A historic place for local Maori, Cable Bay has also featured highly in early European history of the area, being the site of the terminus of the trans-Tasman telegraph cable which came ashore here in the early part of the 20th century.
The Cable Bay Café premises was built as tearooms in the 1920s by the Wiffen Family for weekend visitors from Nelson, after the closure of the trans-Tasman Cable Station at the bay.
The couple, Ernest (nick-named Dandy) Wiffen and Violet Powell-Wiffen, were mostly self-sufficient, keeping cows and hens and also growing strawberries to serve with cream in the tearooms. There was no electricity in those days and the menu was limited. The milk and cream were kept cool during hot weather in a screened safe under the macrocarpa trees outside. Mrs Wiffen served teas with homemade lemonade and sandwiches, and pikelets and scones baked in a woodstove.
Now it is the site of one of Nelson’s best little cafes.