🇳🇿 New Zealand
Nature's paradise on the South Island

Nelson - Vacation Briefing

Located on the northern tip of New Zealand's South Island, Nelson is a picturesque coastal city renowned for its stunning natural landscapes and vibrant arts scene. Spend your days exploring the golden shores and crystal-clear waters of Tahunanui Beach or embark on a scenic hike through the lush greenery of Abel Tasman National Park. With a thriving arts and craft community, Nelson is home to numerous galleries and studios where you can discover the creations of talented local artists. Indulge in the region's world-class wineries and enjoy delicious fresh seafood at waterfront restaurants. Nelson is the perfect destination for nature lovers, art enthusiasts, and those seeking a peaceful retreat.

Popular Sights in Nelson

Things to do during your Nelson vacation

Nelson is a picturesque city located on the eastern shores of Tasman Bay. It offers a wide range of activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy. Whether you're a nature lover or an art enthusiast, Nelson has something for everyone. Here are some of the top things to do in Nelson.

  • Abel Tasman National Park: Explore the stunning coastal landscapes of Abel Tasman National Park through hiking, kayaking, and scenic boat tours.
  • World of WearableArt & Classic Cars Museum: Discover a unique collection of wearable art and classic cars, showcasing creativity and engineering.
  • Nelson Saturday Market: Indulge in local produce, crafts, and entertainment at the vibrant Nelson Saturday Market, held in the heart of the city.
  • Founders Heritage Park: Step back in time and explore the rich history of Nelson at this living museum, complete with heritage buildings and interactive displays.
  • Nelson Lakes National Park: Experience the beauty of alpine lakes and hiking trails in Nelson Lakes National Park, located south of the city.
  • Craft Beer Tasting: Sample a variety of craft beers at Nelson's numerous breweries and taprooms, known for their quality and innovative flavors.
  • Tahunanui Beach: Relax on the golden sands of Tahunanui Beach, go for a swim, or enjoy beachside activities such as paddleboarding and volleyball.
  • Queens Gardens: Stroll through the beautifully landscaped Queens Gardens, featuring colorful floral displays, tranquil ponds, and historic monuments.
  • Nelson Provincial Museum: Immerse yourself in Nelson's past through fascinating exhibits and collections at the Nelson Provincial Museum.
  • Arts and Crafts Galleries: Discover the vibrant arts and crafts scene of Nelson by visiting numerous galleries and studios showcasing local talent.
  • Cycling the Great Taste Trail: Embark on a leisurely cycling adventure along the Great Taste Trail, exploring vineyards, breweries, and scenic countryside.

Why you should visit Nelson


Nelson, New Zealand is a highly desirable destination with a diverse range of activities and attractions.


Nelson, New Zealand has a generally low crime rate and is politically stable. However, there is a moderate risk of natural disasters such as earthquakes.


Nelson, New Zealand has a rich cultural scene with numerous museums, art galleries, and historical sites. The city also offers a diverse culinary scene with a variety of cuisines to explore.


The nightlife in Nelson, New Zealand is decent with a variety of bars, pubs, and live music venues to choose from, but it may not be as vibrant as in larger cities.


Nelson, New Zealand offers a range of adventurous activities such as kayaking, mountain biking, and hiking. However, it may not have the extreme sports options available in some other destinations.


Nelson, New Zealand is known for its beautiful beaches, hiking trails, and picturesque lakes, making it a great destination for relaxation and outdoor activities.

Best time to visit Nelson

Nelson, New Zealand offers a delightful escape with its mild weather and stunning natural beauty. The best time to travel here is from December to February, when you can enjoy warm temperatures, outdoor activities, and vibrant festivals.

Perfect for beach activities
20°C - 26°C
Sunny and ideal for outdoor adventures
18°C - 24°C
Mild weather and fewer tourists
15°C - 21°C
Enjoy autumn colors and peacefulness
11°C - 18°C
Quiet, cozy, and perfect for indoor activities
7°C - 14°C
Chilly but great for indoor exploration
5°C - 12°C
Cold but dry, ideal for scenic walks
2°C - 10°C
Transition to spring, pleasant temperatures
5°C - 12°C
Emerald landscapes and fewer tourists
7°C - 15°C
Spring blossoms and pleasant weather
10°C - 18°C
Warm temperatures and pre-summer vibes
15°C - 22°C
Sunny and festive holiday season
18°C - 24°C

A guide To your first day of Nelson vacation


  • Take a leisurely walk along the scenic waterfront of Nelson. Enjoy the stunning views of the Tasman Bay and the surrounding mountains.
  • Visit the Nelson Saturday Market to experience the vibrant local culture. Explore the stalls selling fresh produce, local crafts, and delicious street food.


  • Discover the art scene of Nelson by visiting the many art galleries and studios in the city. Marvel at the works of local artists and perhaps even purchase a unique piece to take home.
  • Explore the Nelson Vineyards and indulge in a wine tasting experience. Sample the region's renowned Sauvignon Blanc and other varietals while enjoying the picturesque vineyard views.


  • Enjoy a delicious dinner at one of Nelson's waterfront restaurants. Savor fresh seafood dishes while overlooking the sparkling waters of the bay.
  • Catch a live performance at the Theatre Royal Nelson. Whether it's a play, musical, or comedy show, you're sure to be entertained by the local talent.


  • Take a stroll through the quaint streets of Nelson and admire the beautifully lit heritage buildings. Enjoy the peaceful ambiance of the city at night.
  • Experience the vibrant nightlife of Nelson by visiting one of its lively bars or pubs. Enjoy live music, local beers, and friendly company.

How to get to Nelson

By Plane

Nelson Airport (NSN) is the main gateway to Nelson, New Zealand, with regular domestic flights from major cities like Auckland and Wellington. It offers a convenient and hassle-free travel experience with modern facilities and friendly staff. The airport is well-connected to the city center by public transport and taxis, ensuring a smooth and quick transfer for visitors.

By other means

Nelson has an efficient public transport system with frequent bus services that connect the city center with surrounding towns and attractions. The local bus network is easy to navigate, and the friendly drivers are always ready to assist. Ferries are also available, providing scenic routes to nearby islands and offering visitors a unique way to explore the coastal beauty of the region.

Tips for Booking Your Trip

Planning a trip can get tricky, right? Don't worry, we've got some solid advice to make your life easier. Here's how you can find flights and accommodations without a hitch.

Flights: How to Score the Best Deal

First things first, check out Google Flights. Their price calendar and nearby airport options are really useful. Found a good deal? Great, but hang on a sec—make sure you compare it with prices on Kayak, Skyscanner, Momondo, and Kiwi. A little research can go a long way.

Accommodation: Find Your Ideal Spot

For places to stay, start by scanning and Airbnb to get an idea of what's out there. Then, level up your search by looking at Hostelworld and Agoda. Oh, and a quick tip: the hotel's own website might have some special offers, so give that a look too.

Ready to make some moves? The links you need are right below. Happy booking!



Best for travelers who are ...

Nature lovers, art enthusiasts, and those seeking a peaceful retreat

How long to stay in Nelson?

We recommend staying in Nelson for at least 3-5 days to fully explore the natural beauty and immerse yourself in the vibrant arts scene. However, if you have more time, extending your stay to a week or more will allow you to discover the nearby attractions and indulge in the region's culinary delights.

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