Nelson and the Surrounding Area
Here in the top of the South Island, you’ll discover a place that has something to offer everyone. Whether you are here for adventure, the outdoors, exploring the stunning natural landscapes – it’s all on offer. Relax on the best beaches in New Zealand, or discover the culture and arts scene for which Nelson is famous. Soak up the best food and wine on offer – Nelson offers it all, within a stone’s throw from our doorstep.
If you come our way in search of adventure, there are tons on offer. With three National Parks at the top of the South Island, there are plenty of walks, mountain bike tracks, and stunning sights to see. The popular Abel Tasman National Park entices visitors with its clear, sheltered coastline, turquoise waters, and Tonga Island Marine Reserve. The diverse landscape of the huge Kahurangi National Park, to the west of the region, offers remote adventure in an unspoiled environment. This includes one of New Zealand’s ‘Great Walks’, the Heaphy Track. Nelson Lakes National Park to the south offers an alpine landscape with majestic mountains and lakeside walks. The famous Rotomairewhenua / Blue Lake is a small lake in the northern reaches of New Zealand’s Southern Alps. Sacred to local Māori, it has the clearest natural fresh water in the world.
Access to all of the national parks is within a 90-minute drive from Nelson City. Alternatively, you can opt for a scenic helicopter flight and view the amazing landscape from the air. Luckily for us, we have the Grampians five minutes from our doorstep!
Nelson Tasman is one of the few places in New Zealand where you’ll find good temperatures all year round for water-based activities. The sea here is, of course, warmer in summer, but calmer and more predictable during winter, autumn, and spring. From Cable Bay to Tahunanui Beach, to Kaiteriteri Beach, and over the Takaka Hill to Golden Bay, there are plenty of options if you love to be on or near the water.
If swimming in the sea isn’t your thing, there are some amazing swimming spots abound in Nelson Tasman, from the Lee and Aniseed Valleys to the Motueka River and the saltwater baths.
Whether it’s Kayaking, Paddleboarding, Boogie boarding, kitesurfing, swimming, or surfing you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to locations.
Culture & Arts Scene
Nelson is well known for ground-breaking artists and artisans that thrive amongst our community. The community markets in both Nelson and Motueka showcase their wonderful talents. Grab a bike and follow the art trails to visit local artists in their studios.
The artistic essence of our region is also celebrated through a vibrant, year-round programme of activity. Some highlights of the Nelson Tasman event calendar include the bi-annual Light Nelson Festival, Arts Festival, Art Expo, Fringe Festival, Adam Chamber Music Festival, Ceol Aneas Irish Music Festival and the Buskers Festival, which attract visitors from near and far to experience the region in all of its artistic splendour.
The region is also home to three of New Zealand’s oldest and most cherished cultural centres – the Nelson Centre of Musical Arts (formerly the Nelson School of Music), the Theatre Royal and The Suter Art Gallery. These centres attract visitors from all over New Zealand and the world. Within their walls, you will see some of the greatest performances imaginable, from the largest chamber music festival in the country to comedy, theatre and talks, contemporary music, opera, as well as modern and traditional art spanning more than 200 years.
Food & Wine
Benefiting from a sunny, maritime climate, the picturesque valley vineyards of Nelson Tasman yield some of New Zealand’s most freshly scented, intensely flavoured sauvignon blanc, chardonnay and pinot noir. Winery tours and cellar door experiences are a great way to savour the extraordinary wines created from both the rolling hills and the picturesque plains of the region.
Award-winning restaurants and cafes are dotted around the region, many of which love showcasing seasonal, regional produce on their menus. Offering everything from fine dining on the waterfront, to traditional Kiwi style comfort food in the heart of the city, to simple sharing platters served alongside outdoor entertainment, Nelson Tasman is the perfect destination for foodie lovers, all year round.
We will be happy to share with you our favourite places to make sure you savour the best our area has to offer while you are here. Look out for these in the Welcome booklet in your room.
Pihopa Retreat lends itself perfectly as a location for whatever special event you want to celebrate. With its historic chapel, stunning park-like grounds, and luxury accommodation, we can help you create your perfect and unique event.
Pihopa Retreat lends itself perfectly as a location for whatever special event you want to celebrate. With its historic chapel, stunning park-like grounds and luxury accommodation, we can help you create your perfect and unique event.