Nelson is a creative and laidback region located at the top of the South Island. Home to some of the countries most beautiful National Parks and stunning scenery, Nelson is the perfect destination for some R and R. Popular activities include white water rafting, gallery and wine tours, horse riding, bush walking and much more.

Nelson, located in the top north-west corner of the South Island, offers visitors a combination of a creative and laidback lifestyle and stunning landscape. Named a city in 1858, Nelson is ideally located at the northern edge of the Southern Alps. Relax and unwind with a backdrop of towering snow-tipped mountains, beautiful beaches and acre of picturesque vineyards.

The Maori people first inhabited the area over 700 years ago and it is home to over 40 000 residents. Consistently the sunniest spot in New Zealand, Nelson attracts people from all walks of life - undoubtedly drawn by the relaxed, 'get up and go' approach the Nelson community takes to life.

Art is the name of the game in Nelson with more than 350 working artists and craftspeople living in the City. Home of the Nelson Arts Festival, the region has a number of art related activities for you and the family to enjoy including workshops, gallery tours, wearable art museums and craft markets. There are a number of shopping centres in the area stocking everything from clothing to cookware. There are also various markets held on weekends across the region selling gourmet food, art, clothes and giftware.

Nelson is unique in the sense that there are 3 National Parks within kilometres of each other. The first is the world-renown Abel Tasman National Park home of the Abel Tasman Coastal Track - one of the country's Great Walks. Secondly the Kahurangi National Park, home of another of New Zealand's Great Walks the Heaphy Track. Finally the Nelson Lakes National Park which hosts the DOC Nature Recovery Programme that protects and re-homes precious creatures including bellbirds, kiwis and kakapos.

There are huts available in all 3 of the National Parks. There is also the option to stay in designated camping areas which include toilets, water and fireplaces. The Abel Tasman National Park also offers lodges and holiday homes. If you are going to explore the National Parks ensure you are well prepared, consider consulting the DOC Offices for a checklist prior to your departure.

If relaxation is what you're searching for then you've found it in Nelson. With everything from spas to self-help management, cooking classes to tai chi, alternate medicine to pure luxury - Nelson has it all. The idyllic environment provides the perfect place to relax, unwind and bid your worries goodbye.

There is so much you can do when visiting Nelson. Popular activities include white water rafting, horseback riding, skiing, golf, rock climbing, bike riding and more.

You can get to Nelson by ferry, car, bus and plane. The Nelson Airport has over 90 domestic arrivals and departures daily. Regular ferries operate from Wellington to Picton with a bus connection to Nelson.

There is a range of accommodation available in the region including motels, luxury lodges, backpackers, B&Bs, cottages and much more.

Main Towns in the Nelson Region

Other Towns in the Nelson Region