Sun-drenched Nelson sits pretty at the top of New Zealand’s South Island
with sensational beaches, fresh seafood and boutique wineries.
WORDS SARAH NICHOLSON PHOTOGRAPHY STEPHEN GOODENOUGH
here are few places that combine number of sunny days in the country, so
an exciting wine and food scene, a there’s plenty of time to explore the idyllic
temperate climate and a vibrant surrounds, including three national parks.
creative community with simply If it’s a taste of adventure you’re after, row
breathtaking scenery, but New to a deserted beach and camp for the night, or
Zealand’s Nelson area is one of them. dive in the marine reserve. For those looking
Visit boutique wineries and taste aromatic to relax and recharge, simply laze on golden-
whites, savour shellﬁsh or perhaps a salad of sand beaches, sail on turquoise waters in
organic vegetables and soft sheep’s milk search of dolphins and fur seals, or visit
cheese drizzled with award-winning olive oil. jewellers, potters, painters and glass-blowers
Situated in the north-west corner of the in their galleries. Soon enough, you’ll be as
South Island, Nelson boasts the highest annual chilled-out as one of the friendly locals.
Previous page: Kaiteriteri is one
of the most popular spots in the
Abel Tasman National Park.
Clockwise from left: Hopgood’s
is one of the new restaurants
in the city; enjoy contemporary
NZ cuisine at Flax; baby paua on
potato rosti at Awaroa Lodge; the
dining room at the lodge looks out
over the wetlands. Opposite page:
The Boat Shed Café has one of
the best locations in Nelson.
WHERE TO EAT The Cut Restaurant & Bar, 94 Collingwood seafood-focused menu with Asian inﬂuences,
Hopgood’s, 284 Trafalgar St, Nelson, St, Nelson, tel: +64 3 548 9874. such as a delicious dish of crayﬁsh tail beurre
tel: +64 3 545 7191. This is one of Nelson’s most highly awarded monté (poached in butter), with asparagus
English-born Kevin Hopgood is the new chef eateries for good reason. Local art, the orange and white miso cream; and a whole seared
in town, having abandoned the bright lights lamps and white tablecloths give the 1920s baby paua (abalone) in the shell on potato
of London, where he worked for the famous house warmth and sophistication. The food is rosti with wasabi aioli.
Roux brothers and later as head chef at Elena’s Mediterranean with a French feel. You won’t Boat Shed Café, 350 Wakeﬁeld Quay,
L’Etoile in Soho for 10 years. Inspired by ﬁnd Asian inﬂuences here; co-owners Rob Nelson, tel: +64 3 546 9783.
US chef and organic trailblazer Alice Waters, Fanselow and chef Howard Morris leave that Housed in a historic shed on the waterfront,
Kevin aims to serve solely local produce, to their second restaurant, Harry’s Bar. Menu this location couldn’t get much better.
which is organic wherever possible. His well- choices depend on what’s at the local market, Unsurprisingly, seafood is the order of the
executed dishes include a brunch of ricotta but tender venison is always on – perhaps day, with local Aoraki salmon and Tasman
pancakes with strawberries and manuka roasted rare with oxtail and chestnut ravioli Bay crab on offer, as well as fresh crayﬁsh
honey; or dinner of tomato consommé with and redcurrant jus – as is the crisp-based plucked from tanks upon request. An
Nelson Bay scallops, and ﬁsh of the day with lemon tart with a caramelised top. This place extensive wine list ensures you’ll ﬁnd the
globe artichokes and a dressing that uses local has one of the best wine lists in town, too. perfect drop to complement your meal.
organic saffron. The ever-changing food and Awaroa Lodge restaurant, Awaroa Bay, Abel Flax Restaurant and Bar, Shed 1,
wine menus will ensure that there’s always Tasman National Park, tel: +64 3 528 8758. Mapua Wharf, Mapua, tel: +64 3 540 2028.
something new to try. Located at Awaroa Lodge (see Where to Tim Greenhough serves up contemporary
Bar Delicious, 276 Trafalgar St, Nelson, Stay), at the northern end of the Abel Tasman New Zealand cuisine in this former wharf
tel: +64 3 546 9400. National Park, this restaurant can’t be shed, while wife Karen works out front. The
A few doors down from Hopgood’s, this accessed by road – but you can arrive on room is decorated with striking artworks,
Italian restaurant has a relaxed feel with high foot, by boat or by air. That’s just the ﬁrst of including a large tapa cloth and woven ﬂax
ceilings, wooden furniture and streetside many unique things about Awaroa Lodge. ‘sails’ on the rustic beams, but the view over
dining. Italian standards are on offer here – As food can only be barged in at high-tide, the water is the highlight. Try a salad of all-
including beef carpaccio and caprese salad there’s an organic vegetable garden on site, local ingredients, such as organic rocket with
with buffalo mozzarella – as well as roasted and the stylish main dining room has a large pecorino, pear and olive oil. And pork’s
lamb rump with Puy lentils, capsicum and deck that overlooks the peaceful wetlands. always on – think prosciutto-wrapped pork
marsala sauce for a main course. New chef Chris Whiting has a creative belly with chorizo and apple stufﬁng.
6. 10. 13.
WHERE TO EAT 22. Waimea Estates
2. Boat Shed Café 22. The Grape
6. The Oyster Bar Escape
8. Zest WHERE TO SHOP
9. Hopgood’s 1. Guyton’s Seafood
10. Bar Delicious Bazaar
10. Morrison Street 4. Tozzetti The Smokehouse Cafe, Shed 3, Morrison Street Café, 244 Hardy St, Nelson,
Mapua Wharf, Mapua, tel: +64 3 540 2280. tel: +64 3 548 8110.
11. The Cut 5. Nelson Market
Restaurant & Bar 12. Rosy Glow A great spot to lunch outdoors with a glass A child-friendly cafe with an outdoor area.
13. Harry’s Bar Chocolate of crisp local white. Seafood is smoked over Don’t stop at the great coffee – the food is also
16. Awaroa Lodge 14. Nelson Provincial manuka chips, and you can buy products to good, whether it’s a brekkie of chorizo and
restaurant Farmers’ Market, take away. The menu ranges from a smoked- bacon hash with eggs, or an open lamb and
19. Flax Restaurant 18. Neudorf Dairy
salmon ‘gateau’ with roasted tomatoes and a fennel sandwich on Turkish bread for lunch.
and Bars 23. O’Neill’s Gourmet
parmesan crust to classic Kiwi ﬁsh and chips. Get there early for fresh-from-the-oven
ILLUSTRATION: PRISCILLA NIELSEN
19. The Smokehouse
Cafe WHERE TO STAY Harry’s Bar, 306 Hardy St, Nelson, mufﬁns, scones and breads baked daily.
1. Wakeﬁeld Quay tel: +64 3 539 0905. Stingray (8 Church St, Nelson, tel: +64 3 545
WHERE TO DRINK/ House The dimly lit room and casual atmosphere 8957) has Moroccan tiled tables in a sunny
WINERIES 3. Te Puna Wai
suit the pan-Asian menu of dishes designed to courtyard. There is a variety of food all day,
14. Founders Organic Lodge
Brewery & Cafe 15. Warwick House be shared. Mains range from green papaya from breakfasts and pizzas to substantial
18. Neudorf Vineyard 17. The Resurgence salad with nam jim dressing to crispy fried mains. The coffee is good – and it’s even better
21. Kahurangi Estate 20. Bronte Lodge whole snapper with ginger-chilli caramel. with a piece of their indulgent cheesecake.
Clockwise from top left:
the turquoise waters of the
area are ideal for boating,
diving and swimming; cafe
food with ﬂair at Morrison
Street Cafe; Flax restaurant
overlooks Mapua Wharf;
relax over a picnic at
Neudorf Vineyard with one
of their fabulous wines.
