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Nelson, New ZealandNelson Activity Highlights

Nelson | Regional Information | Activity Highlights | Scenic Highlights | History

Bring your sense of adventure, your sunscreen and a sensible pair of walking shoes when you come to Nelson, New Zealand.

Nelson Activity Highlights Overview

Image Source: Tourism New Zealand. Glassblowing studio in Nelson, New Zealand
Glassblowing Studio
Nelson, New Zealand
Photographer: Ian Trafford
(www.iantraffordphotos.com)

Nelson will put you in a sunny frame of mind in no time at all. Visit one of Nelson's fantastic beaches, cruise the harbour to see the city from the sea, go sea fishing with a guide or follow an inner city art or historical trail.

Visit the beautiful Abel Tasman, a place of glittering beaches, turquoise water and spectacular ocean views. Take a road trip to Golden Bay only two hours from Nelson city. Its an extraordinary experience in itself, a scenic drive over Takaka Hill—the marble mountain.

» Nelson Activities Directory

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Creative relaxation in Nelson City

Scattered throughout this city are artists' galleries and workshops, historic buildings and innovative cafes. Use a craft map or the Nelson Guide Book ('Art in its Own Place'), available from the Visitor Information Centre, to create your own itinerary.

  • Visit the World of Wearable Art and Collectable Cars Museum—just ten minutes from the city centre
  • Spend a few hours at the regional art gallery—the Suter Te Aratoi o Whakatu. Be sure to view the gallery's collection of works by Sir Tosswill Woollaston, who was one of the founders of modern art in New Zealand
  • Watch glassblowers create at Hoglund Art Glass, set within seven acres of tranquil gardens
  • Enjoy the colour and fun of Nelson's famous Saturday market. Meet artists and craftspeople from the region
  • Expand your mind on the Rongoa Maori (natural medicines and bush walk). You'll find out about traditional treatments while walking in original native forest
  • Charter a yacht for a morning or several days. Sail to the Abel Tasman National Park
  • Gain an interesting insight into Nelson's past pioneers and the people and places that make Nelson so unique today, at the recently opened Nelson Provincial Museum which showcases the pride of Nelson's history

Revive yourself in one of three National Parks

Image Source: Tourism New Zealand. Abel Tasman National Park coastal track, Nelson, New Zealand
Abel Tasman National Park
Coastal Track, Nelson
New Zealand
Photographer: Ian Trafford
(www.iantraffordphotos.com)

Each of the national parks in the Nelson region has a distinct look and feel. Kahurangi is wild and huge, with a heart of solid rock. Nelson Lakes is elegant, calm and alive with birdsong. Abel Tasman is small, sea-washed and incredibly beautiful.

The Abel Tasman Coastal Track (three to five days) is a popular year-round walk in the Abel Tasman National Park that can be undertaken with or without a guide. Sea kayaking tours (one day through to multi day trips) allow you to explore the coast from the water. Huts, camping grounds and private lodges provide accommodation along the way.

» Abel Tasman National Park Information

Kahurangi National Park is home to an exceptional variety of native plants and wildlife. The best known hiking trail is the Heaphy Track, a walk that takes four to five days. Kahurangi is the backdrop for many scenes in the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy.

» Kahurangi National Park Information

In the Nelson Lakes National Park, which is surrounded by mountain ranges, you can walk beside Lake Rotoiti or follow an alpine trail to Lake Angelus. The heavily protected native bush lets you see New Zealand as it would have been 500 years ago.

» Nelson Lakes National Park Information

Absolutely gorgeous Golden Bay

Image Source: Tourism New Zealand. Golden Bay sand flats, Nelson, New Zealand
Golden Bay Sand Flats
Nelson, New Zealand
Photographer: Graham Charles
(imagematters@clear.net.nz)

The road trip to Golden Bay is an extraordinary experience in itself - a scenic drive over Takaka Hill, the marble mountain.

  • Te Waikoropupu Springs, New Zealand's largest freshwater springs, are set in a reserve protecting old gold workings, regenerating forest and a fine patch of mature bush
  • Take a guided safari to Farewell Spit—a bird sanctuary and wetland of international importance. You can walk on the base of the spit or take a 4WD safari along to the lighthouse
  • Wharariki Beach has a wild and beautiful coastal landscape, where the wind and waves have created massive rock and sand dune formations

» Golden Bay Travel Directory

Follow your nose to Nelson's finest wines

West of Nelson there are vineyards to discover and fascinating beach towns to enjoy.

  • Enjoy a leisurely tour of the local vineyards—discover the region's intensely flavoured Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, as well as vibrant Pinot Noir
  • Throw your leg over a horse and trek across the tranquil rural landscape or along the beach at Marahau, Puponga or Wharariki
  • Call into the cafe and smokehouse at Mapua for the freshest smoked seafood you've ever tasted
  • Book into one of the health retreats in the region and rejuvenate mind and body

» Nelson Wineries Directory

Useful Nelson Links

To help plan your Nelson holiday choose from the main categories below

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Nelson Region Information


Nelson Tourism Operators

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Featured

 
Mainstay New Zealand Hotels

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Large collection of independent hotels.

Choice Hotels

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Holiday packages for any occasion.

Distinction Hotels

Distinction Hotels

Great hotels in great NZ wide locations.