Located along the crystal clear shores of Tasman Bay, Nelson is the oldest city in the South Island and the geographical center of New Zealand. Nelson is surrounded on all three of its other sides by mountains, which make the perfect place for its three national parks. Its burgeoning arts scene plays home to resident artists who use their surroundings to inspire their work. Nelson is truly a vacation destination with everything visitors need to relax, soak in the sunshine, and explore.
Things to do in Nelson
Nelson is home to a whopping three National Parks. Abel Tasman National Park, Kahurangi National Park, and Nelson Lakes National Park are all within Nelson’s city limits. Abel Tasman is located at the north end of the South Island and covers about 87 square miles. Visitors can catch a glimpse of petrels, shags, penguins, and herons on the Abel Tasman Coast Track, one of the Department of Conservation’s Great Walks. Guests can also enjoy kayaking and other great nature walks here. Kahuangi National Park is the second largest of New Zealand’s 14 National Parks. Kahuangi draw visitors in for its hiking trails, rafting and caving. Spelunkers from all over the world come here to experience some of the best caving, especially in the park’s own Mount Owen. Nelson Lakes National Park is the final of the three. It boasts hiking and leisurely walking trails around its two lakes, Lake Rotoiti and Lake Rotoroa, skiing trails in the winter, and water sports activities in the warmer months. It’s also home to the 130-foot Whisky Falls waterfall, so if you’re up for a difficult hike, head out and see it!
The Queens Gardens, officially opened in 1892, are filled with gorgeous sculptures and Victorian ornamental design. The Boer War Memorial and Cupid Fountain are among the popular sculptures here, and the memorial gates at both park entrances greet visitors as they come and go. If you’re looking for more artwork after your visit to the garden, Nelson is a great place to find it. The World of WearableArt (WOW) was born in Nelson and the city is considered the creative arts center of New Zealand. Over 300 working painters, sculptors, writers, and other artists live in the Nelson region, many using the beautiful natural surroundings as inspiration for their work.
Day Trips from Nelson
If you’re really feeling the art scene and want to explore another beautiful region of the South Island, head to Blenheim. The most populous city in the Marlborough region, and is filled with vineyards, vineyards and more vineyards. In fact, the region is known for being the largest wine growing area in New Zealand. There are over 50 wineries in the region and almost all of them are in or within driving distance of Blenheim. Cloudy Bay Vineyards is a great place to start, and with Blenheim’s average of 2,438 hours of sunshine a year, this winery’s expansive courtyard is the perfect place to enjoy a glass of their wine. Hunter’s is another excellent choice. Along with their award-winning wines, they also have two gorgeous gardens with native and exotic birds soaring overhead. Sculptures and art work complement the plant life and provide a welcoming place for visitors to taste delicious wines. A day trip to Blenheim offers so many possibilities, so be sure to start your 1 hour and 30-minute drive early to make the most of it!
Tripping.com is the place to go for vacation rentals in Nelson. With nearly 500 beautifully unique rentals, you can find homes with an ocean view, pet-friendly houses, and studios with garden views. Stay near Collingwood Street to be within walking distance of the Queens Gardens.
Food and drink are as integral to the city as anything From Waterfront dining at Hooked, to savoring a glass of wine at Seifried Estate, to South Island’s oldest family winery, you’ll find everything you need on your vacation in Nelson.
Transportation in Nelson
To get to the city, fly into Nelson Airport on one of five airlines that service it. From there, consider taking one of the many road and coach services, catching a taxi, or renting a car at the airport. From the airport, it’s less than a 15-minute drive to the center of Nelson. Getting around Nelson’s city center can be done by public bus, but you might consider a rental car if you’re going on day trips or visiting the national parks.
Vacation Rentals in Nelson
Looking for a vacation rental in Nelson? Tripping.com has 788 vacation rental homes available in Nelson. You'll find 8 studios, 516 1-bedroom, 100 2-bedroom and 164 rentals with 3 or more bedrooms ranging from €25 a night. For extra convenience, many of these vacation homes can be booked directly online.
The average price of a nightly rental in Nelson is €77 while the average price of a weekly rental is €25. For those looking for more than a short term rental such as corporate rentals, extended stays or long term rentals, the average monthly price of a Nelson home is €25.
Wondering if you can bring your dog or cat along with you? There are 65 pet-friendly vacation rentals available in Nelson. In addition to accommodating pets, Nelson rentals offer a variety of amenities. In particular, 767 rentals have Internet and WiFi, 641 have TV and/or cable and 146 have a pool or hot tub.
Search properties from 5 vacation rental sites in Nelson where the top providers in that area are Booking.com, HomeAway, and Agoda. There are 257 Booking.com rentals, 187 HomeAway short term rentals and 161 Agoda vacation rentals.