Opposite is Zest (5 Church St, Nelson, tel: +64 glass and an interesting cocktail list. Bar Kahurangi Estate, Sunrise Rd, RD1,
3 546 7064), where there’s lots of deli food to Delicious specialises in Belgian beers, with Upper Moutere, tel: +64 3 543 2980.
eat in or take away, as well as a menu that may Hoegaarden and renowned local brew Mac’s With the oldest riesling vines in the South
include antipasto and fresh ﬁsh. If you want on tap. If you’re a night owl, head to Stingray, Island, the great rieslings are deﬁnitely the
raw ﬁsh, head to The Oyster Bar (115 Hardy with its good selection of wines and classic pick here, including a divine late-harvest
St, Nelson, tel: +64 3 545 8955) for sashimi and cocktails, and lounge music. On certain sticky. Enjoy your wine outside at the cafe
modern sushi. There’s the blackened scallop weekends, after 11pm, things spark up with with dips, bread and the estate’s olives.
reverse sushi roll and the ‘rockstar’ roll: spicy DJs and dancing. (See Where to Eat section for Waimea Estates, Appleby Highway, Hope,
tuna, smoked salmon and avocado. And, of details of these restaurants.) Nelson, tel: +64 3 544 4963.
course, oysters and champers. One of the larger wineries in the area, so
WINERIES there’s a wide range on offer. It’s also big on
WHERE TO DRINK The wineries in Nelson are boutique, and riesling, including the Dry Riesling that does
Founders Organic Brewery & Cafe, nearly all of them are family-owned and well with bottle age, and the Classic Riesling,
Founders Historic Park, 87 Atawhai Dve, operated. The area is especially known for which is good drinking straight off the bat.
Nelson, tel: +64 3 548 4638. aromatic whites, such as sauvignon blanc The Bolitho Reserve range of sweet wines has
Beer ﬂows in the blood of the Duncan family. and riesling, and is also strong on chardonnay, also been getting a lot of recognition recently.
John is a ﬁfth-generation brewer, and he runs pinot noir and dessert wines. Business hours At Café in the Vineyard, match your favourite
the brewery with his wife Carol and their four vary during the year, so call ahead. wine to a dish from the varied menu.
children. There are four styles of beer to enjoy Neudorf Vineyard, Neudorf Rd, Upper The Grape Escape, cnr McShane Rd and
while grazing from shared plates. The brewery Moutere, tel: +64 3 543 2643. Coastal Hwy 60, Richmond, Nelson.
is closed in the evenings, except on Friday Neudorf is one of the best-known wineries in The Grape Escape Winery & Cellar (tel: +64 3
when it’s ‘Cook’s Night Off’ and locals BYO these parts. With its two ranges, Moutere and 544 4054) is the cellar door for Te Mania Estate
ﬁsh and chips, enjoy the beer and let the kids Nelson, you can compare the same varietal and the organic wines of Richmond Plains. It’s
run wild in the playground. from the different vineyards. It’s famous for its a relaxed setting to taste their great range of
The Oyster Bar is an intimate place Moutere chardonnay in particular – so wines, including a Te Mania Reserve Pinot
for drinks, with a good selection of bubbly. deﬁnitely have a taste if it’s on offer. And Noir. The adjacent cottage is the Grape Escape
When it comes to beer, you’re spoilt for choice you’re welcome to bring along a picnic to Café & Wine Bar (tel: +64 3 544 4341). Its large
at Harry’s Bar, with a fantastic selection of enjoy with your chosen bottle in the winery’s lawns make it the perfect setting to enjoy some
local and imported beers, lots of wine by the charming garden. local salmon, or simply coffee and cake.
Clockwise from far left: Rosy Glow
Chocolate offers handmade treats;
some of the country’s top olive oils
are produced here; a range of
specialty breads are baked at
Tozzetti Panetteria; Moutere Gold
preserves are a great local product
available at Zest.
