Rabbit Island (Moturoa)

Rabbit Island (Moturoa)



11 Rankers Reviews

10 Face-to-Face

1 Richmond

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A very busy bank holiday


Rabbit Island (Moturoa) is the largest of a group of sandy islands lying in the Waimea Estuary at the head of Tasman Bay.

15 minutes drive from Richmond, along its seaward side there is more than eight kilometres of safe sandy beach. This is the largest picnic area in the district.

Much of the island is covered in pine plantations owned by the Tasman District Council. The Council has set aside a large area of land adjacent to the beach as a public reserve.

The beach and public reserves are open for use during daylight hours only throughout the year and may be closed during times of high fire risk.

Conifer Park Mountain Bike Tracks lie to the west of the Rabbit Island picnic areas. Conifer Park has 2 kilometres of singletrack suitable for riders of all abilities. In the weekend "The Secret Side of Moturoa Bike Track" is open around the perimeter of the western half of the island.

There is a perimeter road just above the beach around most of the island, popular with local walking groups. The public are not permitted to enter the forestry plantations.

The area around the Rabbit Island bridge is a popular spot for white-baiters, while surf-casting can be productive from the front beach.

The main beach at Rabbit Island is a safe swimming location, popular with locals and tourists. The back beach has a boat ramp adjacent to a water skiing area. Both beaches are monitored as part of the Swimming Water Quality monitoring programme.

The tidal waters also provide sustenance for many different sea birds. These include the white heron, royal spoonbill, shags and oyster catchers.


Feature Value Info


Tasman District Council

Local government organisation


South IslandNelson RegionRichmond


  • Cycling
  • Walking
  • Free


Maire O'Grady's avatar

Maire O'Grady


Ranking: 10/10

Beautiful beach walk and great facilities for picnics and toilets.

Reviewed over 5 years ago and experienced in October 2016

Josh Lesley-Smith's avatar

Josh Lesley-Smith

United Kingdom

Ranking: 10/10

Amazing picnic area, plenty of room to park, the beach is lovely and long, great for sunbathing.

Reviewed over 5 years ago and experienced in November 2016

Lucy Millett's avatar

Lucy Millett

United Kingdom

Ranking: 9/10

Long stretch of beach, perfect for walking and when the tide is out you can swim. BBQ area, parking and toilets.

Reviewed over 5 years ago and experienced in November 2016

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Jamie Serieux's avatar

Jamie Serieux

United Kingdom

Ranking: 9/10

Huge area with good facilities, cold showers and barbecues.

Reviewed about 6 years ago and experienced in March 2016

Funhui Temp's avatar

Funhui Temp

Korea, Democratic People's Republic of

Ranking: 9/10

Awesome! Warm water. Nice beach. Clean toilet, awesome! They close of 9:00pm. No camping here.

Reviewed about 6 years ago and experienced in February 2016

Irene Marvelli's avatar

Irene Marvelli


Ranking: 8/10

Lots of local fauna and a beautiful sea.

Reviewed about 6 years ago and experienced in February 2016

Laura Heyoer's avatar

Laura Heyoer


Ranking: 10/10

Great place to relax and swim.

Reviewed over 6 years ago and experienced in February 2016

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Sabrina Mandel's avatar

Sabrina Mandel


Ranking: 9/10

The beach is so big, you find a place to relax, but not too close to other people.

Reviewed over 6 years ago and experienced in February 2016

Dawn Howard's avatar

Dawn Howard

United Kingdom

Ranking: 8/10

Lots of choice and plenty of shaded areas to run - good for a chat with other horsey ladies.

Reviewed over 6 years ago

Lea's avatar



Ranking: 9/10

Great beach, nice views to Nelson on one side and the Abel Tasman on the other side. Maybe a little kiosk would be nice.

Reviewed over 6 years ago and experienced in December 2015

David and Sally Wallis's avatar

David and Sally Wallis

United Kingdom

Ranking: 9/10

Lovely empty beaches.

Reviewed over 9 years ago