(That’s MAH-pua, not Muh-POO-a; less emphasis on the ‘poo’.)
Disclaimer: Not sponsored. Did it for love.
If you’re wondering where to go for your next summer holiday, want gorgeous beaches and sunny days, with great food and wilderness experiences and a laid back vibe without huge crowds, I suggest you get your arse to Tasman, in the north of Enzed’s (N.Z.’s) South Island.
I love it there! We recently stayed in Mapua for a week and I can’t wait to go back. Here’s why.
Why You Should Get Your Arse to Mapua Next Summer:
Summer holiday = sun + outdoors. Bet you thought you couldn’t get those together in New Zealand, didn’t you? At least not much. Well you were wrong. The northern end of the South Island gets the most sunny days of anywhere in the country. And it’s stunning.
Handy to Nelson.
Mapua’s a great base of operations. We flew Gold Coast to Auckland, then a straight shot down to Nelson, followed by an easy 25 minute drive to Mapua. Went to Nelson a few times, including a Saturday morning at the Nelson Markets (OMG incredible pulled pork and coleslaw wrap from a food truck) and then later ferried the boys to Saxton Oval to sort of watch the NZ Black Caps play Sri Lanka (rained out – well, Tasman does need some rain!)
It’s also handy (less than 30km) to Abel Tasman National Park, which, as you know, I lurve. It’s a gorgeous piece of Earth where you can tramp, camp, kayak, swim, cruise, eat, drink, mountain bike, or just lie like a puddle on a beach soaking up rays.
Mouthwatering fush’n’chups at The Smokehouse, browsing at the galleries, waterfront dining at The Apple Shed and other restaurants, a bear… sorry, beer at The Golden Bear Brewing Co., all this and outdoor music gigs.
After all that, if the tide’s in (and you can still move) you can enjoy the traditional local pastime of flinging yourself off the wharf into Waimea Estuary and riding the current down to the campground.
Finn getting his daredevil on.
The beaches in the Abel (I accidentally typoed Anel! heheh) Tasman NP are a must. But also beautiful and much closer is the main beach on Rabbit Island – 8km of shallow warm water and gentle swells.
It’s got a great relaxed vibe, is safe for the kids and has acres of room to run around.
The tide goes waaay out so the beach is also ideal for ball sports; our cricket-mad boys bogged into no less than three games during one visit. Everyone was so relaxed and friendly!
Finn’s quite the all-rounder for a seven year old and I was quite chuffed when he was told he should play for the New Zealand Black Caps… and he said he wanted to play for Australia. (Go you good thing!) Roars got in there too, hit a few but preferred to be the wickie, or run around in the midfield where I was positive he was going to get drilled in the head with the ball.
We had but a sip of The Great Taste Trail, riding around Rabbit Island with the boys for half a day, but there’s loads of bike tracks in the area, with a few requiring first gear and plenty of guts!
Small town friendliness.
Casual chats in line at the shops, charming waitstaff, people willing to open up their cricket game to total strangers, smiles and hello from people passing on the street. That stuff matters.
The owners of the bach where we stayed were especially lovely, coming by to check on us and even having fresh home-baked bread and other goodies waiting for us when we arrived. A real home away from home.
The Naked Bun.
Great name for a bakery, isn’t it? Of course J and his brother instantly renamed it ‘The Nude Bum’. It became our regular stop for great coffee and yummy, yummy baked goods.
Jester House cafe in Ruby Bay just up the road.
The grounds extend several hundred square metres and include a giant chess set, a mini Maori wharenui meeting house, the kind of adventure playground we used to have back home before the fun police ruined everything, and a pond with tame eels you can feed with mince on a popstick.
One fellow was super keen and wriggled out of the water to taste Rory’s shoe. Roars wasn’t fazed. He even let me suspend him over the water so he could reach out to stroke it on the back. He said it was “all gooey”. I patted it too, and it was slippery as… er, an eel.
In addition, the inside is adorned with creations by local artists and sculptors – art to entertain you while your delicious food is prepared!
So, after all that, do you agree with me, Mapua is the duck’s nuts? Maybe you’ve already been to Tasman; where’d you base yourself? Did you see the other national parks – Kahurangi and Nelson Lakes? What are your favourite bits?