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Nelson region


Nelson, famed for it's sunny climate has a diverse coastal environment and landform ranging from mountains to coastal plains, foothills and estuaries, which is reflected in our regions four recreation bathing monitoring sites, Monaco Beach, Tahunanui Beach, the Haven and Cable Bay. Situated in the eastern part of Tasman Bay, Nelson's relatively sheltered rocky coves and estuaries provide outstanding vantage points and access points to experience iconic features of the region, including the Boulder Bank, New Zealand's longest natural cobble and boulder spit and wide vistas of Tasman Bay, stretching out to the snow-capped peaks of Arthur Range to the north west and remote and unmodified headlands to the north east. Nelson's  recreation areas cater for a range of activities and interests, and are well supported by good access, parking and other amenities.

Nelson’s recreation bathing programme commenced in 1999, including three sites at Tahunanui Beach. The current four marine recreation sites at Tahunanui Beach, Cable Bay, the Haven and Monaco have all been monitored since 2003. Overall Nelson’s beaches are clean and have good water quality. Tahunanui Beach and Cable Bay have retained Good recreation grades, with Nelson Haven and Monaco attaining Fair grades. Occasional bacteria exceedences recorded at the sites have been explained by wet-weather effects, due to sampling when bathing sites were contaminated by storm water run off or strong onshore winds re-mobilising sediment entrained with bacteria.  

 Nelson City Council takes 20 water samples at each site over the summer period, sampling weekly between December and March, reporting weekly bacteria results to the Nelson Marlborough District Health Board (NMDHB). Council has adopted a Management Procedure based on the national Microbial Water Quality Guidelines and liaises regularly with the NMDHB when required to consult on potential sources of bacteria, the risk to public health and the appropriate action required, which may include public health warnings. 

Prior to the main onset of the summer recreation season, Council issues a public health awareness article in Live Nelson recommending the public to avoid swimming when bathing water is discoloured following rain events.  At the end of the summer the key results for bathing water quality are reported on the Council’s web page This annual summary provides a grading for each site for the suitability for contact recreation, and some interpretation of the results and how Council has responded.


Monitored beaches in the Nelson region

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