10 Best Things To Do In Nelson For An Unforgettable Experience

things to do in nelson

Nestled on the picturesque coast of New Zealand's South Island, lies the delightful city of Nelson. With its stunning natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and vibrant community life, Nelson has earned a reputation as a must-visit destination for tourists from all over the world. Whether you're seeking thrilling adventure, peaceful relaxation, or cultural enlightenment, this marvelous city has something for everyone. In this article, we have handpicked the 10 best things to do in Nelson that guarantee an unforgettable experience. So, pack your bags and get ready to immerse yourself in one of the most beautiful and diverse cities in New Zealand!

Activity Description
Visit the Suter Art Gallery Explore Nelson's regional art museum featuring exhibitions, workshops, and events.
Walk along Boulder Bank Take a scenic stroll along the Boulder Bank, a natural breakwater that protects Nelson's harbour.
Visit Tahunanui Beach Soak up the sun and surf at Tahunanui Beach. This family-friendly beach has playgrounds and a waterslide.
Cycle the Great Taste Trail Rent a bike and cycle the Great Taste Trail, a 175km trail that takes you through the Nelson region's wineries, craft breweries, and local food producers.
Hike in the Abel Tasman National Park Take a day trip to the Abel Tasman National Park, where you can hike through native bush, swim in crystal-clear waters, and observe local wildlife.
Visit Founders Heritage Park Step back in time with a visit to Founders Heritage Park, home to historic buildings, live demonstrations, and a vintage railway.
Explore the Nelson Saturday Market Head to the Nelson Saturday Market, where you can find local food, crafts, and live entertainment.
Visit the World of WearableArt & Classic Cars Museum Discover an eclectic collection of wearable art garments and classic cars at this unique museum.


Visit the Nelson Saturday Market

Source: www.tripadvisor.com
Characteristic Description
NameThe Nelson Market
TypeProduce market
WebsiteGo to website
Rating / Review count4.5 / 1,992
Address47 Montgomery Square, Nelson 7010, New Zealand
Phone+64 3 546 6454
HoursWednesday - Closed
Thursday - Closed
Friday - Closed
Saturday - 8 AM–1 PM
Sunday - Closed
Monday - Closed
Tuesday - Closed

If you're looking for a fun way to spend your Saturday in Nelson, New Zealand, then look no further than the Nelson Saturday Market. With over 200 stalls selling a variety of goods, from fresh produce and local crafts to hot food and live music, there's something for everyone at this bustling community gathering.

Located in the heart of downtown Nelson, the market is open from 8 am to 1 pm every Saturday, rain or shine. It's a popular attraction for locals and visitors alike, so be sure to arrive early to beat the crowds and secure a prime parking spot.

One of the highlights of the market is the fresh produce on offer. You'll find everything from locally grown fruits and vegetables to artisan bread, organic meat, and fresh seafood. Many of the vendors are small-scale farmers and producers, so you can feel good about supporting the local economy and reducing your carbon footprint by buying local.

In addition to fresh produce, the market has dozens of stalls selling handmade crafts and artisanal products. You'll find everything from jewelry and clothing to pottery, woodcrafts, and home decor. Many of the vendors are happy to chat with customers and provide detailed information about their products and production methods.

If you're feeling hungry, the market is home to a variety of food vendors offering delicious dishes from around the world. You can sample freshly baked pies, savory pastries, homemade soups, and ethnic specialties like Indian curries, Thai noodles, and Korean BBQ.

To top it all off, the market is home to some of the best street performers in the region. You'll be entertained by musicians, dancers, and circus performers as you browse the stalls and soak up the festive atmosphere.

So if you're looking for a fun and vibrant way to spend your Saturday in Nelson, be sure to check out the Nelson Saturday Market. You won't be disappointed!


Explore the Centre of New Zealand

Source: www.stuff.co.nz

Nelson is a breathtaking city in the Northern region of the South Island of New Zealand. It is known for its picturesque landscape, cobblestone streets, and artsy vibe. One of the top attractions in Nelson is the Centre of New Zealand.

