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Nelson is a city that truly offers something for everyone. Home to a thriving arts scene, surrounded by wineries and the gateway to Abel Tasman National Park, it is the perfect spot to experience the Kiwi way of life.

The Nelson-Tasman region offers a diverse range of landscapes from long golden beaches, rugged mountains and pristine forests, together with being the sunniest region of New Zealand. Nelson is known for having a thriving creative community and is one of the best places to appreciate New Zealand’s art scene with a mix of galleries and artist studios to visit. Outside of the city in the surrounding Moutere Hills and Waimea Plains there are opportunities to indulge in sampling local wines at one of the many wineries or, for the more active, hire a bike and hit the Tasman’s Great Taste Trail or the Dun Mountain Trail.

Nelson acts not only as the gateway for the stunning Abel Tasman National Park with its golden beaches and turquoise sea, but also for the Nelson Lakes National Park with its two alpine lakes surrounded by honeydew beech forests, and Kahurangi National Park which is home to 18 species of native New Zealand birds including tuis and South Island robins.  

View suggested itinerary

Key info

  • Where: South Island, New Zealand

Wildlife trips

This location is featured in the following itinerary:

Kiwis & Whales Galore: South Island Self-drive

This self-drive of New Zealand’s South Island showcases dramatic scenery, from sandy beaches to picturesque snow-capped mountains. Highlights include cetacean-rich Kaikoura, the Otago Peninsula - home to the endangered yellow-eyed penguin - and Stewart Island for southern brown kiwis.

  • When to go: Sep-May
  • Duration inc. flights: 23 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £6,395 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea