Nelson occupies an extraordinary corner of the South Island, bounded by golden sand beaches and the northernmost slopes of the Southern Alps.
The region is richly endowed with scenery, tranquil waters, rich pastures, orchards, vineyards and clay quarries. It also enjoys 2500 sunshine hours each year.
If one word could describe Nelson it would be ‘lifestyle’. The good life here relates to first-class wining and dining (seafood a specialty), adventure pursuits in superb coastal and alpine wilderness areas, and artistic activities (over 300 full time artists).
There is always something happening in the South Island’s most popular summer holiday destination. Here are some suggestions:-
Stroll up the Riverbank Walkway from the city centre
This path helps to orientate visitors with the city layout. So does the climb up to the viewpoint known as the ‘Centre of New Zealand’ in the Botanical Reserve.
Wander along South Street to get the feel of Nelson’s colonial past
Many houses have been creatively restored to give a window on the past.
Stop off at the roadside stalls in the countryside
Lifestyle-minded Nelsonions sell superb seafood (scallops, mussels, crabs, fish), boutique wines, specialty beers, summer fruits, grapes, olives, cheese and other produce.
Grab some bargains at the Saturday Market
Montgomery Square comes alive with sales of local crafts, fresh produce and gourmet foods.
Walk along Trafalgar Street to the Cathedral
Take in the view across the city and see the dazzling stained glass windows inside.
Visit the Suter Art Gallery and World of Wearable Arts
Don’t miss these colourful world-class art and weird and wacky fashion exhibitions.
Spend some time in the excellent Provincial Museum
See curious artefacts and photographic portrayals of pioneer life.
Check out the Events Calendar at the Nelson Visitor Centre
There are year-round festival activities that may coincide with your visit.
Dine elegantly at one of Nelson’s quality restaurants and sample the cafe culture
Enjoy some of Nelson’s rich harvest of fresh fish, fruit and vegetables, fine wines, beers and gourmet products.
Pick up an Art and Craft Guide at the Visitor Centre
Follow the trail and meet many of the creative Nelson people who produce pottery, ceramics, glass products, native woodcrafts, sculpture and paintings. Hoglund’s studio in Richmond is a ‘must’.
Obtain a copy of ‘Treasured Pathway’ from the Visitor Centre
Follow the Heritage Highway through the region to bring pioneer and natural history to life. Also see Founder’s Park Village in Atawhai Drive and the Provincial Museum at Stoke.
Explore the coastal and inland areas of the Nelson region
Don’t miss Tahunanui Beach, Kaiteriteri Beach, Nelson Lakes and Abel Tasman National Park – these are ideal for bushwalking, swimming and sightseeing.
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