The Centre of New Zealand is a historic landmark that offers visitors the opportunity to explore the heart of Nelson city. It is located on Botanical Hill, a steep but scenic climb from the city centre, and offers stunning views over the surrounding countryside.

The Centre of New Zealand is an important historical site, as it was the point from which the original surveyors measured the country during the 1870s. Today, it has been developed into a popular recreational area for locals and tourists alike. Visitors can walk, run or bike up to the summit for a morning workout, or relax and enjoy the view from one of the many park benches.

At the summit, visitors will find a monument marking the spot that was originally measured and a signpost that points in the direction of cities and countries around the world, highlighting just how far-reaching the views are. The area also includes a network of walking trails that span the nearby hills and valleys. These paths range from easy to challenging, and offer breathtaking views of the Marlborough Sounds and Tasman Bay.

The Centre of New Zealand is not only a must-visit attraction for its history and stunning views, but it is also a hub for many outdoor activities. These include picnicking, bird watching, enjoying the local flora and fauna, and photography.

Visitors will find a rich cultural tapestry in Nelson, with opportunities to experience traditional Maori culture, as well as a thriving arts scene. The Centre of New Zealand is a prime location to explore the creative diversity of the city, providing an important connection between nature, history, and contemporary culture. It offers something for everyone, providing a serene retreat from the bustle of city life and a chance to connect with the natural beauty of New Zealand.

In conclusion, if you're looking for an unforgettable experience in New Zealand, make sure you explore the Centre of New Zealand in Nelson. It offers panoramic views, vibrant culture, and diverse outdoor recreation opportunities. This attraction is a must-visit for anyone traveling to the South Island, no matter your interests or activity level. So, pack your bags and get ready to experience the beauty of Nelson's city and countryside!


Walk or bike the Great Taste Trail

Source: kiwijourneys.co.nz

Nelson is a charming city in New Zealand that offers a plethora of activities to indulge in. While the place is quite popular for its art scene, wineries, and gorgeous beaches, one of the best ways to explore the true beauty of this place is by taking a walk or a bike ride on the Great Taste Trail.

The Great Taste Trail is an amazing cycling and walking trail that takes explorers through some of the best scenic spots in the Nelson Tasman region. The trail is over 175km long and passes through the beautiful countryside, orchards, vineyards, estuaries, wetlands, and forests.

The trail is well-marked and can be enjoyed by people of all ages and fitness levels. The trail is divided into smaller sections, so you can customize your cycling or walking path according to the time you have and your interests.

The trail is well-connected with the local businesses, which means you can take a break to enjoy a delicious meal, tasting some of the best wine in the region, shop for souvenirs, or just soak in the beautiful scenery.

One of the most popular sections of the Great Taste Trail is the Coastal Route, which is a 53 km section of the trail that passes through stunning sandy beaches, crystal clear waters, and pristine forests. The Coastal Route passes through some of the most picturesque towns in the region, including Nelson, Richmond, Mapua, and Motueka.

Another popular section is the Great Taste Trail Spooners Tunnel, which is an 11 km section that passes through the historic Spooners Tunnel. The tunnel is New Zealand's longest decommissioned railway tunnel, and it is 1.43 km long.

The Great Taste Trail is a fantastic way to experience the beautiful scenery, local lifestyle, and the unique culture of Nelson. You can choose to bike or walk at your own pace, and explore the trail on your own or with a guided tour.

In conclusion, if you are planning a visit to Nelson, make sure you include the Great Taste Trail in your itinerary. It is a unique and unforgettable experience that will leave you with lasting memories of this beautiful region in New Zealand.


