Nelson's diverse geography captures everything from the long golden beaches to untouched forests and rugged mountains. Situated at the top north-west of the South Island, it is the sunniest region in New Zealand.
Perhaps it’s the sun, perhaps it’s the location, but Nelson has long been a magnet for creative people. There are more than 350 working artists and craftspeople living in Nelson, traditional, contemporary and Maori. Visit their studios and find a unique piece to take home with you.
Walk the sun drenched sands of Golden Bay or head inland to Takaka and see the impossibly clear waters of New Zealand’s largest freshwater springs. Walk Nelson's Abel Tasman track – it’s a three to five day walk – or, for a different view, take a sea kayaking tour around the coast and see a seal colony and little blue penguins bobbing in the water. Known for its sunshine and calm waters, Nelson's Abel Tasman is blessed with some of New Zealand's most spectacular coastline. Paddle your kayak through sheltered waters and stop off on perfect, deserted beaches to explore. Watch the antics of fur seals and sea birds, and, if you are lucky, you might spot a pod of playful dolphins or a shy Little Blue Penguin.
Or just relax. Sit in the sun, sip a wine from one of the local vineyards, and dine on the famous Nelson Bay scallops.
Accommodation options in Nelson range from basic backpacker lodges to luxury spa retreats, and everything in between.
- Produced locally, the Nelson Guide Book - Art in its Own Place is full of useful information and maps of where to find arts and crafts.
- Even in winter, it’s likely to be sunny in Nelson. The region gets more than 2,500 hours of sunshine a year.
- Nelson airport receives flights from all major New Zealand cities, as well as several provincial cities.