Nelson is a small but charming city on the northern coast of New Zealand’s South Island. It is characterised by quaint old colonial buildings and is known for its thriving arts and crafts scene and sunny weather.

Join locals at the Nelson Market, held every Saturday morning, and browse regional produce and crafts at more than 200 stalls.

Visit the World of Wearable Art & Classic Cars Museum and see some of the most inventive outfits from the Wearable Art Awards hosted in the city until 2004. Car lovers should check out the 100 classic automobiles, including vintage Cadillacs, Jaguars and Buicks, housed in the same complex.

Learn about the history of the area at the Nelson Provincial Museum. Here you’ll find artefacts from the area’s pre-history as well as items and accounts from pioneer settlers.

For more colonial history, make your way to Founders Heritage Park. Enjoy an assortment of historic homes and businesses, an old train and a boutique café and brewery. Move on to the Christ Church Cathedral to see one of the city’s most prominent landmarks.

Art lovers should visit The Suter Art Gallery for a look at a great collection of paintings from both international and New Zealand artists. Take a break and relax in the recreated Japanese landscape at the Miyazu Garden, visit local wineries or even go diving in the Tasman Bay. Travellers with kids will love the Natureland Zoo where you can get up close to wallabies, llamas and several other species.

Many visitors to New Zealand use a rental car to get between destinations, enjoying the spectacular scenery on the way. Nelson is about 6 hours’ drive from Christchurch. You can also fly into the Nelson domestic airport on a connecting flight from other major New Zealand cities.

Nelson is a great little city with some interesting museums and pretty countryside. Admire the work of local artisans, look at heritage buildings or just relax and enjoy the scenery.

Known for

Shopping, Cafés and Beaches

Explore map

Top hotels in Nelson

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Trailways Hotel Nelson
Trailways Hotel Nelson
4.5 out of 5
66 Trafalgar Street, Nelson
NZ$100
per night
28 Oct. - 29 Oct.

Located in the heart of Nelson, this luxury hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Nelson I-site Visitor Information Centre and Trafalgar Park. Montgomery Square ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (866 reviews)

"I was really impressed. Couldn't fault the place. Awesome service, super clean, comfortable amenities. Great value for money."…"

Reviewed on 11 Oct. 2019

Trailways Hotel Nelson
The Hotel Nelson
The Hotel Nelson
4 out of 5
40 Waimea Road, Nelson
NZ$95
per night
29 Oct. - 30 Oct.

This family-friendly Nelson hotel is located near the airport, within a 15-minute walk of Christ Church Cathedral and Nelson Provincial Museum. Nelson Market ...

4.4/5Wonderful! (452 reviews)

"Good bed Nice to have fresh milk provided in the fridge in the room Easy to use air conditioning/heating system that worked well Personal car space directly outside the room"…"

Reviewed on 19 Oct. 2019

The Hotel Nelson
Quest Nelson
Quest Nelson
3.5 out of 5
108-110 Collingwood Street, Nelson
NZ$140
per night
25 Oct. - 26 Oct.

Located in Nelson City Centre, this apartment building is within a 5-minute walk of Nelson Provincial Museum, Queens Gardens and The Suter. Christ Church Cathedral ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (233 reviews)

"Clean, quiet, warm, comfortable, great price, great location."…"

Reviewed on 14 Sep. 2019

Quest Nelson

Top activities in Nelson

Fly Golden Bay and Cruise Abel Tasman Day Experience
Image for Fly Golden Bay and Cruise Abel Tasman Day Experience

Fly Golden Bay and Cruise Abel Tasman Day Experience

NZ$449

Enjoy a fantastic top of the south experience that gets you off the beaten track to explore beautiful Golden Bay and the idyllic Abel Tasman National Park, with no retracing of steps.

Skydive Abel Tasman Tandem Skydive
Image for Skydive Abel Tasman Tandem Skydive

Skydive Abel Tasman Tandem Skydive

NZ$289

Have the Best Day of Your Life! Enjoy a scenic flight climbing to altitude-then the door opens and the adrenaline rushes as you experience the thrill of free fall for over 40 or 60 seconds, depending on jump height chosen.

Nelson to Mapua One Day Cycle Adventure
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Nelson to Mapua One Day Cycle Adventure

NZ$99

This one day cycle adventure takes in some of the most stunning scenery on Tasman’s Great Taste Trail. There are many fun stops along the way with award winning wineries, craft breweries, and the World of Wearable Art museum to name a few.

Abel Tasman and Golden Bay in One Day
Image for Abel Tasman and Golden Bay in One Day

Abel Tasman and Golden Bay in One Day

NZ$209

Discover Abel Tasman National Park by bus, boat and on foot. Take a 1.5-hour cruise along the coast, visit the town of Takaka, and stop for short walks throughout the day. Benefit from round-trip transfers from Motueka or Nelson.

Craft Brewery Tour
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Craft Brewery Tour

NZ$145

This is a luxury group tour for up to six guests in our Mercedes Benz minibus. The Nelson region is New Zealand’s leading hop growing region, exporting hops as far afield as craft breweries in Germany.

Nelson: Wine Region Half Day Winery Tour
Image for Nelson: Wine Region Half Day Winery Tour

Nelson: Wine Region Half Day Winery Tour

NZ$140

You will be in awe of the natural surroundings whilstsavouring absolutely world class wine. The half day trip starts in the morning at 10.30 am or 12 pm. We will 4 different wineries. At one winery we will have the opportunity to order a light or gourmet lunch while tasting wine.