This is a place where nature knows no restraint. Known for superb beaches – from golden-sand bays to coves where the forest grows right down to the water – this region also offers rugged inland landscapes, much of it protected in the Kahurangi and Nelson Lakes National Parks. The combination of beautiful scenery and a relaxed atmosphere has clearly proved inspirational for many; you’ll find an abundance of interesting art studios and galleries.

Highlights

Abel Tasman National Park Famed for its sea kayaking expeditions and hiking trail, Abel Tasman National Park offers an appealing blend of sunshine, blue water, golden sand and wildlife including dolphins. Kahurangi and Nelson Lakes The other two national parks in the Nelson region offer very different wilderness experiences: Kahurangi is very big and very wild, while Nelson Lakes is tranquil and picturesque. Farewell Spit Farewell Spit is the longest natural sandbar in the world and is a protected sanctuary for more than 90 different bird species. Art and crafts The Nelson region is a hotbed of creativity – home to more than 350 local artisans producing art and crafts that can be purchased at studios, markets and galleries. Golden-sand beaches The beaches in the Nelson region have to be seen to be believed – rich golden sand lapped by turquoise waters. Te Waikoropupu Springs New Zealand’s largest freshwater springs and source of some of the world’s purest water, Te Waikoropupu (Pupu) Springs – just north of Takaka – are a beautiful sight holding great spiritual significance for Māori people.

Destinations

Nelson Regional centre renowned for art, craft and fine food. Richmond Roadside fruit stalls, galleries and a shopping precinct. Mapua Historic wharf and waterfront cafés. Marahau The last tiny settlement before Abel Tasman National Park. Motueka The main town near Abel Tasman National Park, which hums over the summer holiday season. Kaiteriteri Bustling beachside resort and departure point for water taxis and tours heading into Abel Tasman National Park.

Getting There and Around

Air Nelson Airport, 15 minutes from town, services the region with domestic flights to Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland with Air New Zealand. Sounds Air offers flights from Nelson to Wellington. The nearest international airports are in Wellington and Christchurch. Road Nelson is 6 hours, 5 minutes from Christchurch and 1 hour, 35 minutes from Picton. Regular coach services run to and from the region, and to Abel Tasman National Park. Christchurch to Nelson [424 km; 6 hr, 5 min] Picton to Nelson [110 km; 1 hr, 35 min] Westport to Nelson [226 km; 3 hr, 15 min] Nelson to Murchison [129 km; 1 hr, 50 min] Nelson to Motueka [48 km; 40 min] Nelson to Takaka [108 km; 1 hr, 30 min] Water Water taxis are a convenient and inexpensive mode of transport into Abel Tasman National Park.

Directory

World of WearableArt™ and Classic Cars Museum

Nelson is famous for its vibrant visual art scene and the World of WearableArt™ and Classic Cars Museum is an iconic must-see visual extravaganza. Admire garments from the annual Brancott…

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Abel Tasman Sea Shuttle

The Knapp Family welcome you aboard their custom-built catamarans, designed specifically with your comfort in mind. Join one of our cruises in the beautiful Abel Tasman National Park. Couple this…

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Villa 10 Waterfront Apartments

Two stylish, self-contained apartments on Nelson’s Port Hills, with stunning views across Tasman Bay to the mountains. Private and luxurious. On the waterfront, five minutes’ drive from the city centre.…

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Maruia River Lodge

Located in one of the best – and most beautiful – fly fishing areas in the South Island, this spectacular riverside retreat prides itself on providing modern comforts, fine food…

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