The Neat Taste Trail of Nelson Tasman

A woman about to eat a meal at a table inside Moutere Inn in  the Tasman District.

A journey of edible delights and surprises for your tastebuds.

Words by: Petra Nyman

Photography by: Neat Places & Supplied

Renowned for artisanal expertise, the Nelson Tasman region is full of producers, growers, bakers, brewers and winemakers. Agreeable climate and fertile grounds make the Top of the South an ideal breeding area for exciting edibles. Follow our neat taste trail to experience the best this region has to offer.

The Junction

151 McShane Road, Appleby

Step inside The Junction at Old Factory Corner and be transported to a bygone era of expertise grocers. Find a cabinet heaving with local artisanal cheeses, cured meats and a collection of wines to match. The people behind the counter are knowledgeable about their products and take the time to work with each customer for a personal shopping experience. Pop in next door to the family-owned and operated Connings Food Market for locally grown and produced goods.

The Nelson Wine Trail

Various locations

The Nelson Tasman region is spoiled with a huge number of world-class wineries. There’s no better way to appreciate the craft of winemaking than by tasting different wines in the place where they are made. Make sure to stop at Forsters, Unkel and Neudorf Vineyard for some of the tastiest drops in the area.

Photo credit: Neudorf Vineyard

The Moutere Inn

1406 Moutere Highway, Upper Moutere

The Moutere Inn is the oldest pub in New Zealand still operating in its original building. Expect proper kiwi pub vibes, generous and tasty meals, craft beers galore and local wine sourced from within a 10km radius of the pub – all topped with stunning valley views and uber-friendly service.

TOAD Hall Café

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502 High St, Motueka, Tasman

Refuel at T.O.A.D Hall with its famous cold-pressed juices and real fruit ice cream. Find a spot in the sun or under the shade of a tree, let the kids roam the garden and playground, sit back and enjoy. Grab a bottle or two of the delicious juices to take home in glass bottles, because once you know how good they are, it would be a crying shame not to!

The Smokehouse

Shed 2, Māpua Wharf, Nelson

Nothing beats the classic kiwi meal of fish and chips right on the waterfront. At The Smokehouse the humble feast is elevated to a gourmet experience, and the views of the Waimea Estuary are hard to beat. Stock up on smoked fish to enjoy at home too, while reminiscing about your journey through the foodie wonderland of the Tasman region.

The Smoking Barrel

105 High Street, Port Motueka

An American BBQ style diner in Motueka, The Smoking Barrel takes meat preparation very seriously. Imagine slow-cooked, falling off the bone tenderness in a variety of carnivorous meal options, plus a comfortable, homey atmosphere in which to enjoy your meal. This spot also specialises in satisfying even the biggest sweet tooth, with its creative hand-made donuts that sell out on a daily basis.

The Golden Bear Brewery

501/6 Aranui Road Māpua

Taste a range of exclusive craft beers at Golden Bear Brewery. These brews are sold only on tap right here at the Māpua Wharf. Golden Bear celebrates California style Pales, IPAs and New England Hazys, with a rotating selection of other beers, plus wine and cider on tap. Pair your drink of choice with LA-inspired Mexican and American bar food, such as tacos and burgers, and you’ll be sure to leave very satisfied indeed.

The Mussel Inn

259 State Highway 60, Onekaka

A true definition of a green dining destination, with a quirky Golden Bay twist, The Mussel Inn is a must-visit when in Golden Bay. The pub makes its own beers, ciders and soft drinks to minimize on freight and subsequent greenhouse gas emissions, with the apples and feijoas used in these beverages grown on-site. Produce for the kitchen comes from the restaurant’s own garden as well. The Mussel Inn also boasts composting toilets and self-made riggers, and uses water from brewing to irrigate the orchard. Plus, this institution is constructed out of recycled materials and locally sourced timber, with artworks and quirky collectables embellishing the walls. To top it all off, The Mussel Inn is a world famous live music destination, with musicians queuing up on a waitlist for years for the chance to play here. 

Photo credit: The Mussel Inn 

The Dangerous Kitchen

46 Commercial Street, Tākaka

The Dangerous Kitchen in Tākaka is famous for good vibes and great food. It can also be commended for its sustainable efforts — with just about all the fresh produce used in the kitchen organically and locally grown. The kitchen makes everything from scratch, from pizza bases to pesto and aioli.

Toto's Café & Pizzeria

Totaranui Road, Tākaka

A summertime visit to Golden Bay is not complete without a stop at Toto’s Café & Pizzeria. Open on a weather-permitting basis, this gem is located on the hillside on the road to Totaranui. Expect delicious wood-fired pizza’s in an off-grid environment, complete with stunning views of Wainui Bay and lawn games.

Photo credit: Toto's Café & Pizzeria

Neat Nelson Tasman Places

The Apple Pickers' Cottages

One of the black Apple Pickers' Cottages nestled among bushes.
Place Nelson Tasman
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Channel your inner Rita Angus and step into an idyllic piece of Nelson Tasman at The Apple Pickers’ Cottages.

Zappekin Artists & Allies

Studio space at Zappekin Artists & Allies, Nelson Tasman.
Place Nelson Tasman
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Zappekin Artists & Allies is a co-op of seven resident creatives formed to create community for local artists, a space to come together and work in, exhibit and collaborate in.

The Wholemeal Café

A view of the colourful Wholemeal Cafe from above.
Place Golden Bay
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Arguably the town’s most recognisable eatery, The Wholemeal Café, is housed in the former Takaka Theatre that dates back to 1910.

Arden + Porta Via

Customers sitting on a bench seat at Arden.
Place Nelson Tasman Editor's Pick
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Arden is a culinary experience you shouldn’t leave Nelson without enjoying.