10 - Sir Stanley Whitehead Park

A walk for the fit and agile with great views of Nelson City and Tasman Bay.


Time: 2 1/2 - 3 hours

Area: Nelson East

Start Location: Branford Park, approximately 500m on the left from start of Maitai Valley Road

Download the Sir Stanley Whitehead Park map (77KB PDF)

Route directions

Take the track on the left that is signposted 'Centre of NZ'. Follow the signs up the Botanical Hill to the summit with views to the east up the valley to The Doubles. Interpretive panels here pinpoint geographical landmarks and the view sweeps from the Brook Valley, across the city to the port, with Tasman Bay and the Western Ranges as a backdrop to the city.

Leave the summit by the asphalt path on the right to the green park bench, and take the third option on your left which is signposted 'Sir Stanley Whitehead Park'. Sir Stanley Whitehead was a Nelson MP from 1957 - 1976.

Climb up the gravel track to the kissing gate and follow the track on around the eastern hills. There are excellent views of Port Nelson, Australasia's biggest fishing port; The Wood where early Italian immigrants built the glasshouses which gave Nelson its reputation for tomatoes; and Neale Park where the afternoon sea breeze makes for great kite flying.

Go through another kissing gate about 500m along the track and continue along to a third kissing gate where you can rest on a seat before making the descent. About 50m past this point, take the track to the left signposted 'to Atawhai Drive'.

This track will bring you out to some houses on Whitehead Place where you can continue down through the Walters Bluff subdivision on to Atawhai Drive or keep going down along the track, coming directly out on to Atawhai Drive opposite Founders Park.

Walters Bluff takes its name from Sir Walter Nash, Labour Prime Minister in the 1950s, who promised a railway tunnel would start at this point to link Nelson with Blenheim.

Another railway link is commemorated by Davies Drive - named for Sonia Davies who was part of the famous women's sit-in to stop the Nelson railway being pulled up in 1955, and who went on to become a city councillor and later MP for Pencarrow.

Now on Atawhai Drive, you can chose to visit the Miyazu Gardens, or take in Founders Heritage Park. Make your way back along Atawhai Drive and Milton Street to the Botanics. Cross the field to take the right track around the southern side of the hill which will return you to the Maitai Valley. Turn left here and walk back to your start point at Branford Park.