Visit Founders Heritage Park

Source: www.nelson360.co.nz
Characteristic Description
NameFounders Heritage Park
TypeMuseum in Nelson, New Zealand
WebsiteGo to website
Rating / Review count4.5 / 1,333
AddressFounders Park, 87 Atawhai Drive, The Wood, Nelson 7010, New Zealand
Phone+64 3 548 2649
HoursWednesday - 10 AM–4:30 PM
Thursday - 10 AM–4:30 PM
Friday - 10 AM–4:30 PM
Saturday - 10 AM–4:30 PM
Sunday - 10 AM–4:30 PM
Monday - 10 AM–4:30 PM
Tuesday - 10 AM–4:30 PM

If you are planning a trip to Nelson in New Zealand, one of the must-visit attractions is Founders Heritage Park. This park is a fascinating glimpse into the city's past and tells the story of the pioneers who settled in the area.

Located on Atawhai Drive, Founders Heritage Park is set on 14 acres of beautiful parkland. It was established in 1986 to celebrate Nelson's 150th anniversary. The park has been created around the historic buildings that have been saved from demolition and relocated to the site over the years.

One of the highlights of the park is the recreated traditional village. This village is a collection of original and replica buildings that showcase daily life in Nelson in the early 1900s. Visitors can explore a general store, a post office, a school, a church, and a blacksmith shop. There's also a working steam train that takes visitors on a tour of the park.

Another notable attraction in the park is the museum, which is housed in one of the original buildings. The museum features exhibitions that focus on the history of Nelson and the surrounding district. It also houses an impressive collection of vintage cars, trucks, and tractors.

The park also has several gardens, including a herb garden, a vegetable garden, and a rose garden. These gardens are tended by volunteers and offer a tranquil place to relax and take in the scenery.

Founders Heritage Park is open all year round, and there's an admission fee for visitors. The park is a popular destination for families, history buffs, and anyone interested in learning about the heritage of the Nelson region. There are also regular events and festivals held in the park, making it a great place to visit throughout the year.

Overall, if you are looking for a unique and educational experience in Nelson, Founders Heritage Park is an excellent choice. Don't miss the chance to step back in time and learn about the history of this fascinating region.


Take a bushwalk in the Abel Tasman National Park

Source: www.lauratheexplorer.co.nz

Nestled in the scenic region of Nelson on the South Island of New Zealand lies the stunning Abel Tasman National Park. Named after the famous Dutch explorer Abel Tasman, the park is a haven for bushwalkers, hikers, and nature enthusiasts. With its rugged coastline, turquoise waters, and rich flora and fauna, this national park is a must-visit destination for anyone exploring the region.

One of the best ways to experience the park's beauty is by taking a bushwalk. With over 60 kilometers of trails to explore, the park offers a variety of walks suitable for all levels of fitness and experience. From short, easy strolls to challenging hikes, there is something for everyone in Abel Tasman.

One of the most popular walks in the park is the Abel Tasman Coast Track. This 60-kilometer track follows the coastline, offering breathtaking views of the turquoise waters and golden sand beaches that the park is famous for. The track can be completed in 3 to 5 days, with various campsites and lodges along the way for hikers to rest and refuel.

For a shorter walk, the Harwoods Hole Track is a great option. This 3.5-kilometer track takes hikers to the top of a collapsed sinkhole, which is over 175 meters deep. The views from the top are simply stunning, and the track is suitable for all ages and fitness levels.

Another popular walk in the park is the Pitt Head Loop Track. This 2.5-kilometer loop takes hikers through lush forests and over creeks and is an ideal option for families with young children. The highlight of the walk is the panoramic views from the viewpoint at the end of the track, which looks out over Tasman Bay and the surrounding hills.

No matter which walk you choose, you are sure to be amazed by the natural beauty of the Abel Tasman National Park. Before setting off on any walk, be sure to check the weather forecast and prepare accordingly. Bring plenty of food and water, wear comfortable shoes and clothing, and make sure to carry a map and a first-aid kit.

In conclusion, the Abel Tasman National Park is a stunning destination for bushwalkers and hikers. With its breathtaking scenery, rich flora and fauna, and a variety of walks suitable for all levels of fitness, it is a must-visit destination for anyone exploring Nelson and the surrounding regions. So, gather your hiking boots, grab a map, and go discover the natural wonders of Abel Tasman National Park.


