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Things to do in Tāhunanui | travel guide

Tāhunanui is a beach suburb of Nelson. Located at the top of the South Island and with plenty of charming restaurants, a fantastic atmosphere, and lots of accommodation options, it’s a great base.

Aside from the scenic Tāhunanui Beach, you’ve got plenty of other attractions nearby. Whether you fancy visiting a wildlife park or trampolining, you’re sure to find something to do without venturing too far – and when you are ready, you’ve got the rest of Nelson on your doorstep.

This Tāhunanui guide is going to detail everything you need to know for your visit. This includes the best things to do, where to eat and accommodation options.

A sunset featuring a town and distant mountain ranges with thin fog blanketing them, but still shows their dramatic silhouettes in shades of gold and gray skies.
Tāhunanui at sunset. Photo: Helleau.

Things to do in Tāhunanui

These are some of the best things to do in Tāhunanui…

Tāhunanui Beach

Tāhunanui Beach is the closest beach to the city centre. It stretches for 1.75 km and is one of the most family-friendly beaches in the area.

It is a popular spot for watersport activities and seeing marine life (including stingrays, dolphins and orca).

You can also spend some time sunbathing on the golden sand or dining at one of the seafront restaurants.

Just remember to use plenty of sunscreen and sun protection if you’re out in the elements – the sun in New Zealand is strong.

A wide beach with white sands, some logs placed near its fence while beach goers relax nearby. There's also a view of the houses on the hillsides.
Photo: Travolution360.

Natureland Wildlife Trust

Nelson is home to an awesome wildlife sanctuary called Natureland Wildlife Trust.

There are tons of animals to see here including native species, heritage breeds, and other species including meerkats, monkeys and alpacas.

For the best experience, we recommend checking out one of the centre’s keeper talks. They take place throughout the day across the park.

Hounsell Circle, Tāhunanui Beach Reserve, Nelson, 7011

Nelson Fun Park

Certainly a popular option for families, Nelson Fun Park is a great place for the little ones to let off some steam.

With mini golf, a hydro slide, and bumper boats, this is the ultimate in family fun!

Locally owned and operated for more than 30 years, we recommend picking up a combo ticket to cover all activities – this provides the best value.

Back Beach Road, Tāhunanui Beach, Nelson 7010

Dads riding on bumper boats and enjoying the thrill in Nelson Fun Park while their kids watch on the sides. A view of a long tube slide is also visible in the background.
Photo: Nelson Fun Park.

Jumpin’ Trampoline Park

Jumpin’ is the perfect place to go for some fun on a rainy day. With over 26 activities and areas, including trampolines, swing ropes, foam pits, and obstacles, there’s plenty to challenge the whānau.

Whether you’re looking to have fun as a family or have a unique date with your partner, this is a fun spot just down the road from Tāhunanui.

14 Pascoe Street, Annesbrook, Nelson

A young kid in blue shirts, black shorts, and green socks holding his shin-bone while backflipping mid-air with kids watching in the background.
Photo: Jumpin’.

Places to eat in Tāhunanui

Smugglers Pub & Cafe

Smugglers Pub & Cafe is one of the most popular dining options in Tāhunanui. It’s within walking distance of the beach and is known for its hearty meals, international wines and beers, and fantastic atmosphere.

There’s plenty of seating here and a bar (if you’d prefer to just grab a quick drink).

8 Muritai Street, Tāhunanui, Nelson 7011

Taaj Indian Restaurant & Cafe

The Taaj Indian Restaurant is another great local choice.

They have an extensive menu including Indo-Chinese dishes, sizzler platters, seafood specials, and vegetarian options. There are also some tasty traditional desserts.

It’s a fully-licensed restaurant so you’ll have a wide range of beers, ciders, cocktails and wines to choose from.

140 Tāhunanui Drive, Nelson

Sprig + Fern Tavern

Sprig + Fern Tavern is famous for its craft beers and ciders, and they’ve got awesome tasting paddles if you’d prefer to try a selection. Not only that but there’s also a great menu full of fan favourites including burgers and pizzas.

This place has a lovely courtyard too, and dogs are allowed outside here.

