Nelson City

Nelson is our sunniest city, and a great base for discovering artists, vineyards and mountain-bike trails.

Photo: Nelson Tasman Tourism

Nelson is spread around the largest fishing port in Australasia. The city area is notable for its colonial architecture and occupies flat coastal land, while the suburbs spill over nearby hills.

On average, the city is the sunniest place in the country.

It is at the city’s Botanic Reserve where the national game was born, with the first game of rugby in New Zealand being played between Nelson College and the Nelson club team on 14 May 1870. Nelson is also the birthplace of Charles J Munro, one of the players in that first NZ rugby game.

The historic Suter Gallery is the oldest purpose-built art gallery in the country. Nelson is home to more working artists per capita than anywhere else in New Zealand. Popping in to visit some of them in their home studios on the arts trail from Richmond to Motueka is a great way to meet some amazing characters along your journey.

The World of Wearable Art & Classic Cars Museum is a Nelson icon and the place to see magnificent creations combining art and the human form.

Many a Nelson holiday has been scheduled around a visit to the Nelson Saturday Market. It is here that you can experience the original creative spirit of the Nelson Tasman region in one happening place. Prowl the lanes between the hundreds of stalls for Nelson’s best; fresh vegetables, breads, fruit, cheeses, gourmet dips, smoked seafood, woodwork, jewellery, ceramics, visual art, fashion, crafts, treasure, furniture, etc. The market is held every Saturday 8am - 1pm (except religious holidays) in Montgomery Square. If you’re not about on a Saturday, there are plenty of other markets worth checking out. The Farmers’ Market at Founders Heritage Park on Fridays (3-7pm during summer and 3-6pm during winter) and the Sunday Motueka Market are definitely worth a visit.

Nelson Tasman is a mountain biking mecca, with numerous tracks suiting differing abilities both in the city and further afield. The most popular city track is up Dun Mountain, just a few minutes’ ride from the CBD.

Where to stay

Nelson City

What to do

  • Visit the World of Wearable Arts and Classic Cars Museum
  • Check out the Farmers’ Market
  • Go mountain biking up Dun Mountain, or on the Great Taste Trail
  • Visit the Suter Gallery
  • Have the best seafood meal of your life

More info

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Getting there

  • From Christchurch by road: 424km
  • From Wellington by road and ferry: 202km