Nelson A pocket of paradise in the top northwest corner of the South Island, Nelson has a positive, creative attitude to life - and it's easy to see why.
The region, which is the sunniest in New Zealand, has for many years attracted residents who love to use their imaginations. There are more than 350 working artists and craftspeople living in Nelson, including traditional and contemporary Maori artists. Their work is often inspired by the region's exceptionally beautiful geography - coastal, forest and valley landscapes provide places to wander and dream.
There are wineries scattered around the Moutere Hills and the Waimea Plains. In the city, you'll find a good selection of restaurants - some with huge views of Tasman Bay.
The Nelson area is known by the Maori as Te Tau Ihu o Te Waka a Maui (the tip of the nose of the canoe of Maui). From his waka, the demi-god Maui used his magic fish hook to catch and land the North Island (Te Ika a Maui - the fish of Maui).
Activities include skydiving, rock climbing, 4WD biking, horse treks, sailing charters and water fun at the excellent beaches.
Approx Population 52,300
Sea Kayaking Abel Tasman National Park; NZ's most popular sea kayaking destination Over 50 kilometers of coastline offers dozens of golden sand beaches to visit. Sea kayaking here also opens up a world of sea and bird life encounters with animals such as penguins, seals and dolphins.
Catch a bus to Nelson from $1 (+booking fee) with InterCity Coachlines