Guide to Nelson, New Zealand

Located on the eastern shores of Tasman Bay, Nelson is known for its gorgeous weather and adventurous outdoor activities. There is a great range of things to do in the Nelson Tasman region and a whole lot of delicious food and wine to try. Here is a quick guide to the area:

Things to Do in the Nelson-Tasman Region
The Nelson Tasman region is the home to some of New Zealand's finest national parks, including Abel Tasman National Park, Kahurangi National Park and Nelson Lakes National Park. In addition to its breathtaking views and walks, these parks offer plenty of exciting Nelson activities like rafting, sea-kayaking, biking, hiking, jet boating, cruising and stand up paddle boarding.

One of the most popular things to do in Nelson is visit locations from the film 'The Hobbit', directed by Peter Jackson. Throughout the Nelson Tasman region, there are about 7 locations that cover the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit Trilogies, including Takaka Hill at Canaan Downs, and Golden Bay. Even if you aren't a fan of the movies, these Nelson attractions are still worth a visit.

Places to Eat in the Nelson-Tasman Region
The Nelson Tasman region is known for its excellent produce and passionate winemakers and brewers. Throughout the region, there is a wide selection of places to eat and drink, from fine dining restaurants, family restaurants and casual cafes to boutique wineries and lively country bars. Some of the most popular places to eat in Nelson include River Kitchen, The Styx, Harry's, The Indian Cafe, the Vic Brewbar, Tongtara, Nicola's Cantina and the Tides Restaurant and Bar.

Nelson Climate

The Nelson Tasman region enjoys a temperate, oceanic climate all year long. The region's summer months have very long sunny days, giving visitors lots of time to explore the outdoors. Nelson's long summer days and cool autumn nights have also made it ideal for the production of world class wine. Spring is one of best times of the year to visit, with the colourful burst of vines and flowers making the area all the more beautiful. Although the region can sometimes experience stormy winters, Nelson generally has one of the best climates of all the major New Zealand centres. Average maximum summertime temperatures range from 21-24C while the average winter temperatures range from 13-14C.

Getting Around the Nelson-Tasman Region
It's worth collecting a New Zealand car hire for getting around the Nelson Tasman region so that you can explore as many attractions as possible. There are many great cars in available for hire, some of which are located near the airport. Nelson is also well equipped with excellent local taxi, coach and bus services, along with water taxis, shuttles and cruises. Walking and cycling is an enjoyable way to get around the area too, as it gives you the chance to make the most of the pleasant Nelson weather.

Nelson Accommodation

Throughout the Nelson Tasman region, there are many accommodation options. Visitors are spoilt for choice when deciding where to stay. If you're looking for modest accommodation, there are plenty of warm, relaxed backpackers throughout the region where you could spend as little as $30 per person each night. This type of accommodation is a great way to save money while making friends at the same time. If you want a more luxurious holiday experience, you may be better suited to one of Nelson's stunning holiday homes or award-winning hotels, which can cost from $100-$500+ depending on the place. There are also various down to earth hotels, bed and breakfast establishments, farm stays and cheap motels available throughout the area.

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User Anecdotes

We've solicited a number of user anecdotes on this topic, and have hand picked some of the more interesting ones below. We feel that anecdotes can give a practical, human perspective on a topic.

"I visited Nelson, New Zealand last year during my honeymoon and I have to say, it was an incredible experience. My husband and I fell in love with the breathtaking landscapes, friendly locals, and delicious food. We took a scenic drive through the Abel Tasman National Park and enjoyed the close encounters with wildlife. The park has stunning golden beaches, lush forests, and a variety of native animals. We even went for a kayak tour along the coast and it was such an amazing experience as we've never been kayaking before.
The local wineries in Nelson are also a must-visit. The wine tasting tour was one of the highlights of our trip. We tasted some of the best Sauvignon Blancs, Chardonnays, and Pinot Noirs, and even brought some bottles back home with us.
As for the local food scene, we had some of the best seafood in our lives. The local green-lipped mussels are a must-try, as well as the fish and chips. The local farmers market was a great place to source fresh produce and try some local cheeses and bread. Overall, Nelson is a fantastic destination that I would highly recommend to anyone looking for a romantic and adventurous getaway."
Samantha K.

"I spent a month in Nelson, New Zealand as part of my gap year travels and it was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. One of the things that stood out to me was the relaxed atmosphere and the warm, welcoming nature of the locals. It truly felt like a home away from home.
Nelson offers a perfect balance of outdoor activities and cultural experiences. I spent my days exploring the beautiful walking trails around Nelson Lakes National Park and then visited the World of WearableArt and Classic Cars Museum, which was such an interesting and unique experience. I also attended the annual Nelson Arts Festival, which showcased local talent in a variety of mediums, including music, dance, and visual arts. It was a fantastic way to immerse myself in the local culture.
From a practical standpoint, I found Nelson to be a very easy place to navigate. The public transportation system was efficient and affordable, and I had no issues getting around. The accommodation options were also plentiful, with everything from budget hostels to luxury hotels available. I can't wait to go back and visit Nelson again."
Michael S.

"Nelson, New Zealand holds a special place in my heart as I had the opportunity to study abroad there for a semester in college. The city itself is vibrant and full of life with plenty of shops, cafes, and galleries to explore. The local art scene is particularly impressive, with numerous galleries showcasing a diverse range of local and international artists.
As an outdoor enthusiast, I was in heaven with the abundance of outdoor activities available. The nearby Abel Tasman National Park offers some of the best hiking and camping opportunities in the world, with stunning coastal views and lush forests. I also tried my hand at mountain biking on some of the many trails in the region and was blown away by the challenge and excitement.
The hospitality and friendliness of the people in Nelson is second to none. I was welcomed with open arms and made lifelong friends with locals and fellow travelers alike. If you have the opportunity to visit Nelson, I highly recommend it as it will leave a lasting impression on you."
Emily T.

"I recently returned from a two-week vacation in Nelson, New Zealand, and I can't speak highly enough about the experience. The city itself is small yet vibrant, with a great mix of historic architecture and modern conveniences. One of my favorite activities was exploring the local art scene, which is rich and diverse, with plenty of galleries, studios, and workshops to visit.
For those who enjoy outdoor adventures, Nelson is an absolute paradise. My wife and I spent several days exploring the nearby Abel Tasman National Park, which offers a plethora of hiking and kayaking options. We also had the opportunity to take part in a guided fly fishing excursion, which was both challenging and rewarding.
The food scene in Nelson is also worth mentioning, as we feasted on delicious locally sourced fare throughout our stay. From fresh seafood to farm-to-table cuisine, the culinary landscape is diverse and tasty. Overall, I would highly recommend Nelson as a destination for anyone looking to experience the best of New Zealand."
Jean-Pierre L.

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