Mapua midway Nelson and Motueka offers a vibrant wharf, a quaint village and beautiful waterfront. Mapua is not however just a pretty face but the gateway to the ecologically sensitive Waimea Inlet, an estuary dotted with small islands. Migratory birds and even orca can be spotted seasonally. Excellent wineries and artisan fare can be found in the surrounding countryside.
Explore the back-roads and trails by foot or bicycle, then join the locals on the patio of one of the many independent restaurants or cafes located on the Mapua waterfront. My favourites include the Smokehouse where an order of fish and chips on the wharf at Mapua can be enjoyed. Equally divine is the sophisticated Jellyfish Café & Bar, a Mediterranean-influenced seaside café and bar. The Golden Bear Brewing Company is a brew-pub where Los Angeles-inspired Mexican food is fused with carefully-sourced local ingredients. At Swell Bar a good game of pool and a social vibe always on the cards. The wharf in addition has its own maritime museum, art galleries, hattery, ice cream stall and a ferry that commutes explorers to nearby Rabbit Island and back again. The island offers a 13km unspoilt tidal beach that is great for swimming and popular with picnickers. Tables and barbecues are all provided as well as changing rooms and toilets.
Two minutes away at the Mapua Village the Sprig & Fern Craft beer bar offers the gold standard, as the village includes a local bakery, tennis courts, convenience store, steampunk curios, quilt shop and a nudist colony. The Mapua PlayHouse is a short drive (or bike) away and offers live music surrounded by Alice in Wonder gardens as artists and their studios are found throughout Mapua long popular with creative types. You can hire bikes from Kiwi Journeys on the Mapua Wharf and explore. A must do place to explore when visiting the Tasman region!