When looking on a world map to check out New Zealand, the ‘land of the Kiwis’ seems so tiny. It looks so easy to navigate this little country in a matter of days. But this perception is so very wrong! Our big Australian neighbour calculates distances in the thousand kilometers (or miles). In New Zealand its more in the hundreds. But the key difference is that New Zealand has a) lots of hills and mountain ranges and b) very few highways. So its very important to factor in travel times and distances in New Zealand to make an itinerary work!
In fact our max. speed limit is 100 km/h (approx. 60 miles/h) – and that’s everywhere (note: this is currently being reviewed to 110 km/h for some parts of the road network).
Based on incorrect assumptions, international travellers often plan their New Zealand holiday with insufficient time. Travel time and distances in New Zealand are grossly underestimated. It often turns out visitors spend more time on the road than they initially bargained for. Local New Zealanders frequently use domestic flights to cover those long distances, especially between the North & South Island. This saves not only time, but also money. If you book airfares in advance, they become quite affordable. And if you compare it with other modes of travel like ferry crossings plus the price of petrol, airfares compare very well.
There are a number of online calculators available online. They are good and give a first impression on these subjects. The key issue is time (not the distance). Generally speaking, when travelling with a rental car, calculate on 80 km/h on average. And with a motorhome, calculate on 60 km/h. There is always a hill, windy road or a truck you have to pass. You really don’t want to do more then 250-300 kilometres (165 – 200 miles) on the road per day. Believe me, this will get very tiring and dangerous. Also, you want to have plenty of time to ‘stop and go’ at view points, scenic walks and guided tours. Rushing through New Zealand is not a good idea!
Very few travellers to New Zealand have more then 2-3 weeks to cover all of New Zealand. Within this time frame we recommend this:
> use 1/3 of your time in the North Island and 2/3 in the South Island
> use a one-way rental – say between Auckland and Rotorua
> then take a domestic flight to one of the key airport in the South Island
> pick-up another rental car at the airport and continue your journey
By international standards, New Zealand airports are much smaller and that makes check-in and luggage procedure much shorter and really easy. Air New Zealand is a well regarded local carrier.
Nelson is one of the sunniest places in New Zealand. There are many lovely hills around, so you’ll get fantastic views on a day or half day walk. Favourite Nelson day walks are high on our list, as we live here. And gosh, there are some lovely options! All in all there are about 56 Nelson walks (see Nelson Council website). But here’s just a few favourite Nelson day walks.
There are a couple of entries for this walk that you can choose from. Either walk from the Botanical Gardens Reserve or from opposite Founders Park in Atawhai Drive. Both options are quite steep in parts and I can guarantee they’ll get your heart-rate going. It’s often what you see on the way that really enhances a walk like this. Sheep (and sometimes goats) grazing peacefully alongside. As you draw close to the top of this walk, remember to take the track to the left (the Kauri Track). That track will lead to the summit of the Centre of New Zealand.
At the summit there is a newish platform built from where you can absorb the views from the seats around the platform. And behind you, well let’s just say it’s so worth the effort folks.
To the left of you is the Trafalgar Street Bridge and this is where you can walk alongside the river to Collingwood Street. Turn left, and cross the Collingwood Street Bridge. Turn hard right from the bridge into Shakespeare Walk and follow the river – this is such a great spot for a summer picnic. The Nelson Council have kindly provided picnic tables and benches for this very reason.
Cross the river again at the Riverside footbridge. Turn left and walk by the Riverside Pool. This is where you follow the beautiful Maitai Walkway. At Bridge Street leave the walkway to cross over the Normanby Bridge. This is a very calming walk with the Matai River gently flowing beside you. http://nelson.govt.nz/recreation/recreation/walks-and-walkways/walk-nelson/nelson-central-walks/2-bridges-walk/
Take a stroll along the Maitai River path to Collingwood Street and continue along until you come to the Nile Street Bridge. From then on, an arrow will guide you under the bridge and then up the stairs. Continue the track along to Clouston’s Bridge (on Nile Street). Walk across across the bridge and turn right to Maitai Valley Road. Follow for about 40 metres and turn left at the letterboxes. Follow the track and signposts to the playing field. Go up the track and to the left. You’ll love the native trees – brachyglottis, mahoe, lancewoods, titoki, matai and kahikatea. http://nelson.govt.nz/recreation/recreation/walks-and-walkways/walk-nelson/nelson-central-walks/8-maitai-walkway-and-lower-botanics/
This beach is very safe and its a great place to spend a few hours just chilling. We usually walk it in the earlier part of the morning, especially summer.
This is an easy stroll for most fitness levels. And it’s so easy to find from the main road going out towards Richmond. I love this beach. It has the most friendly family atmosphere and it really is a joyful place to be. Although it does get very busy. See what a difference a few hours can make…
This is quite a challenging walk as the track is steep pretty much all the way up. Start at the corner of Brougham and Collingwood streets or from the centre of town walk via Selwyn Place and Collingwood Street. About half way up the street move over to the left and you’ll see an easier route up some steps. At the top of Collingwood Street there is a map of the Grampians – there are numerous tracks to follow and you could spend hours walking all of them. http://nelson.govt.nz/recreation/recreation/walks-and-walkways/walk-nelson/nelson-south-walks/38-grampians-walkway/
On a clear day, this untouched spot is a very popular with locals and visitors. The beach is beautiful, although it is a stony beach more suited to kayaking. The walkway between the Glen and Cable Bay has wonderful rural views of tussock and a beautiful beach cove.
Be warned, parts of this walk are steep steep and sturdy shoes are an absolute must. Some of this is private land with stock grazing so dogs must be left at home. But the rural aspect of this walk is a great attraction for kids who may have never seen a sheep grazing in the open. Remember to use the tiles and not farm gates and stick to the tracks.
These are our favourite Nelson day walks. There are so many more to be experienced in the Tasman District. Just gives you an idea as to why we love living in this region.