There are three main beaches within one hour of Nelson city
This is the city beach, located 10 minutes by car from the city centre. Tahunanui Beach is a long, grey-sand beach. It is great for swimming at high tide. Many locals choose to swim off the sea-wall here at high tide. There are also steps from the road, down to the water, at numerous locations between the city and Tahunanui Beach. You can hire paddle-boards at Tahunanui Beach.
This is a sheltered beach 30 minutes north east of Nelson city. This beach is also very popular with locals, as you can swim here at any tide. It is a great spot for a picnic at any time.
This is a recreation reserve, 30 minutes south west of Nelson city. This is a huge beach, so you can always find a private spot here. It is also best at high tide. There are barbeques here, but no shops or cafes.
At Mapua, locals (especially kids) love to swim off the old wharf. You can also swim here at Grossi Point at high tide. This is a lovely sheltered inlet area.
There is a very scenic sandspit at Motueka, where you can swim at high tide. This is a beautiful golden sandspit, rich in birdlife.
This is the jewel in the crown for swimming in this region. Kaiteriteri is a golden sand beach. The main beach gets very busy with boats and people during the summer season, so we recommend you check out Little Kaiteriteri, which is a smaller beach on the right hand-side of the main beach. Breaker Bay is another smaller beach, this one is on the left hand side of the main beach. You can hire paddleboards and kayaks at Kaiteriteri.