Things to Do in Nelson for Couples
In a place where couples can enjoy a beach getaway one day and a mountain hike the next, you’re really spoiled for choice in Nelson. The breathtaking wilderness areas of three national parks are one thing, but with vineyards and beautiful city gardens the stage is certainly set for romance. Choose your ideal experiences for a romantic getaway to Nelson with this list of romantic activities in Nelson for couples.
For more romantic things to do in Nelson, as well as travel advice, check out The Honeymoon Guide to Nelson.
1. Team Up in a Double Kayak in the Abel Tasman National Park
If there’s only one thing you know about Nelson it’s probably that it’s close to the golden-sand shores of the Abel Tasman National Park, so let’s waste no time getting you there! A romantic way to explore the park is by teaming up in a double kayak to paddle between beaches, marine reserves and islands. A popular option is the walk and kayak tour with Abel Tasman Kayaks (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor), while Kahu Kayaks (on Viator and Tripadvisor) offers a comprehensive all-kayak tour with lunch and freshly-brewed coffee included.
Location: Abel Tasman Kayaks – 273 Sandy Bay-Marahau Road, Marahau. Kahu Kayaks – 325 Sandy Bay-Marahau Road, Marahau, both approximately 65km (40 miles) from Nelson.
2. Cycle the Great Taste Trail
The Great Taste Cycle Trail is a 1-4 day journey through Nelson Tasman’s coastal and rural landscapes incorporating food, wine and art. Not only is it a fantastic challenge to tackle together, but it’s also one of the more relaxing cycle journeys in New Zealand. Kiwi Journeys (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor) and Wheelie Fantastic Cycle Tours can organise all the logistics of this trail whether you want to do the whole thing or just a day ride.
Location: Between the Nelson i-SITE and Riwaka.
3. Do Some Winery-hopping
Head out across Tasman Bay and you’ll come across an array of vineyards for wine tastings and fine dining, as featured in the 24 Nelson Wineries on the Nelson Wine Trail. While many can be reached on the Great Taste Trail (see point #2), you can either visit them independently or on a small-group tour with Wine, Art & Wilderness (on Viator and Tripadvisor), Bay Tours or Day Out. If you’re more of a couple of beer-drinkers, you might be more interested in the 8 Craft Breweries in Nelson You Have to Try.
Location: All over Nelson Tasman.
4. See the Love Birds at the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary
If nature makes your heart melt, then don’t miss this affordable attraction just outside of Nelson city. Brook Waimarama Sanctuary is the South Island’s largest sanctuary with a predator-proof fence. Here, native birds, reptiles, insects and flora thrive among the picturesque forest with creeks and waterfalls. A stroll to the birdsong makes for a romantic walk.
Location: 651 Brook Street, approximately 6km (4 miles) from Nelson city centre.
5. Tackle a Hike Together in Kahurangi, Nelson Lakes or Cable Bay
Walk hand-in-hand on one of the many hiking trails around Nelson! Now, there are so many walks to choose from that it would be crazy to add them all here. Nevertheless, you have three national parks surrounding Nelson, as well as scenic gems like the Cable Bay Walkway (3h30min oneway) just a short drive from the city. The Kahurangi National Park is pure untamed wilderness, home to the Heaphy Track Great Walk and the Riwaka Resurgence. Alternatively, the Nelson Lakes National Park is home to breathtaking walks particularly around Lake Rotoiti and Lake Rotoroa.
Location: Cable Bay Walkway – Airlie Street, Glenduan, approximately 14km (9 miles) from Nelson city centre. Kahurangi National Park – Riwaka Resurgence, Riwaka Valley Road, approximately 64km (40 miles) from Nelson city. Nelson Lakes National Park – Lake Rotoiti, St Arnaud, approximately 88km (55 miles) from Nelson city centre.
6. Dine and Watch the Sunset from Mapua Wharf
For romantic dining in Nelson, you can hardly do better than Mapua Wharf for its array of eateries overlooking the tranquil waters of the Waimea Estuary. Enjoy a wine tasting experience at the Rimu Wine Bar, New Zealand surf and turf at the Jellyfish Restaurant or at The Apple Shed Kitchen & Bar, both with rivalling views looking all the more breathtaking a sunset. For romantic dining in Nelson, see our restaurant recommendations in The Honeymoon Guide to Nelson.
Location: Aranui Road, approximately 33km (20 miles) from Nelson city centre.
7. Do Quad Biking in Cable Bay
Adventurous couples can get silly together on the quad biking tours at the Cable Bay Adventure Park. Ride through the bush and farm on the Farm Forest Ride or enjoy a more complete experience on the 2h30min Bayview Circuit covering 14km (8.5 miles) of terrain from bush to outstanding views of Cable Bay. Either way, you’ll be self-driving these exciting vehicles, following your guide to amazing lookouts and learning more about the area. Find out more about Cable Bay Adventure Park on Viator and Tripadvisor.
Location: 194 Cable Bay Road, Hira, approximately 16km (10 miles) from Nelson city centre.
8. Do a Luxury Helicopter Tour
Want to celebrate a special occasion or perhaps pop the question? Do something extra special like a helicopter experience with Helicopters Nelson New Zealand. They’ll take you on a scenic flight to just about anywhere in the Nelson Tasman region, but some romantic packages worth considering include the D’Urville Indulgence package where you’ll partake in a spot of helicopter reef fishing before landing on the island for your catch to be cooked up and washed down with fine local wine or beer. Alternatively, do the Marlborough Vineyard Discoverer where you’ll fly over the breathtaking Mt Richmond Forest Park before landing in the Wairau Valley for wine tasting and a gourmet lunch. Find out more about Helicopters Nelson New Zealand on Viator and Tripadvisor. Plus, for more helicopter tours, check out the 8 Luxury Activities in Nelson.
Location: Nelson Airport, Dakota Street, approximately 7km (4 miles) from Nelson city centre.
9. Explore Nelson’s Gardens
If staying in the city centre of Nelson, be sure to take a stroll in the beautiful Queen’s Gardens with its gorgeous flower gardens, sculptures, water features and more. Founders Park also provides a romantic setting in a bygone era with heritage-style buildings still with working artisans and museum displays to admire.
Location: Queen’s Gardens – Access off Bridge Street, Tasman Street and Hardy Street, Nelson city centre. Founders Park – 87 Atawhai Drive, approximately 2km (1.2 miles) from Nelson city centre.
10. Indulge in a Couple’s Massage
Finally, if you prefer something more relaxing, then indulge the senses with a spa treatment shared together at the Erban Spa in Nelson city. Enjoy a couple’s massage with organic spa products and packages including dinner at a local fine dining restaurant. Alternatively, retreat to Kimi Ora Eco Resort with this luxurious accommodation and spa treatments for men and women. It’s also one of the 10 Things to Do in Nelson on a Rainy Day.
Location: Erban Spa Nelson – 14 Nile Street. Kimi Ora Eco Retreat – 99 Martin Farm Road, Kaiteriteri, approximately 61km (38 miles) from Nelson city centre.