Nelson is The Best City in New Zealand

Located at the top of the North-West of the South Island, Nelson is the sunniest place in New Zealand. Here, you can enjoy arts and crafts, plenty of shopping, great creative culture and beautiful beaches. Nelson is also a great gateway to the Tasman Bay, where you can arrange a hike on the beautiful Abel Tasman Track. I really loved my time in Nelson, more than in any other city in New Zealand. The only downside was that I didn’t spend enough time in the area! If you haven’t considered it yet, Nelson should make it to your travel bucket list.

Things to do in Nelson, New Zealand

Nelson has a lot to offer, from its famous art galleries to local winery tours. If you are interested in local produce, spend some time mingling around at the Saturday market. You can interact with a lot of friendly kiwis, keen to tell you more about their arts and crafts.

If you’re in Nelson because of its art scene, spend some time visiting historic buildings, art galleries such as the Suter, Te Aratoi o Whakatu, and chill in the hipster cafes scattered all around the city. You can even watch glassblowers in action and buy yourself a first class souvenir.

Learn about the local culture and take a natural medicine and bush walk on the Rongoa Maori. Spend some time shopping around the small independent boutiques which can be found on countless streets right in the heart of Nelson.

If you fancy something different, rent a bike and pedal around wineries in this sunny region famed for its amazingly delicious wines.

Wine Nelson
Nelson Beach New Zealand

What to eat in Nelson, New Zealand

There are plenty of eateries in Nelson, with both international and local cuisine. Make sure to pair your meal with the perfect locally sourced wines which are known to be aromatic and delicious. If wine is not your thing, Nelson has you covered: it is New Zealand’s capital of craft beers, so you will be spoiled for choice. I very much enjoyed the seafood in Nelson and although I’m not much of a wine drinker, their red wine was spot on.

Since you are in Nelson, you should arrange a tour around a local winery where you can learn about the history of this region whilst indulging yourself in tasting several types of wine.

Salmon Nelson

Where to stay in Nelson, New Zealand

There is an abundance of accommodation available in Nelson. From luxury lodges to bed and breakfasts and cheap hostels, you are sure to find something that suits your budget. I picked a nice serviced apartment right on the top of the hill, so I can enjoy my morning with a view.

I strongly recommend trying to find an apartment with a terrace or a porch, as it’s the most wonderful way to spend a relaxing evening with a glass of wine, overlooking the Tasman Sea.

For some great options, you can check the website.

Nelson Accommodation

Best experience in Nelson, New Zealand

My highlight of Nelson was a late afternoon walk on the beach. I drove to Bisley Walk where I left my car in the free parking area, right next to the beach. Got my flip flops and started my walk on the white sands. The sea tides were out, hence I could see this endless sea of wet sand, perfect for an evening stroll.

Nelson Beach Sunset

When the sunset, the red and orange colours were reflecting in the wet sand, which transformed the views into the most picturesque landscape. Although I loved many of New Zealand’s beaches, including the ones along the Abel Tasman Track and the beautiful Wharariki, I think Nelson’s shores managed to capture my soul and steal my heart. Even today, when I think of New Zealand, I imagine walking on this beach. It most certainly made an impression.

Side trips from Nelson, New Zealand

Nelson is a great base, especially if you plan to take side trips to the Abel Tasman Track. You can stop here on your way to Takaka if you wish to see New Zealand’s Golden Coast. Alternatively, you can retrace my footsteps and stop in Nelson on your way back from Takaka and towards Hokitika. You can also take day trips to the Farewell Spit (although it’s quite a drive), Nelson Lakes National Park or Kahurangi National Park. Whatever you pick, you will be dazzled by raw nature, beautiful flora and fauna and incredibly friendly locals.

Sunset Beach Nelson
Abel Tasman New Zealand

Nelson was my favourite city in New Zealand and if I would move to the South Island, Nelson would be my number one choice. What is your favourite city in New Zealand?

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Cory from You Could Travel entering Senso-ji in Tokyo, Japan

Cory Varga – Cory is a published travel writer and award-winning photographer. She travels full time with her husband and is passionate about creating in-depth travel guides. Cory published her first book on Japanese customs and manners because she’s obsessed with everything Japan. She has visited hundreds of destinations and has lived in 7 different countries. Cory is multilingual and an alumna from The University of Manchester.


5 responses to “Nelson is The Best City in New Zealand”

  1. Henry McIntosh Avatar
    Henry McIntosh

    I love Nelson. So sunny!

  2. Christine Ashdown Avatar
    Christine Ashdown

    Yes I agree Nelson is the best place in New Zealand , we are returning there after living for 10 years in the UK can’t wait

  3. Nelson Avatar

    I’m happy that you shared this helpful information with us. Please keep us up to date like this.I love reading your article and I hope that I will read some more about this stuff, it’s really informative and very entertaining. Thanks a lot and have a great day.

  4. Kirsty Howe Avatar
    Kirsty Howe

    Whangarei in the north of the North Island is a great place. Handy for stunning white sand beaches, year round semi tropical temperatures and a rich Maori culture. Only a couple of hours north of Auckland too.

    1. Cory Avatar

      Wow… you wouldn’t believe it but we wanted to move there at some point. Sadly, we don’t have access to a perm visa for now and still trying to find a way. But Whangarei or Nelson are the top for us. I just find it such a coincidence that you said Whangarei….like you read our mind :O but yeah, it’s an amazing place!!!

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