Visit the World of WearableArt & Classic Cars Museum

Source: www.lonelyplanet.com

If you're ever in Nelson and looking for a unique experience, you won't want to miss the World of WearableArt & Classic Cars Museum. This fascinating museum is home to two very different but equally impressive collections.

First up, the World of WearableArt (WOW) exhibition. Founded in Nelson in 1987, WOW is an international design competition that challenges artists to create wearable art pieces that push the boundaries of fashion and design. The winning designs are showcased in a spectacular runway show that's part fashion show, part art exhibit. The museum houses a rotating collection of WOW pieces, so you can expect to see something new each time you visit.

The Classic Cars Museum, on the other hand, is a celebration of all things automotive. Nelson businessman Tom Sturgess founded the museum in 2000 and it has since become one of the most extensive collections of classic cars in New Zealand. You'll find a range of beautifully restored vehicles, including vintage cars, hot rods, muscle cars, and even a few motorcycles. Each specimen is lovingly cared for and displayed in a way that highlights its unique features.

But what makes the World of WearableArt & Classic Cars Museum truly special is the way the two collections are intertwined. The building itself is an industrial space that was once used to manufacture car parts. Today, the WOW exhibition is housed in the same space, with stunning wearable art pieces displayed alongside classic cars. The juxtaposition is striking and makes for a truly unique museum experience.

In addition to the main exhibits, there's also a hands-on area where visitors can try on some WOW pieces and take a closer look at some of the classic cars. There's also a gift shop where you can pick up a souvenir, as well as a café if you need a break.

Overall, the World of WearableArt & Classic Cars Museum is a must-visit for anyone in Nelson, even if you're not a die-hard fan of fashion or cars. The museum's unique combination of collections and its beautiful setting make for a truly unforgettable experience.

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Enjoy a wine tour in the local vineyards

Source: www.nzwine.com

When it comes to wine, there are few places in the world that rivals the Nelson region in New Zealand. This beautiful region on the northern tip of the South Island boasts some of the finest vineyards and wineries in the country, making it an ideal destination for wine enthusiasts looking for a memorable experience.

One of the best ways to explore the region's wine culture is by embarking on a wine tour. There are several local tour operators who offer guided tours of the area's vineyards, where visitors can enjoy tastings, learn about the winemaking process, and enjoy the stunning scenery.

There are many vineyards to choose from, each with its unique character and charm. One of the most popular destinations is the Neudorf Vineyards, a family-owned winery that has been producing some of the region's most exceptional wines for over four decades. Their vineyards are nestled in the lush green hillsides, offering visitors spectacular views and a tranquil ambiance.

Another favorite destination is the Brightwater Vineyards, a boutique winery that specializes in producing premium wines using traditional techniques. Their cellar door is open seven days a week, and visitors can enjoy tastings of their award-winning wines in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

For those who prefer a more intimate experience, there are several small-scale wineries that offer personalized tours and tastings. The Richmond Plains Winery, for example, is a certified organic vineyard that produces a range of delicious wines using sustainable methods. Visitors can enjoy a guided walk through the vineyards and a tasting of their unique range of wines.

No matter which vineyard you choose to visit, the Nelson region is sure to impress with its stunning natural beauty and exceptional wines. Whether you're a wine connoisseur or simply looking to learn more about the art of winemaking, a wine tour in this region is an excellent way to explore the local wine culture and create lasting memories.


Go horseback riding on Cable Bay Beach

Source: funstacker.com

Nelson, New Zealand is a beautiful region that offers a wide range of activities for visitors to enjoy. One of the most exciting and unique experiences you can have in Nelson is to go horseback riding on Cable Bay Beach.

Cable Bay Beach is a stunning location, featuring crystal-clear waters and expansive sandy shores. The beach stretches for as far as the eye can see, making it the perfect place for a leisurely horseback ride. You can take a guided tour along the beach and enjoy the breathtaking views of Delaware Bay and the stunning coastline.

