Known as a vibrant and welcoming city, Nelson is (quite literally) at the heart of the country. It’s accessible, highly connected to other main centres, and is the place many New Zealanders choose for their getaways, and who can blame them?

The place is abuzz as a dining and entertainment destination all year round, with alfresco dining on cobblestone streets and wonderful waterfront restaurants, complemented by MarchFest in Autumn, Moveable Feasts in Winter and the Cider Festival in Spring. More recently, pop up markets and quirky side street fare has become a feature of the central city with a microbrewery on New Street and market stalls at Kirby Lane.

The city is an incubator for some of New Zealand’s most successful and most-loved businesses and products, and the contemporary creative energy of some of these businesses are showcased at Nelson’s weekly Saturday Market. The market has been operating for 40 years and is a ‘must do’ activity for visitors and locals. It’s a wonderful way to get a taste of the work of local fashion designers, artisan producers and the surprisingly diverse people who make up our community. 

We’re proud of our legacy of artistic endeavours. In fact, Nelson has more working artists and galleries than most other places in New Zealand and is home to three of New Zealand’s cultural treasures – the Suter Art Gallery, the Theatre Royal and the Nelson Centre for Musical Arts. 

Right on the city’s doorstep are some of the most stunning and most frequently photographed natural landscapes in the country. It’s hard to beat the view of the city and Tasman Bay from the top of the Centre of New Zealand or the sight of snow-capped hills from Tahunanui Beach on a crisp, sunny winter morning. And, if it’s outdoor adventures you’re looking for, Nelson fits the bill. Just minutes from the city is the Dun Mountain Trail, so it’s entirely possible to be hurtling down a hillside one minute, and enjoying a latte at a riverside café the next.

Stretching from the City’s borders out towards the stunning mountain ranges that form the backdrop to Tasman Bay, Tahunanui Beach is well-loved by Nelsonians and visitors alike. The bay is a hub for watersports, and no matter the time of year, you’ll find paddleboarders, kite surfers, sailors, and kayakers venturing out into the picturesque horizon as families enjoying fish and chips on the beach watch on inquisitively. Plus, set behind the sand dunes is every child’s dream come true, with playgrounds, bumper boats, trampolines, go karts, a skating rink, a zoo, and even a hydro slide, all within walking distance.