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Top Things to Do in Nelson NZ – Activities & Attractions

There are so many unique attractions in Nelson. A beautiful city with a superb climate, many of the best things to do in Nelson are conveniently accessible from your accommodation at Palazzo. Known as the Sunshine Capital of New Zealand, Nelson is our happy place! It's a boating, walking, eating (and drinking), music and art lovers’ paradise. Here are some of the most popular things to do and see on your next visit to Nelson city and surrounds. 

A two minute stroll away you can be in the heart of the city. A hub of arts and culture, Nelson is home to specialist shops from hand-crafted jewellery and art glass to exclusive fashion stores and more. From the upbeat creative Saturday market to the World of Wearable Art and Classic Cars Museum or world class events such as the annual Nelson Arts Festival, there are many top cultural tourist attractions in Nelson. 'Sunny Nelson' also showcases the world renowned Saturday morning market, which features local art, food and crafts and is conveniently located just a two minute walk from our Nelson motel.

Nelson also has 11 craft breweries and 25 boutique wineries that are close to our Nelson motel. Some offer wine and craft brewery tours. And if you can't find something delicious to eat within a short radius, there's something wrong - from high tea at historic Melrose House to long lazy lunches overlooking the sea at Nelson's Boatshed Café. We also recommend exploring further afield of our motel accommodation in Nelson with great eating experiences at the excellent cafe’s and bars at Kaiteriteri and Marahau, and at the Mapua Wharf. 

But Nelson is not just about amazing wine and food. Some of the best things to do in Nelson include its stunning outdoor scenery - from fishing, diving and sea kayaking off the beautiful beaches to cycling the Great Taste Trail or checking out the mountains and lakes. For a wonderful day out, it’s hard to go past the Abel Tasman National Park Coast Track. One of the most favourite activities in Nelson, this magical coastal walk is popular with locals and tourists alike. 


Nelson Area

  • Wine & Craft Brewery tours
  • Nelson Cathedral & gardens
  • The ‘Centre of New Zealand’ walk
  • South Street (NZ’s oldest preserved heritage street)
  • Saturday Market
  • Hoglund Art Glass Centre
  • Happy Valley Adventures (4-wheel drives plus ‘Skywire’)
  • The Suter Art Museum
  • Founders Park
  • Stonehurst Farm Horse Treks
  • Wearable Art and Classic Car Museum
  • Tahunanui Beach
  • Rabbit Island recreation area

Mapua Wharf

  • Seafood & waterfront Restaurants
  • Marine attractions
  • Fishing
  • Jet boat rides
  • Art galleries

Abel Tasman National Park

  • Walks or sea kayaks or traditional Maori Waka
  • Diving, snorkelling and seal watching
  • Fishing, whitebaiting & shellfish gathering (in season)
  • Horse riding/beach trekking
  • Boating paradise
  • Excellent cafe’s at Kaiteriteri and Marahau
  • Arts & Crafts

Golden Bay

  • Unique Farewell Spit
  • The famous Pupu Springs (world’s clearest freshwater spring)
  • Glorious beaches
  • Lakes, estuary and rivers
  • Awaroa, Totaranui and Northern Abel Tasman access
  • Westhaven Inlet & marine reserve
  • Famous Arts & Crafts
  • Boutique pubs, restaurants and cafe’s
  • Historical gold mining & pioneer attractions
  • Gateway to the ‘Heaphy Track’

Nelson Lakes National Park

  • Rivers and lakes for fishing, boating, rafting and kayaking
  • The surrounding mountains offer bush walks, mountaineering, tramping
  • Quaint St Arnaud Alpine village
  • Rainbow Skiing area
  • Worldclass trout fishing rivers
  • Mount Robert Skiing area
  • Ice skating
  • Stunning alpine scenery areas
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