Visit Nelson, NZ

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  • The “geographical centre of New Zealand”, Nelson City was founded as a planned settlement in 1841, and is now a small district of the Tasman Region. The main industries are seafood, forestry, tourism and horticulture. The skies are predominantly sunny due to the sheltered Cook Strait location.

    Near Golden Bay and Abel Tasman National Park, within easy reach of Picton, Blenheim and Westport, Nelson is a holiday playground and a centre of arts and culture, close to wondrous natural parks and a gateway to northern parts of the South Island.

    German settlers were among the founders of Nelson and many German-speaking peoples have settled since. The wider region, including Golden Bay, has the greatest proportion of German-speaking people in New Zealand.

    Accommodation in Nelson (NZ)

    Nelson has a very wide selection of accommodation options that include luxury lodges and hotels, motel and bed & breakfast establishments. There are alsoholiday homes and self-contained units to rent.

    For the budget traveller, there are backpackers’ lodges and holiday parks for camping, both within the city and at nearby locations including Tahunanui Beach.

    For a taste of Kiwi hospitality, there are several home-stay and farm-stay providers.

    Transport around Nelson

    Nelson’s airport is a short drive from the city and received schedule flights daily from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Light aircraft can be chartered from smaller airfields for travel from other South Island locations including Hokitika and Queenstown.

    Inter-city coach services regularly travel to Nelson, as well as regional services from nearby towns such as Motueka. Nelson is about 90 minutes’ drive from the inter-island ferry terminal at Picton, and 90 minutes from Blenheim, heart of the Marlborough region.

    For transport within Nelson, there are taxi, several local bus companies andshuttle buses to most tourist activities. Rental cars, campervans, mountain bikes and Segways are available.

    Tourist Activities around Nelson

    Nelson’s main beach, Tahunanui, is a popular site in summer, great for swimming, sailing and fishing. There are also many gardens to visit, including a Japanese-styled garden and a “gardens of the world” park. The Nelson Provincial Museum is also worth visiting.

    Local tours are available that also introduce visitors to some of the town’s historic Victorian buildings. Tours are also available to many of the regions vineyards and breweries.

    The city has a number of annual festivals including an arts festival, chamber music series, kite festival and wine and food festival, known as “Taste Nelson”. New Zealand’s Wearable Art Awards began in Nelson but are now held in Wellington annually. However, many past award entries are on display at the World of Wearable Art museum near Nelson Airport.

    Nelson is home to many artists and craftspeople who produce works of pottery, glass blowing, carving and jewellery. These can be viewed and purchased at galleries or at Nelson’s weekly Saturday market. Nelson also has a number of alternative therapists and beauty practitioners. There are many beauty spas and health practice/meditation rooms to choose from.

    Nelson has a strong sporting heritage, especially in basketball, played at a modern indoor sports centre. For more family fun, there are activities such as paintball, go-karting, mini-golf, zip lines and a zoological park. Adult golfers have several 18-hole courses to play.

    Adventure tourism is well-catered for in Nelson. Sailing, kayaking and fishing at sea is always popular. On fresh water, there is white-water rafting, jet-boat tours, and fishing

    The Nelson region has great potential for hiking, caving, climbing and mountain biking, and local guides are available to take visitors to the best places. Guidedhorse trekking and shooting are also available.

    Visitors to Nelson can experience sky-diving, hang-gliding, paragliding and scenic flights.

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