Time for a roadie: Marlborough, Nelson Tasman, West Coast

This summer, try one of the South Island’s lesser known gems - Marlborough to West Coast.



Stuff NZ Newspapers



What are you waiting for? Let’s see what there is to do in Marlborough, Nelson Tasman and West Coast. START YOUR ADVENTURE IN MARLBOROUGH Home to New Zealand’s largest wine-growing region and 20 percent of the country’s coastline. While here, get to know Marlborough by investigating its history. Meretoto/Ship Cove is significant for being where some of the first ever encounters between Europeans and Maori took place, and remains a popular spot for a swim. It also kickstarts the Queen Charlotte Track, 72 kilometres of stunning scenery - Walk the track or experience it by mountain bike. You might be tired afterwards, so slow the pace with – the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre in Blenheim, beloved for its collection of rare aircrafts. Or if you’d rather relax outdoors, enjoy a Mail Boat Tour, where you’ll see how mail and supplies are delivered to Kiwis living out in the sounds. Finally, there’s the wine. Saunter around upwards of 25 wineries with Wine Tours by Bike and taste what all the fuss around Marlborough wine is. NOW TO NELSON TASMAN An hour and a half from Blenheim up and around SH6, then down into the dramatic blue vista that is Tasman Bay. Starting in Nelson, pack an entire adventure into one location at Cable Bay Adventure Park. Here you’ll experience one of the world’s longest flying foxes, and can get involved with quad bike touring, archery, paintball, rock climbing and mountain biking. Or, opt for a slightly less high-octane adventure by cycling the famous Great Taste Trail with Kiwi Journeys offering cycle hire and guided trips. Onto Kaiteriteri Recreation Reserve next, an awesome place to explore by itself, but also the kickoff point for Abel Tasman National Park. You’ll be out on the water a lot here, either sailing with Abel Tasman Sailing Adventures, kayaking with Wilsons Abel Tasman, or for a unique experience, join a guided waka trip with Waka Tours Abel Tasman. Finally, find Farewell Spit Tours in Collingwood to marvel at the protected Farewell Spit nature reserve 35 kilometres long, but the public can only access the first four. To see the rest - especially the gannet colony and historic lighthouse at the tip - Book a bus tour. FINISH WITH WEST COAST Head south from Nelson along SH6, through Buller Gorge (stopping at NZ’s longest swing bridge) and driving three hours to Westport. Keep the outdoor adventure theme going on the Kawatiri Cycle Trail. This family-friendly track runs from Westport, encompassing: rugged cliffs, roaring ocean, wetlands, suspension bridges, rainforest, birdlife… it’s a lot in 22 km (soon to be 50km when the track is completed to Charleston). Next is Punakaiki, where you’ll find the highly Instagram-worthy Pancake Rocks, as well as the Truman Track, possibly the best short track in NZ. Onto Hokitika. Here, check out glass blowing, greenstone and gold jewellery workshops, go fossicking along Hokitika Beach Walk, or if you come at the right time of year, expand your taste horizons at the world-famous Wild Foods Festival. Alternatively, the next best thing might just be the Hokitika Sandwich Company. Get back on the water in – Okarito Lagoon or for a wildlife fix, watch tawaki/Fiordland crested penguins at Lake Moeraki Wilderness Lodge. Now, we can’t not mention the glaciers. Pass through the village of Franz Josef, an excellent place to book a heli hike or ice climb with Franz Josef Glacier Guides. WHERE TO STAY Lay your head where Hollywood celebrities have at Bay of Many Coves Resort and Spa. Walking Queen Charlotte Track? Check in at Punga Cove Resort or Furneaux Lodge. When in Nelson Tasman, unwind in historic luxury at Pihopa Retreat or camp at Kaiteriteri Recreation Reserve Campground to stay close to the action, and end with the cottage charm of Station House Motel. Lastly, the West Coast. Relax with nature at the eco-friendly Last Resort Karamea, experience quirky up-cycled ‘apartment pods’ at Ross Beach TOP 10 Holiday Park, and hide away in the tranquil Goldfield Suites. Or admire the glacier valley of Franz Josef at Kahere Retreat and Rainforest Retreat. To find more things to do, scan this QR Code. less than four weeks’ time, first taking on Portugal in Hamilton on February 17, then Argentina in Hamilton and Auckland on February 20 and 23. While they were never going to beat the US this month, the three matches they have scheduled in February will be genuine 50-50 affairs. All in all, there was no serious harm done this week and excitement does seem to be building as New Zealand prepares to host the biggest sporting event that will ever grace its shores. But the good vibes need to be followed by good results sooner rather than later.