Nelson, New Zealand
Nelson, New Zealand is located at the top of the South Island. The Nelson region has New Zealand's highest amount of sunshine each year, and a mild climate year round.
Nelson has many small cafes and restaurants that make superb use of the local fruit, vegetables, seafood and produce, combined with an appreciation for fine wine. The speciality of the area is seafood, with everything from fish and chips to delicious seafood chowder. Visit the Mapua café and smokehouse for some of the best and freshest smoked seafood you have ever tasted.
In the Nelson region there are a large number of artists and crafts people, with lots of small galleries, boutique shops and historic buildings. You could visit the Nelson classic Car Museum, where you can see one of the finest collection of vintage, veteran and classic cars in Australasia. At Hoglund Art Glass you can watch glassblowers in action. Every week a visit to the colourful Saturday market to see the arts and crafts people in one place and pick up a bargain, is a must.
The scenic drive from Nelson to Golden Bay takes you past vineyards, where you can take a wine tour and learn about the area's Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. Driving on you pass small beach towns, over the steep Takaka Hill, before plunging back down to Golden Bay. Travel out to Collingwood, where you can take a guided 4WD tour out to Farewell Spit, which is a wetlands and bird sanctuary of international importance. You can go to the lighthouse or walk on the spit.
National Parks near Nelson
In the Nelson region there are three major National Parks, Kahurangi National Park, Nelson Lakes National Park and Abel Tasman National Park; each one completely different to the others. Kahurangi National Park is the second largest, and one of New Zealand's newest National Parks. Kahurangi National Park varies from remote wilderness areas, to regions with tracks along rivers, coastal plains, and forests. One of New Zealand's best known hiking tracks The Heaphy Track, one of New Zealand's Great Walks, takes up to five days through Kahurangi National Park. Many of the scenes in the movie ‘Lord of the Rings' were filmed in Kahurangi National Park.
Nelson Lakes National Park is at the northern end of the Southern Alps with many lakes, steep mountain ranges and beech forests. You could walk around Lake Rotoiti, or take an alpine track up to the high alpine tarn of Lake Angelus. The region is as it was 500 years ago. There are some great fishing spots in Nelson Lakes National Park including Lake Rotoiti and Lake Rotorua. The fishing is unrestricted October to April each year. The lower reaches of some rivers can be fished year round.
Popular all year is Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand's smallest National Park, with coastal tracks, beautiful beaches, bays, and rocky outcrops. You can spend a day or more exploring on foot or by kayak Abel Tasman National Park, with three to five day guided walks or kayaking trips also available.
Nelson weather is sunny and mild year round. On average Nelson has over 2500 hours of sunshine a year, with an average annual rainfall of 986 mm. Summer maximum temperatures average 22C, with minimum daily temperatures averaging 13C. Winter temperatures vary from average maximums of 13C and minimum temperatures of 3C.