WHERE TO SHOP Neudorf Dairy, 230 Neudorf Rd, RD2, markets, all the stalls are manned by the
Zest (see Where to Eat) stocks lots of gourmet Upper Moutere, tel: 64 3 543 2789. producers, so you can ﬁnd out where the
goodies from local and other NZ producers. There’s just a small chiller cabinet in this food comes from and how it’s grown.
Look for high-quality Nelson olive oils such as relatively new cheese factory, but the cheeses Guyton’s Seafood Bazaar, 270 Wakeﬁeld
Elovi; handmade preserves from Moutere are worth the stop. Moreish sheep’s-milk Quay, Nelson, tel: +64 3 548 7295.
Gold, such as feijoa and green ginger chutney; cheeses include the soft, fresh Mount Crusader. Restaurants and casual shoppers alike source
Kerstiens boysenberry trufﬂes and jams; and Pick up some before you go for a picnic at their seafood from here, with 15-20 species of
From Shirley’s Kitchen ﬁg and walnut log Neudorf winery (see Where to Drink), which ﬁlleted ﬁsh, some whole ﬁsh, as well as local
(great with cheese). is just up the road. scallops and live crayﬁsh, mussels and cockles.
Rosy Glow Chocolate, 20 Harley St, Nelson, Nelson Market, Montgomery Square A second Guyton’s outlet is in Richmond Mall
tel: +64 3 548 3383. car park, Nelson, tel: +64 27 270 2600. (Shop 80, Queen St, Richmond, tel: +64 3 543
Mary Taylor has been a chocolatier for 15 years Held in the centre of town every Saturday 9206), where you’ll also ﬁnd O’Neill’s Gourmet
up the coast in Collingwood, and daughter from 8am to 1pm, this chilled-out market is (Shop 71, tel: +64 3 544 5034), a high-end
PLEASE NOTE: RATES MAY VARY ACCORDING TO THE TIME OF WEEK OR SEASON
Miriam manages this second store located in a the place to get a good taste of the region. The butchery and deli selling poussin and escargots
small pink cottage. These chocolates are either Original Nsaturesmoke (tel: +64 3 547 2820) as well as house-made terrines.
poured or dipped, rather than made in has mussel paté, smoked ﬁsh and poultry on
moulds, so they’re not your usual dainty offer. The Cheese Shop (tel: +64 3 540 3034) WHERE TO STAY
choccies. It’s all about big ﬂavours such as specialises in Dutch gouda, and has other Te Puna Wai Lodge, 24 Richardson St,
Lime Sour and Just Ginger, and liqueur boutique sheep and goat’s cheeses. There’s Port Hills, Nelson, tel: +64 3 548 7621,
varieties such as Orange Blossom. also wild goat and hare, and if hunger hits, www.tepunawai.co.nz.
Tozzetti Panetteria, 41 Halifax St, Nelson, grab a wine-bratwurst roll from the Bratwurst Fresh ﬂowers, interesting travel pieces and a
tel: +64 3 546 8484. Grill (+64 3 544 4641), which has a tempting cosy guest lounge give this three-storey villa
Owner and baker Richard Brett toils all night selection of German smallgoods, too. a welcoming feel. Downstairs are two rooms:
to create his delectable goods – light, buttery Nelson Provincial Farmers’ Market, one is self-contained and opens onto a patio.
boysenberry frangipane tarts, a rustic loaf Founders Historic Park, 87 Atawhai Dve, Up a little staircase to the third ﬂoor, there’s a
with caramelised garlic cloves, and a Nelson, tel: +64 3 548 4638. room complete with new marble bathroom,
Saturday-only special of a rosemary, onion- An exciting new development for foodies in and a large window so you can wake up to
jam and rock-salt loaf among the selection. the area, this market is held on Sundays from serene water views. From NZ$165 per double
Lots of takeaway lunch options, too. 9am to noon. In the true spirit of farmers’ per night, including breakfast.
Clockwise from left: when you stay
at Wakeﬁeld Quay House, you can
to enjoy the amazing art collection;
‘the castle’ as Warwick House is
known to locals, sits on a hill
overlooking the city; the chic
studio rooms at Awaroa Lodge;
green as far as the eye can see
at The Resurgence.
Awaroa Lodge (see Where to Eat), and relaxed, and will tell you anything you In addition, Kahurangi Estate winery (see
www.awaroalodge.co.nz. want to know about the area. There are three Wineries, www.kahurangiwine.com), has an
There’s no road access, but once you get here rooms, all with ensuites and one with a 80-year old cottage that has been luxuriously
you won’t want to leave this natural paradise. private balcony. From NZ$225 per double per refurbished. It’s self-contained, with a full
Minutes from the long, sandy beach and night, including breakfast and drinks with kitchen and barbecue area, and sleeps six.
stunning walks, all the activities you could delicious snacks. If you’re keen on sailing, From NZ$290 per double per night, including
want are at your ﬁngertips. Rooms include John has a 32-foot yacht you can hire. breakfast hamper and a bottle of wine.
chic studios with private balconies and The Resurgence, Riwaka Valley, RD3
family rooms that sleep up to eight. From Motueka, tel: +64 3 528 4664, WHAT TO DO
NZ$210 per double per night. www.resurgence.co.nz. Visit a national park: The stunning Abel
Warwick House, 64 Brougham St, Nelson, tel: Set among 20 hectares of native bush, with Tasman is understandably popular for
+64 3 548 3164, www.warwickhouse.co.nz. stunning views up to Takaka Hill, there are anything from a boat cruise to a few hours’
Carefully restored by Nick and Jenny Ferrier, four rooms in the stylish lodge and two self- walking or a ﬁve-day kayak adventure.
‘The Castle’, as this turreted 1854 house is contained cottages. Lots of outdoorsy types Get arty: From glass-blowing and ceramics to
known to locals, has now regained much of come here to enjoy the walks, but for those stunning jewellery, a visit to a gallery is a
its former grandeur. The Bayview suite looks who just want to lie by the pool, it’s blissful. must. For an idea of the breadth of the region’s
out over the city towards the water, the From NZ$295 per double per night, including talent, visit: www.nelsonarts.org.nz.
Tower suite features the octagonal tower breakfast and a Mediterranean-style, four- Go ﬁshing: Catch your own salmon along the
lounge, and the Peacock Garden suite has a course dinner served in the lodge. tranquil banks of the clear Anatoki River at a
private garden and spa. From NZ$220 per Bronte Lodge, Bronte Road East, (off the freshwater salmon farm. More information,
double per night, including breakfast – which Coastal Highway near Mapua), Nelson, visit: www.anatokisalmon.co.nz.
is served in the ballroom, no less. tel: +64 3 540 2422, www.brontelodge.co.nz. Learn a new skill: Participate in a one-day
Wakeﬁeld Quay House, 385 Wakeﬁeld Quay, Sitting on Bronte Peninsula surrounded by workshop on olive oil, seafood, organic
Port Hills, Nelson, tel: +64 3 546 7275, orchards and vineyards, there are two villas brewing or winemaking. More information,
www.wakeﬁeldquay.co.nz. and two suites here with all you could visit: www.creativetourism.co.nz. d.
With water views overlooking Tasman Bay, possibly want, plus a tennis court and heated Thanks to Tourism New Zealand for its assistance
this classic colonial villa has tasteful modern pool. From NZ$440 per double per night, with this feature, visit: www.newzealand.com.
furnishings and a stunning collection of local including breakfast served on the deck of the Thankyou also to Air New Zealand, tel: 13 24 76
art. Owners Woodi and John Moore are fun charming Fraser family’s homestead. or visit: www.airnewzealand.com.au.