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Tasman region

Can I swim here?

Swimming in rivers and coastal beaches in Tasman is very popular, particularly from December to March when water temperatures get over 18oC. Throughout the district there are over 120 well-known swimming holes and bathing beaches and many more “secret spots” that have been cherished over generations. It has been estimated in 2001 that there were about 115,000 times person swims in the rivers in the Waimea catchment (particularly the Roding, Lee and Wairoa). At the time this was equivalent to one swim for every person from Nelson, Richmond and out to areas to Mapua and Wakefield. On peak days it was estimated that over 4,000 people swam, just in the Waimea catchment. The most popular rivers for swimming in the district are (in order from most to least): Roding, Lee, Takaka, Motupiko, Wairoa, Waimea and Motueka. Some rivers such as the Buller and Matakitaki are known nationally and internationally for whitewater kayaking and rafting. Those involved in those sports are at a similar level of risk to swimmers if the level of disease-causing organisms is elevated as their heads are often under the water (this is defined as contact recreation).  Kaiteriteri and Rabbit Island were the most popular coastal beaches for swimming, followed by Tata, Pohara, Little Kaiteriteri, Stephens Bay, and Mapua Leisure Park. Many of these sites are also used for water skiing, which is also a “contact recreation”.

Monitored sites in the Tasman region

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