Aside from Tāhunanui, you’ll find Sprig + Fern Taverns in a couple of other locations in Nelson too.

13 Beach Road, Tāhunanui, Nelson 7011

Beach Cafe and Bar

Located right near the beach with outdoor seating and delicious food, the Beach Cafe and Bar is another brilliant dining option in Tāhunanui.

With homemade cooking, a great location, and a lovely atmosphere, it’s no wonder this place is so popular.

There, you’ll find plenty of dishes to choose from, including all-day breakfasts, burgers, salads, and a range of light bites.

Tahuna Beach Reserve, Tāhunanui, Nelson 7000

Where to stay in Tāhunanui

If you’re planning to stay in Tāhunanui then here are some fantastic homely accommodation options.

These are our favourites…

Mid-range: Tudor Lodge Motel

At Tudor Lodge Motel, you’ll have the choice of a studio, apartment, or cosy room.

On-site, there’s a landscaped garden, BBQ area, and free WiFi, and the popular Tāhunanui Beach is just a short walk away.

You’ll also be close to several restaurants and stores, making this a great option for those without transport.

Mid-range: The Beachcomber Hotel

Like Tudor Lodge Motel, the Beachcomber Hotel is just a short walk from Tāhunanui Beach.

Here, you can choose from studios or spacious apartments.

Plenty of amenities are included in your stay, including access to a solar-heated swimming pool, BBQ facilities and an on-site restaurant.

Luxury: The Wheelhouse Inn

If you’re looking for a luxury, homely stay then you’ll want to book into The Wheelhouse Inn.

There are five self-contained houses available, each of which is perfect for families and small groups.

Better yet, there are sea views (which are out-of-this-world incredible) and you’ll have a private balcony.

Things to do near Tāhunanui

As Tāhunanui is a suburb of Nelson, it’s only fitting to explore more of the city. Many of these are really close by and can easily be reached by car or public transport.

If you base yourself in Tāhunanui, you can effortlessly explore some of Nelson’s other key attractions. Aside from that, there are some other great places to visit nearby!

Nelson City

Within the city, you’ll find some fantastic attractions including Founders Heritage Park, the Centre of New Zealand Monument and Queen’s Gardens.

Some other popular things to do in Nelson include visiting the Classic Car Museum, Isel House and Park, and the Nelson Market.

You’ve also got Pic’s Peanut Butter World which is a must-visit and a number of worthwhile walks.

>>> Learn more about the best things to do in Nelson.

Three people riding on a bicycle while passing a green and newly grown vineyard.
Bike riding in and around Nelson. Photo credit: Dean McKenzie

Abel Tasman National Park

Although it’s New Zealand’s smallest national park, Abel Tasman is full of things to do!

Home to sandy beaches, native forests, and crystal-clear waters, the scenery here is absolutely breathtaking.

Abel Tasman is also a great spot for outdoor activities including kayaking, sailing, hiking, and canyoning.

Abel Tasman National Park is a one-hour drive from Nelson.

Helicopter flying over the turquoise waters of Abel Tasman National Park with a boat sailing through it.

Kahurangi National Park

Kahurangi National Park is an absolutely stunning spot.

It’s the second-largest national park in the country and its name translates to ‘treasured possession’.

Aside from its beauty, Kahurangi is a great spot for birdwatching as it’s home to a variety of native birds.

The drive time to Kahurangi varies significantly, depending on what part of the national park you want to visit.

Picton

Picton is one of the most charming towns on the South Island. It’s located in the heart of the Marlborough Sounds and is known for its scenic views, great eateries, and The Queen Charlotte Track.

Due to its coastal location, there are plenty of awesome water activities on offer like [discounted] scenic cruising, dolphin-watching, sea kayaking, and fishing.

This is also the location you’ll arrive into if you catch the [discounted] ferry from the North Island.

Picton is a 2-hour drive from Nelson.

The harbour of Picton with sailboats and yachts anchored, and a small fishing boat docked to a pier.

With ample activities, plenty of great eateries, and affordable accommodation options, Tāhunanui is the perfect place to base yourself.

Have you ever been to Tāhunanui? If you have, what was your favourite thing to do?

We’d love to hear all about it in our Facebook group.

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