Dubbed the ‘Sunshine Capital of New Zealand’, Nelson is the perfect spot to kick off your jandals and enjoy the sea. Perched at the northern tip of the South Island, Nelson is home to some of the country’s finest beaches and Palazzo Motor Lodge wants to help you make the most of them. Our list of local beaches will help you discover the sparkling sea that this region has to offer. 

Tahunanui Beach 

Known to locals at Tahuna Beach, this stretch of white sand is in the Nelson suburb of Tahunanui. It is a sheltered beach with typically gentle waves, making it a great spot to enjoy a swim, kitesurf or seaside stroll. Be like a local and follow up your swim with a visit to the local hangout, the Beach Café, for a flat white. If you’re keen on history, check out the statue of Abel Tasman – the Dutch explorer famous for being the first European to discover New Zealand. 

The Glen and Cable Bay 

Head northeast along the coast and you’ll come across two neighbouring beaches, The Glen and Cable Bay. These gorgeous beaches both make for an excellent day out with beautiful scenery to boot. For a real challenge, try the three-and-a-half-hour Cable Bay Walkway that runs between the Glen and Cable Bay. It’s tough going but rewards you with stunning views of Nelson city, Pepin Island and the Tasman Bay. 

Rabbit Island 

Up the coast northwest of Nelson is Rabbit Island. The largest sandy island in the Waimea Estuary, you can get to Rabbit Island via a short ferry ride leaving from Mapua. On Rabbit Island, you will find a kilometres-long stretch of quiet, peaceful beach. The limited access and safe waters create a cherished private space making the beach a local favourite. Best of all, no flash homes are built on the island, so you won’t leave with bach envy. 

Motueka Beach Reserve 

Keep going up the coast until you find the friendly little town of Motueka. At the end of Wharf Road is Motueka Beach Reserve, a recreational reserve that gives visitors access to the area’s gorgeous coastline. Next to the Motueka Salt Baths, the Beach Reserve is a popular spot for a picnic or family outing. There’s a playground and picnic tables, not to mention that spectacular view. 

Kaiteriteri Beach 

A little further afield is Kaiteriteri, the launching pad for most Abel Tasman tours. Kaiteriteri offers a gorgeous stretch of the region’s famously golden sand and turquoise sea. As the gateway to Abel Tasman, Kaiteriteri Beach is the perfect place to start a kayaking tour or take a water taxi further into Abel Tasman National Park.