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Nelson, New Zealand

Arty and interesting, there are plenty of reasons for the sun to shine in Nelson. Enjoy the beautiful environment while you get acquainted with the creative local culture.


Nelson region, New Zealand

Situated around Tasman and Golden Bays at the top of the South Island, the Nelson region is surrounded by sheltering mountain ranges, giving it a mediterranean-type climate.

General Facts

As of June 2005, Nelson's estimated population was 45,700.

Nelson is known for its year-round sun, golden beaches, three national parks, 350 working artists, boutique wineries and the city for its historical streetscapes, waterfront cafes, fresh seafood, and a thoroughly relaxed lifestyle.

Nelson is named after Admiral Lord Nelson of Battle of Trafalgar fame

Nelson is the main commercial centre for the region. The main industries in the region are forestry, horticulture, fishing and tourism.

Nelson has easy to access three National Parks.

Main Attractions and Activities

Nelson's artists include carvers, glassblowers, painters, potters and weavers, whose work can be seen by following any of the 13 craft trails that also take in Nelson's most attractive rural settlements.

Within the sheltering confines of Tasman Bay, Nelson's beaches are safe, with silvery sand. Tahunanui Beach, within the city boundaries has the largest and best-equipped holiday park in the country.

Only the West Coast has as many national parks as Nelson. Abel Tasman, New Zealand's smallest, is a coastal wonderland of sea, sky, rocky headlands and bright golden beaches.

The Nelson Lakes National Park is set amidst the mountains and glaciated valleys of south Nelson, and features beech forests and the beautiful jewel-like lakes, Rotoiti and Rotoroa.

Kahurangi, the country's second-largest national park comprises 450,000 hectares of mostly upland wilderness, with magnificent three to four-day hiking trails.

A range of adventure experiences is available including sea kayaking, whitewater rafting on the Buller River, tandem skydiving, four-wheel drive motorbiking through native forest and hiking on some of the country's best-known tracks.

Abel Tasman National Park, Nelson, New Zealand
Abel Tasman National Park, Nelson

There's also a 35-kilometre, four-wheel drive trip along Farewell Spit, caving under Marble Mountain, and skiing or snowboarding the Rainbow ski area.

Don't Miss

  • Suter Art Gallery, Nelson
  • Nelson's fresh seafood
  • The wine trail
  • Art, crafts and garden trails
  • Hiking, Heaphy Track
  • Ngarua Caves, Takaka Hill
  • Waikoropupu Springs, Takaka
  • Farewell Spit Safari, Golden Bay
  • Nelson Lakes
  • National Park Coastal Tracks, Abel Tasman National Park
  • Sea kayaking, Abel Tasman National Park

Main Centres

  • Nelson - this regional city is renowned for its arts and crafts and fine food
  • Motueka - town nearest Abel Tasman and Kahurangi national parks
  • Takaka - the main centre for the Golden Bay area