). Drop in on the award winning clay sculptor, Katie Gold - and her potter husband, Owen Bartlett - across the road. Have a look around the old Lutheran church. This little township of Sarau - Upper Moutere - services three major wineries: Kahurangi, Moutere Hills (and Forsters), and Neudorf.  

Then it would be easy to take a three or four day trip to Takaka and the Golden Bay, including a trip to the Cobb Valley, Anatoki Salmon, Pohara beach, stopping at more artisans along the way. Going on to Farewell Spit (I would definitely recommend taking a formal Spit tour from Collingwood), Wharariki beach, Totaranui, and Puponga is great. Time in 'the bay' could also include the Collingwood museum, a trip to Bainham, visiting the Bainham store, the start of the Heaphy, and the Devils Boots.

There is PLENTY to do in Tasman.



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