If you are a lover of horses, then you are sure to enjoy this experience. Cable Bay Beach is home to well-trained horses, and the guided tours are led by experienced riders who will ensure your safety throughout the ride. You will also receive instructions on how to ride the horses, making it a perfect activity for both beginners and experienced riders.

The tour usually lasts for about two hours, but you can customize it to suit your preference. For instance, you can request a shorter or longer tour depending on your schedule. The guides will also provide you with background information about the history of Cable Bay Beach, along with various points of interest along the way.

One of the best things about horseback riding on Cable Bay Beach is the freedom to explore this beautiful region at your own pace. Unlike motorized vehicles, horses are quiet and do not produce any emissions, so you can enjoy the beauty of the area without harming the environment. Additionally, the gentle rhythm of the horse's gait is known to have a calming effect on riders, which makes this activity an excellent option for those who want to relax and unwind.

In conclusion, if you are looking for a unique and tranquil experience in Nelson, New Zealand, then you should definitely try horseback riding on Cable Bay Beach. With experienced guides, well-trained horses, and stunning scenery, you are sure to have an unforgettable time. So, saddle up and enjoy the beauty of this magnificent region!

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Visit the Nelson Provincial Museum

Source: www.isarchitects.nz
Characteristic Description
NameThe Nelson Provincial Museum
TypeMuseum in Nelson, New Zealand
WebsiteGo to website
Rating / Review count4.4 / 626
AddressCnr Trafalgar St and Hardy Street, Nelson 7040, New Zealand
Phone+64 3 548 9588
HoursWednesday - 10 AM–5 PM
Thursday - 10 AM–5 PM
Friday - 10 AM–5 PM
Saturday - 10 AM–4:30 PM
Sunday - 10 AM–4:30 PM
Monday - 10 AM–5 PM
Tuesday - 10 AM–5 PM

If you're planning a trip to Nelson, New Zealand, one of the most interesting attractions you can visit is the Nelson Provincial Museum. Established in 1842, this museum is dedicated to the history of Nelson and the surrounding area, with a collection that includes more than 60,000 objects and artifacts.

The Nelson Provincial Museum is located in the heart of Nelson, in a building that was originally constructed in 1888. The building itself is worth a visit, with its beautiful historic architecture and ornate detailing. Inside, you'll find a wealth of exhibits and displays that offer a fascinating look into the history of Nelson, from its early Maori inhabitants to the European settlers who arrived in the 19th century.

One of the highlights of the museum is the World War One memorial gallery, which includes a comprehensive display of artifacts and information about New Zealand's involvement in the Great War. There is also a section of the museum dedicated to the region's Maori history, which includes a large collection of taonga (traditional Maori artifacts) and information about the local iwi (tribes).

Other exhibits explore the region's natural and cultural history, with displays on topics like geology, botany, and industry. There is even a recreated Victorian street scene, complete with authentic shopfronts and furnishings.

In addition to the permanent exhibits, the Nelson Provincial Museum also hosts temporary exhibitions throughout the year. These exhibits are always well-curated and thought-provoking, and are a great way to learn more about specific topics in Nelson's history.

Overall, the Nelson Provincial Museum is a must-visit attraction for anyone interested in the history and culture of Nelson, New Zealand. It's a fascinating and engaging museum that will appeal to visitors of all ages and interests, and is sure to leave you with a newfound appreciation for this beautiful region of the world.


Relax on Tahunanui Beach

Source: theculturetrip.com

If you're looking for a truly relaxing beach experience in New Zealand, Tahunanui Beach in Nelson is the perfect destination for you. This popular beach is located right in the heart of the city, making it easily accessible and convenient for locals and tourists alike. With its clear blue waters and soft sand, Tahunanui Beach is a great place to enjoy some downtime and soak up the sun.

