Motueka (mo-too-eh-ka) is a horticultural center—hops, kiwifruit, and apples are among its staples. As a major gateway to two national parks, Kahurangi and Abel Tasman, Motueka also attracts kayakers, hikers, and holidaymakers. The town sits at the seaward end of the Motueka Valley, nestling close to the mountains of Kahurangi National Park. Like Golden Bay, Motueka is popular with the "alternative" communities around Nelson, and a few artisans and erstwhile hippies live alongside more traditional farming families. The hinterland is now also laced with vineyards, olive groves, and small, well-to-do farms often owned by absentee overseas owners. Many good cafés and places to stay are outside the town center, either in the sheltered inland valleys or out along the Abel Tasman coast and nearby bays, just north of town. South of town, the Motueka River is internationally known for its trout fishing, and the Great Taste Cycle Trail passes through the town.
Fodor's Editorial Photo Intern Leonard Vargas snapped photos of this spring's wildflower explosion in Southern California.More