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Eat & Drink

Moutere, Nelson 9 best foodie experiences + great walk

  • 4 minutes



German settlement history is exemplified with a quaint Lutheran Church and a pub purported to be New Zealand’s oldest. Moutere exudes heritage charm. Artists, food producers, vineyards and rolling hills combine to create holiday moments where there is joy in the small things such as coffee from a former Post Office. Moutere Valley is a highlight for food, taste and explore holidays in Nelson.


Moutere strawberry, New Zealand @mouterestrawberries

1. Foodie trail delights

A climate with over 2300 sunshine hours, clay gravel free draining soil are superb conditions for grapes. Kiwifruit, apples, pears, blackcurrants, boysenberries benefit from the ideal growing conditions. Visitors are spoiled with choice from freshly hulled berries by roadside stalls, apple or fruit ciders produced in single origin vats to vineyards folded into the hills of Moutere.

2. Neudorf Mushrooms

Wild mushrooms, gourmet European mushrooms and exotic Asian variants are part of Neudorf Mushrooms. There are over 2500 trees for differing wild mushrooms. Check out their online Neudorf Mushrooms – Home of Umami risotto and other yummies. Irresistible goodness is just a click away. Visiting is a guaranteed sensory experience.

3. Neudorf Olives walk, talk and taste

Within a stone’s throw is another feast for the senses’ single origin olive oil estate. An informative, imaginative walk, talk and taste is a perfect introduction to all things olive. The olive grow is on the Moutere hills with views of the undulating countryside and surrounding mountain ranges, Abel Tasman National Park and Nelson Bay. The 360 degree views are part of the experience with your walk among the wolves, an opportunity to peer at harvesting press and olive press. There are three varieties of olive oil as well as lucious table olives and dukkah. Walk, Talk and Taste is a bucket list foodie treat.

4. Thorvald Cheese

The stuff of legends in the sheep cheese world. Artisan cheesemakers, Francis and Dave have created sheep cheese magic using the two highest milk producing breeds in the world – the East Friesian and the Awassi, along with a careful selection of other breeds in the mix to ensure good genetics for healthy, happy sheep. The Junction is where you should head to to stock up on cheesy nibbles for the road.

5. Character, charm & a captivating pub

The villages of Upper and Lower Moutere offer the oldest pub operating in the original building, The Moutere Inn (1850), views of cob cottages nestled among blooming roses and annuals, quaint St Paul’s Lutheran church, the current Upper Moutere School today is further along the road, but the original 1856 classroom is still in use after being towed by a traction engine in 1924. This old building is thought to be the oldest classroom still in use in New Zealand. In 2007 the school celebrated its 150 anniversary. And the best is the Old Post Office, now a gem of a shop with foodie treats, unique crafted pieces, potted plants and home made snacks for the road.

@The Moutere Inn
@The Moutere Inn

6. Lower Moutere riverside community

Take a step into the history of the pacifist movement:

  • One of New Zealand’s best cafes, food suppliers well and truly road tested by countless visitors and locals. Established by Christian pacifists during World War II, it’s origins are an influence on the now secular and pluralist community of 60 riversiders.
  • Riverside philosophy is part of the trading ethos, it is very evident Riverside Cafe and its members think deeply about how they use and consume Living at Riverside is a profound lifestyle commitment.  The food is superb, organic and largely meat free. A stunning visual feast with deliciousness in every bite.


In World War II, Riverside men were jailed for conscientious objection. Conscription, conscientious objection and pacifism led to approximately 800 detainees. Two escapees from north of Auckland walked to Wellington to discuss their views with the War Ministry. They were re-arrested however with what a feat and determination to get their viewpoint heard.

“The Motueka citrus orchard of Hubert Holdaway, who had become a convinced Christian pacifist during the First World War, was a base for pacifist opposition to the war. It became known as the Riverside community and remained a thriving pacifist community and communal farm in the 21st century.” Source Conscription, conscientious objection and pacifism


New Zealand’s oldest cacti

Riverside Cafe gardens feature a bonsai and cactus garden. The garden is a homage to Garnet Drummond who started the garden in Motueka. When he died the plants were carefully relocated to their current location. It is estimated the two oldest cacti were propagated in 1958 and 1961 making them some of New Zealand’s oldest cacti.


7. Town festivals

  • Riverside Freedom Festival could be viewed as a year long party with the waxing moon in May, the Art of foraging in June and the first light wine and food event in spring (October). January witnesses several days of entertainment with dance, music, face painting, water slides and glorious food
  • Sarau Festival in January scheduled the weekend before Nelson anniversary weekend. The festival showcases finest local produce, well known 2nd hand book sale and live music at 9pm.  There is a writers convention, displays narrating the story of Moutere district, a photography exhibition and competition and seriously good fun for the family.

8. Feel like a walk – jeans forest

Bush Walk behind Riverside Cafe.

Visitors and cafe guests are invited to walk up the hill and through a native forest initially planted by late Riverside Founder Jean Palmer many years ago to ensure these natives a spot. Since then, many people have been adding plants and trees to this little plant sanctuary and today visitors are welcome to stroll through Jean’s forest to breath in the manuka oils and find some peace and quiet under green treetops.


Wwoofers Willing Workers On Organic Farms stay at Riverside and pay for their keep by helping in the organic gardens or in the workshop.

9. Nature, birds and the Motueka estuary

Migratory birds flock in their hundreds to the Motueka sandspit where bar tailed godwits offer spectacular displays. The whole area is ecologically important. It has extensive areas of rushland and saltmarsh where whitebait spawn; it is rich in shellfish and therefore a major feeding ground for wading birds, up to 10,000 of which feed or roost on the sandspit in summer.

The sandspit has an all-round view, from D’Urville Island to the Richmond and Arthur ranges and Abel Tasman National Park.

Godwits in flight at Motueka Sandspit, Tasman region, New Zealand
Godwits in flight at Motueka Sandspit

Getting there

Year round (check opening hours in winter season) with toasty warmth and a guaranteed welcome.

Unique journeys, personal adventures.

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