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Swim in the Motueka River

Our river offers many recreational facilities including fishing and kayaking, but one very popular in the warmer months is swimming in one of the many swimming holes, some easy to get to and some accessible only through private land.

The ideal swimming locations are up the valley. Probably the easiest one to access is just past Ngatimoti, beside the old narrow bridge that takes you to the west bank and Pokororo.

It's the second bridge up the Motueka Valley Highway, and located a few hundred metres up-river from the Ngatimoti School. The road is called Peninsular Road. Take a good wide turn into it to get a straight run into the confined space.

As you cross the bridge, your passenger will be able to look down to the left and see the clear, deep swimming area accessed from the pebbled beach. Turn left immediately after coming off the bridge, and park in the public area beside the Ngatimoti Bowling Club.

The beach is mixed stones and sand, so you can easily find a comfortable place to "set up camp", and some tall trees at the back of the beach offer shade if needed.

Confident, strong swimmers should easily be able to swim across the river and back, but others will find plenty of space to dive and splash safely on the western side. Parents need to watch their children carefully: although the swimming area on the western third is only slow-flowing, there is a point where the main river channel flows more strongly. The nearer the bridge, the gentler the flow.

The bridge is used by many children - and some adventure-seeking tourists - as a diving platform, and YouTube has several video clips of people taking the plunge (here's a recent one). We don't advocate this, as the water is not particularly deep immediately below the bridge; however, local kids frequently show how it's done.

During summer the water is surprisingly mild in temperature, allowing most people to stay in for plenty of time. And, of course, this river is way up among New Zealand's cleanest waterways.