Nelson Region offers a captivating blend of history, culture and natural beauty. From golden sand beaches to lush native forests, the region showcases the stunning landscapes of the South Island. Gallery-hop in the vibrant city of Nelson, explore wildlife-rich national parks and savour the region’s dynamic culinary scene.
Things to do in Nelson
Immerse yourself in the pristine landscapes of Abel Tasman National Park. Bask on secluded beaches, hike through native beech forests and explore coastal walking trails. Book a kayak or sailing tour to access remote areas of the park and see animals like little blue penguins, bottlenose dolphins and New Zealand fur seals. Laid-back cafes and restaurants dot the lively beach town of Kaiteriteri, which serves as a launchpad to the park.
Discover dramatic alpine landscapes in Nelson Lakes National Park. Surrounded by snow-capped peaks, the park is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Summer is the perfect time to hike scenic trails, paddle on cobalt-blue lakes and race down mountain bike tracks. The friendly village of St Arnaud is a gateway to the park.
Set on Tasman Bay, the city of Nelson is a hub of creativity. Wander around the city and browse studios, galleries and boutiques run by local artisans. Learn more about the city’s unique narrative in Founders Heritage Park, a family-friendly living history museum filled with character buildings. Stroll around the village, enjoy a picnic on the grass and ride the vintage railway.
Sugar-white sand and turquoise water make Tahunanui Beach one of the best in the Nelson Region. Bask in the sunshine and rent a standup paddleboard to explore Tasman Bay at your own pace. There’s plenty to keep you entertained off the beach, including an amusement park, wildlife sanctuary and a kid’s playground.
Getting around Nelson
Major towns and cities in the Nelson Region are pedestrian-friendly and easy to get around on foot. Nelson's well-maintained roads make exploring the region by car easy. Public buses and privately operated shuttles are another option. The region is on the northern tip of the South Island, a 5.5-hour drive from Christchurch. Ferries sail between the nearby town of Picton and Wellington on the North Island in 3.5 hours.