Exploring the Very Best of Nelson

Nelson, New Zealand has many claims to fame. Its home to the Centre of New Zealand Walk and Monument, has historic status as the country’s second oldest city and consistently beats out other gorgeous locales for the title of NZ’s sunniest spot. As the gateway to the South Island, Nelson is a definite must-see for your Kiwi holiday. Book yourself a Nelson rental car and explore this stunning, historic region to the fullest.

Seasons and Climate

Nelson is famous for being one of NZ’s sunniest spots which makes it a great year-round destination, offering sunny days even when much of the rest of the country is suffering through rain or snow. Situated at the top of the South Island, it has crisp winters and warm summers. In classic South Island style, Nelson boasts beautiful autumns with leaves that change colours, turning the landscape into a kaleidoscope of reds, oranges and yellows.

Top Activities and Attractions in Nelson

A trip to historic Nelson isn’t complete without a visit to at least one of the citys’ many art galleries and museums like the Suter, the Nelson Provincial Museum and the World of Wearable Art & Collectable Cars Muesum. If staying for the weekend, make sure to head to Montgomery Square to enjoy Nelson’s famous Saturday market of arts, crafts and local produce. Ditch the car hire for a day and explore the tastes of the region by bike on the Great Taste Trail and take in the beauty at one of Nelson’s many local gardens like the Queen’s Gardens or the Japanese-influenced Miyazu Gardens. Here are a few links to some key Nelson websites.

Best Places to Eat in Nelson

Nelson is a small city with a huge array of delicious food. Drive your hired car into town for a morning coffee, try any number of local cafés, like Melrose House, Morris Street, or the ever-popular Kush coffee. In the warmer months, head into the city centre to dine al fresco for lunch or dinner. Upscale restaurant favourites among locals include Hopgood’s & Co, Urban Oyster Bar and Eatery, and Harry’s Bar.

Our Top Accommodation Choices

There are plenty of accommodation options for any traveller to Nelson, from the upmarket seaside hotel to family-friendly camp grounds to affordable backpacker hostels. For a luxury hotel try The Sails Nelson right in town on Trafalgar Street. For moderately-priced but well-rated hotels, look into The Hotel Nelson in town or hire a car and stay at the Grand Mercure in nearby Stoke for beautiful apartments with an Old English feel. Students, backpackers and campers will feel right at home at the YHA or the Nelson City Top 10 Holiday Park.

Nelson Events

A city with art, culture and history, it’s no surprise that there are plenty of wonderful events taking place in Nelson each year. Summer offers a seemingly endless string of festivals, from Nelson Beer Week celebrating the local craft beer scene, to Marchfest, a music and beer festival, to the popular Oceanswim Series in Tahunanui Beach. In early autumn, the city celebrates its unique history with the Heritage Festival before making way for the city’s quirky Fringe Festival. The city fights off short winter days with Light Nelson – a free multi-day festival where light installations brighten up the local gardens.

Further Afield

Hop in your car hire to venture further afield and explore the stunning Nelson-Tasman region. Head northwest along the coast, stopping along the way in quaint Motueka and beautiful Kaiteriteri before reaching the stunning Abel Tasman National Park. Hike the great trail of Abel Tasman Coast Walk or hop on a kayak to experience Golden Bay from the sea.

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