Based in the north region of the South Island, Nelson is a fantastic little city to visit. It’s one of the oldest settlements on the South Island and a fantastic place for weather and touring. The town of Nelson has a number of cafes and is a nice place to spend time- especially if there on a Saturday morning to attend the outdoor market. However, there is so much more in this region, including these 5 great reasons to include on your itinerary:
1) The Weather
While only a short flight from Wellington (located at the bottom of the North Island) the Nelson-Tasman region differs greatly from New Zealand’s capitol. Nelson is consistently one of the sunniest locations in New Zealand! The area is sheltered from systems moving from the South (think Antarctica) and is positioned well to receive those from the North (think tropics). This makes Nelson a beautiful place to visit year round.
The area around Nelson is dotted with small boutiques where local artists work out of their homes and side buildings. If interested to find boutique items and small pieces to send back home, it’s a great place to shop. One of the areas great attractions celebrates this concept of grassroots art further- the World of Wearable Art. It’s a museum is filled with fashion exhibitions and pays homage to the annual parade. If fashion is not your “thing” there is located nearby a collection of classic cars- so something for the entire family.
3) National Parks
With three national parks within a 90-minute drive, there is plenty of opportunity to get into the “bush.” However, Abel Tasman National Park is the perhps the most well known and is easily accessed. A day in the abel Tasman includes a mix of walking tracks along secluded coastlines and a lovely boat ride to view the coast. For those looking for a bit more adventure the Kahurangi National Park is part of the the Kepler Track, one of New Zealand’s nine Great Walks.
This is one of the best places in New Zealand to bike, with two of the country’s “Great Rides” closeby: The Dun Mountain Trail & The Great Taste Trail. A fun experience is biking Spooners Tunnel, which is a long decommissioned rail tunnel used now for walking and cycling. Self-guided tours are readily available in Nelson and Mapua.
The Nelson-Tasman region is not as famous as the nearby Marlborough region, but it too boasts boutique wineries. Because the region is one of the smaller wine producers in New Zealand it is very easy to explore for the day. Whether biking between wineries or taking a guided tour, be sure to pair wines with the fresh local seafood! Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc are the most popular varietals from the Nelson-Tasman area.