Sunshine capital, Nelson NZ

To live in the Nelson region is to discover azure skies and wide open spaces, beaches and lakes, spectacular national parks and unique landforms, vineyards and gourmet cafes, artists and galleries, entrepreneurs and boutique shopping experiences – a uniquely Nelson way of life.

Discover the creative paradise that is Nelson – an irresistible blend of lifestyle and stunning landscape at the top northwest corner of the South Island. From the northern edge of the Southern Alps across the fertile plains and out to a great sweep of beaches, our place is beautifully laid out under a generous sun that delivers New Zealand’s highest sunshine hours. Discover the diverse landscapes in each of these areas.

Nelson offers a unique blend of culture and heritage, landscape and leisure, sunshine and sculpture, fine wine and fabulous food, served with a warm and embracing welcome. There are many micro-communities, each with a rich variety of activities and unique experiences, waiting to be discovered.


Nelson & Richmond

Urban centre, airport, shops, art galleries, theatres, cafés and restaurants, nightclubs, historic buildings, Cathedral, Queens Gardens, Nelson waterfront, port and marina, Maitai River, Tahunanui Beach, regional museum, World of WearableArt and Collectable Cars Museum.

Retail and residential: large shopping mall, cafés and restaurants, Aquatic Centre, Saxton Field sports facilities, galleries and interactive art experiences, roadside produce and berry farms, gateway to Aniseed Valley and Lee Valley for swimming and family fun, Rabbit Island beach for BBQs and relaxing.

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Mapua, Moutere & Motueka

Coastal Highway
Picturesque rolling farmland: grapevines, olives and orchards. A stunning drive sprinkled with cafés, art studios and galleries, wineries, gourmet foods and scenic waterfront picnic spots.

Small coastal township: historic wharf, waterfront cafés, aquarium, galleries, gourmet foods, country pubs, eco-tourism estuary tours and large family holiday park.

Ruby Bay & Tasman
Pebble beach ‘alive’ with sea-life at Ruby Bay, picnic spot with sea views and camping ground. Tasman has farmlands and tame eels. Drive to Kina peninsula for golf and coastal beachcombing.

Unhurried rural township with quirky cafés, shops, galleries, wharf and fishing port, horticulture and hops. Motueka is the last major shopping outpost before the Abel Tasman National Park.

Motueka Valley & River
One of the main entry points to Kahurangi National Park. It’s also the picturesque and scenic location of the Motueka River, which has a growing international reputation for brown trout fishing. Tracks, guided walks, crystal clear water, fishing, sightseeing.

The alternative route between Nelson and Motueka is the inland highway, which cuts across the Waimea Plains and the Moutere Hills. Vineclad hills, alfresco cafés, wineries, Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc, historic church in Upper Moutere, farmlands.

Abel Tasman

Popular resort area and family holiday spot with three golden sand, swimming beaches. Boating, sailing, water skiing, kayaking, swimming, sunbathing, cafés, health resort, camping grounds and playgrounds, plus water transport to the Abel Tasman National Park.

Located at the beginning of the beautiful Abel Tasman track, Marahau is a base for sea kayak companies and water transport, cafés,  swimming and relaxed walks on the low tide estuary and sand flats.

Abel Tasman National Park
New Zealand’s smallest national park has gentle terrain, golden sands, coastal bays, and lagoons. The interior has beautiful beech forests, bizarre marble ‘karst’ landscapes and a spectacular system of caves. Tramping, sea kayaking, seals, scenic charters, camping, swimming. Regular water transport into bays throughout the park.

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Golden Bay

Golden Bay
Over the Takaka Hill lie Golden Bay’s farmlands, bush, wild, west-coast beaches, natural wonders, Farewell Spit (Onetahua), Puponga Farm Park, small towns, art and craft studios, history, nature tours, limestone crag climbing, biking, horse riding, swimming and alternative lifestyles.

Kahurangi National Park
Covers much of the northwestern corner of the South Island in rolling tussock downs, wild river gorges, karst outcrops and spectacular cave systems. Kahurangi is home to the Great Spotted Kiwi, endangered Blue Duck and over half of New Zealand’s 2,400 native plant species, including unique alpine flowers. Tramping, birdwatching, caving, sightseeing.

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Nelson Lakes National Park

Nelson Lakes National Park
The northernmost Southern Alps, tranquil beech forests, craggy mountains, clear streams, fields of tussock and alpine flora. Lake Rotoiti and Lake Rotoroa areas are popular for tramping, fishing, skiing, boating and birdwatching. The Department of Conservation is actively involved in a nature recovery project and more details are illustrated on signs in the area.

The Buller
A rugged and scenic river providing some of the best kayaking and rafting in the country. It flows from Lake Rotoiti through rugged mountainous country to the Tasman Sea on the West Coast. The forest on the valley sides is mainly beech with some rimu and rata.