Renowned for its arts and crafts scene, Nelson is the second-oldest city in New Zealand and boasts a picturesque setting on Tasman Bay. It claims to be within one of New Zealand’s sunniest regions and lies on the doorstep of sweeping vineyards and spectacular national parks.
Things to do
Nelson has long lured creative people, with more than 350 artists and craftspeople living in the city. There are plenty of working studios and art galleries to peruse featuring traditional, contemporary and Maori work, so you can find a unique piece to take home with you.
Stemming from the annual Wearable Art Awards in Nelson, Nelson now has its own World of Wearable Art Museum. Get up close to these unique international fashion designs that look well and truly outside of the box, as well as a collection of classic cars.
Nelson serves as the gateway to Abel Tasman National Park, a large wilderness reserve that is home to little blue penguins, seal colonies and bottlenose dolphins. Follow the Abel Tasman Coast Track along its white sandy beaches and coastal ridges or slowly paddle across its clear blue waters on a kayaking adventure.
Want to experience the historic side of Nelson? Then make a stop at Founders Heritage Park, which brings together a collection of historic buildings housing artisan foods, locally made artworks and an award-winning brewery. A short heritage railway offers train rides around the park, with its quaint streets interspersed with village greens and landscaped gardens.
Nelson Airport is located around 15 minutes’ drive south-west of the city and has flight connections across New Zealand. Buses connect Nelson with destinations across the South Island, while the city centre is compact enough to explore on foot or by bicycle.