New Zealand’s Craft Brewing Capital
On the eastern shores of the Tasman Bay sits the South Island’s oldest settled city -- Nelson. Set against a backdrop of alpine lakes, roaring rivers and wide coastlines, the city has long been a magnet for creatives, with more than 350 artists calling Nelson home. A Mediterranean climate and fertile countryside mean that gourmet providores and boutique wineries dot the region’s rolling hills. But Nelson’s real drawcard is its title as the craft-brewing capital of New Zealand. More than a dozen locally owned breweries stretch from Founders Heritage Park to Onekaka in Golden Bay. And situated on Port Nelson, the largest fishing port in Australasia, everything from fresh scallops to fresh mussels are on the menu.
Things to do
Art You Can Wear
Experience around 60 wearable art garments, many of which are award-winning creations, at the World of Wearable Art Museum and Classic Cars opens in new window. The yearly World of Wearable Art event, now held in Wellington, was born in Nelson and its rich history lives on at this exhibition.
With more than 160 years of brewing across six generations, a trip to Founders Brewery opens in new window is bound to be delicious. Situated in the beautiful Founders Heritage Park, grab a tasting tray for NZD $10 to accompany lunch as you relax beneath the hop vines.
National Park Trinity
Three of New Zealand’s diverse National Parks are within a 90 minute drive from Nelson. Nelson Lakes National Park opens in new window offers high country alpine wilderness, hike New Zealand’s second largest park, Kahurangi National Park opens in new window or go sea kayaking in the stunning turquoise waters of Abel Tasman National Park opens in new window
Take A Walk
For an adventure in the heart of Nelson, take a walk along Nelson Boulder Bank opens in new window. This eight kilometre walk from Boulder Bank Drive to 'The Cut' traverses a thin strip of land that was once a Maori fishing camp. Stop at the cast iron lighthouse for history that dates back to 1862.
To market, To market
Make like a local and spend a Saturday morning at the Nelson Saturday Market opens in new window. You’ll find everything from locally designed and made jewellery and clothing to delicious breakfast foods including freshly made cakes, pastries and coffee.
[Nelson Airport GPS coordinates: 41.2983° S, 173.2211° E]
Travel time 15 - 20 minutes
Taxi Approx NZD $17
Super Shuttle from NZD $19 (bookings required)Back to top
When to go
Nelson is blessed with some of the highest sunshine hours in New Zealand. Summer (December - February) and autumn (March - May) are the best seasons to visit with the least rainfall, mild highs and comfortable lows. For travellers hoping to hit the slopes at the Rainbow Ski Area in Nelson Lakes National Park, the snow season opens between June and October, hitting its peak in August.
During the summer, Nelson hosts a range of festivals from the Nelson Busker’s Festival to the Sail Port Stephens Regatta. And for art lovers, nothing beats the yearly Nelson Arts Festival.Back to top
For transport within Nelson and nearby Richmond, NBus operates services across the city every 15 minutes. There are four payment zones depending on the distance of your NBus trip. For example, a trip from Nelson to Richmond crosses four zones and costs NZD $4 for a single adult. For timetables and fare information visit Nelson City Council.Back to top