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Destinations - Nelson

Nelson Arts Festival, New ZealandNelson is the second oldest city in New Zealand and an enchanting corner of New Zealand's South Island. Known as the artistic capital of New Zealand, the area is also home to breathtaking scenery, award-winning vineyards and fresh seafood. Nelson is also the sunniest part of the country enjoying a mediterranean-type climate, making exploring the region an even more delightful experience. With options available to visitors of all budgets, Nelson is one of the South Island's premier holiday destinations.

Get Creative
Over 350 artists and craftsman call Nelson home. In styles ranging from traditional to contemporary and even native Māori, visitors are welcome into many studios to view these artists at work. Alternatively, stroll through Nelson's downtown to discover quirky art galleries and street art. Nelson also offers a small selection of guided tours around the town's artistic attractions. Worth a visit is the small and iconic "World of Wearable Art and Classic Car Museum", providing something for both the ladies and the men.

Abel Tasman National Park, NelsonEnjoy the Great Outdoors
The Nelson region benefits from some of the best weather in all of New Zealand. Combine that with a beautiful bay, freshwater lakes and three national parks, and it's hard to find a reason to stay indoors! There are numerous tour companies operating in the Nelson area which specialise in exposing visitors to the region's water features, canyons, limestone cliffs and alpine forests. Treks last anywhere from a few hours to a few days and are suitable for hikers of almost any level.

Abel Tasman National Park is a popular destination for nature-lovers. Visitors can embark on either the Abel Tasman Coastal Track or the Abel Tasman Inland Track for a self-led adventure through the park. Alternatively, tours are available covering parts or all of the tracks and typically include sea kayaking and organic meal options. Kayaking tours often encounter local wildlife, including blue penguins and seals.

Waikoropupū Springs, NelsonFor a totally unique experience, head to the small town of Takaka in the heart of the picturesque Golden Bay area and visit the world's longest natural sandbar and the long established wildlife sanctuary. Nearby, visitors will find Waikoropupū Springs, the largest freshwater springs in the country. Naturally filtered, these springs make up the clearest natural body of water in the world outside of Antarctica. A dream for wildlife and nature photographers, Waikoropupū offers some of the most beautiful natural scenery in the world.

Nelson City, New ZealandIndulge in Luxury
While Nelson caters to visitors of every budget, the area offers many options for its luxury travellers. Visitors can relax at a high-end spa or indulging in a seaside holiday rental. Outdoors, catamarans are available for hire to explore the surrounding bay. For those wanting to get a bird's eye view of Nelson, book a spot on one of the region's helicopter tours which allow participants to view beautiful Nelson Bay and Abel Tasman National Park from above.

Nelson Bay ScallopsAt one with nature, Nelson is a haven for high quality organic food and produce. A thriving cafe culture exists in Nelson and many restaurants in the area feature the famous Nelson Bay Scallops, which are incredibly fresh. Wine tours visit the vineyards dotting the area surrounding Nelson and often include gourmet dining options as well. Nelson and neighbouring Marlborough specialise in high-quality, small, boutique wineries. Mostly family-owned, they offer a close-up view of the winemaking process and provide insight on wine tasting.

Getting Here
Nelson is one of the easiest spots to get to in New Zealand thanks to its busy airport. Visitors can get to this picturesque South Island town from Auckland (80 minutes), Wellington (35 minutes) and Christchurch (50 minutes). By sea, tourists can take the scenic Cook Strait Ferry between the North and South Islands. From the North Island, ferries depart from Wellington daily, arriving in Picton three hours later. Picton and Nelson are connected by regular coach service. For those opting to drive, Nelson is 144 kilometres (approx. 2 hours) from Picton and 424 kilometres from Christchurch (approx. 6 hours).

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