One of the best things about Tahunanui Beach is that it's a family-friendly destination. The beach is patrolled by lifeguards during the summer months, so you can rest assured that your family will be safe as they enjoy the water. Additionally, there are plenty of amenities nearby, including public toilets, picnic tables, and BBQ areas. This means you can easily spend a whole day at the beach without having to worry about anything.

If you're looking for activities to keep you busy, Tahunanui Beach has plenty to offer. There are several beachside cafes and restaurants in the area, so you can grab a bite to eat and relax with a cold drink while enjoying the sunshine. You can also rent paddleboards or kayaks to explore the waters, or take part in a game of beach volleyball with your friends.

If you're looking for a more peaceful experience, Tahunanui Beach is still a great choice. Simply lay out your towel and enjoy the sound of the waves crashing on the shore. Take a swim in the ocean or go for a leisurely stroll along the beach, taking in the stunning views of the mountains in the background.

In conclusion, if you're looking for a relaxing beach experience in New Zealand, Tahunanui Beach in Nelson is the perfect destination for you. With its family-friendly atmosphere, convenient amenities, and plenty of activities for all ages, it's no wonder that this beach is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. So pack your sunscreen and head on down to Tahunanui Beach for your next relaxing getaway.

Frequently asked questions

Nelson is surrounded by stunning natural landscapes, making it an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Popular activities include hiking, biking, skiing, snowboarding, paddleboarding, kayaking, and fishing.

Nelson has a vibrant arts and culture scene. Some popular attractions include the Nelson and District Museum and Archives, the Capitol Theatre, the Touchstones Nelson Museum of Art and History, and the Oxygen Art Centre.

Downtown Nelson is a charming and picturesque area with plenty of unique shops, restaurants, and historic buildings. Must-visit spots include Baker Street, the Nelson Courthouse, the Prestige Lakeside Resort, and Lakeside Park.

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Sharon Leach

I recently visited Nelson and had an amazing time exploring the beautiful region. One of the top things to do in Nelson is visiting the Abel Tasman National Park. The stunning beaches and crystal clear waters are perfect for a day of kayaking or simply relaxing on the sand. Another highlight for me was exploring the vibrant local arts scene in Nelson. The city is home to numerous art galleries and studios, showcasing the talent of local artists. With its breathtaking natural beauty and thriving arts culture, Nelson is definitely a must-visit destination!
Thank you so much for your comment! I'm thrilled to hear that you had an amazing time exploring Nelson. Abel Tasman National Park really is a gem, with its stunning beaches and crystal clear waters, it's a perfect place to relax or venture out on a kayaking adventure. The vibrant arts scene in Nelson is truly something special, and it's wonderful to hear that you enjoyed exploring the local art galleries and studios. Nelson really is a must-visit destination, with its breathtaking natural beauty and thriving arts culture. I hope you have the chance to visit again soon!

Qasim Olson

Nelson is a true hidden gem in New Zealand and there are so many amazing things to do in this picturesque city. One of my favorite activities was visiting the Nelson Saturday Market. It's a vibrant and lively market where you can find fresh produce, delicious street food, and unique handmade crafts. I also highly recommend taking a scenic bike ride along the Great Taste Trail. The trail offers a picturesque route through wineries, orchards, and stunning coastal scenery. The views are absolutely breathtaking and it's a great way to explore the region. Nelson truly has something for everyone, whether you're a nature lover, foodie, or art enthusiast.
Thank you so much for sharing your experience in Nelson! I absolutely agree with you that Nelson is indeed a hidden gem in New Zealand. The Nelson Saturday Market sounds like a delightful place to visit with all its vibrant energy and diverse offerings. I will definitely make it a point to explore the market and indulge in some delicious street food and unique crafts. The scenic bike ride along the Great Taste Trail also sounds breathtaking. I can imagine the thrill of cycling through wineries, orchards, and coastal scenery. Nelson seems to be a city that caters to all interests, and I can't wait to immerse myself in its natural beauty, gourmet delights, and captivating art scene.

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