Road Trip Destinations: Nelson to Kaiteriteri

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By Ben Selby

The summer months are quickly coming to an end. However, there is still plenty of time to hop in your classic and head out on a warm summer drive. Those in the South Island, particularly those residing in Canterbury and Marlborough immediately associate summer with one particular place, Kaiteriteri.

For many, Kaiteriteri is the definitive summer holiday destination. With its stunning scenery, golden sandy beaches and almost tropical vibe, this little community is always packed full of visitors. Many from the South Island choose Kaiteriteri as the perfect location for a holiday home or bach. Something which comes in dead handy come new years eve but that is another story.

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Leaving from Nelson, here is how you can enjoy a day out in this very special part of the Tasman District. The drive itself is not a particularly long one, around 50 minutes or so, but its still a good un. If one were to start from the centre of Nelson township, the best route is to drive south along SH6 before turning right and heading along SH60.

It is very much a case of following SH60 till you reach the turn off to Kaiteriteri. However, along the way there is plenty to see. Take Mapua for example. As SH60, or the Coastal Highway if you prefer, starts to curve, you have the option of taking Mapua Drive and heading down to Mapua and Ruby Bay.

Here you can gently motor near the coastline and if you are feeling hungry, stop at Ruby Bay Kitchen for some nibbles and a refreshing beverage. Carrying along Stafford Dr, it becomes Aporo Road before you re-join SH60.  

Before long you arrive in Motueka, or “Mot” as the locals call it. Home of the famous Gecko Theatre, yummy Donuts from The Smoking Barrell and the Janie Seddon Shipwreck, there is plenty to do here if you fancy stopping on your way through.

Leaving Motueka, SH60 starts to twist and turning heading through Riwaka. Soon you come to a T-Junction where you hack a right onto Riwaka Kaiteriteri Road. Drop down a gear or two and let your classic pootle along the winding coast road. Here the traffic can get a bit congested as there may be a lot of people trying to do exactly what you are doing. Nevertheless, it’s a beautiful bit of road.

Before you know it, you arrive in Kaiteriteri. The main gateway to the Abel Tasman National Park, there is so much to do here. Grab an ice cream at the local shop and look out over the bay.

Head to the Beached Whale Restaurant and Bar for a pizza and a pint. Or if you crave a long walk, take a water taxi up to various points like Anchorage and Marahau and walk back. Also, be sure to bring your swimming togs as in the summer, warm water and the chance to Kayak and paddle board is never far away.

Its hard to fault Kaiteriteri. It is and always will be a holiday destination of epic proportions.

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