Attractions In Nelson

Situated on the idyllic eastern shores of Tasman Bay, Nelson is the second-oldest settled city in New Zealand. A dynamic hub of arts and culture, Nelson annually hosts the Nelson Arts Festival, an extravaganza of music, comedy, dance, and theater, and is the home of the Wearable Art Awards, an international fashion event where designers enter wearable works of art. And if visitors aren’t artistically inclined, there’s a wealth of charming gardens to amble in, markets to peruse and breweries to enjoy. Here’s our guide to the 10 best things to see and experience in the region

Mapua Nelson


Just 10 minutes from Richmond, the charming seaside villages of Mapua & Ruby Bay are increasingly becoming favourite holiday spots for tourists and locals alike. With a lively cluster of restaurants, art galleries, wine bars and a craft brewery, Mapua is the perfect place to relax and unwind for a long weekend away.

Hire a bike and cycle Tasman's Great Taste Trail, which stretches from central Nelson through to Motueka. Just offshore, Rabbit Island offers a treat for mountain bikers with a network of trails just waiting to be explored. A little ferry departs Mapua Wharf regularly for the Island, with room for passengers and their bikes.

Tahunanui Beach

Tahunanui Beach is the main beach in the city of Nelson, New Zealand. It lies on the shore of Tasman Bay on the northern edge of a peninsula which stretches west from the suburb of Tahunanui. The beach is notable for its long shallow slope, and for this reason is extremely popular with local swimmers, as the water is generally calm and warmed by the sun.

Tahunanui Beach

Abel Tasman Coastal Track


One of New Zealand’s Great Walks, this track is the perfect way to explore the unmatchable beauty of the Abel Tasman National Park. Because of its easy accessiblity for boats, you have the option to walk a portion of the trail for a day or the entire length over 3-5 days. Or, if you would prefer paddle power, take a kayak tour. The walk is not a circuit track, so some form of transport needs to be organised at either end. Shuttles and water taxis are easy to book in advance.

Nelson Market

Every Saturday in Montgomery Square, Nelson Market comes alive with enthusiastic vendors and visitors. From fresh, tasty produce to handmade crafts, the market has a stall for everything, each with its own expert stall holder eager to share their passion for their products. Established for more than 30 years now, the event is a much-loved opportunity for people to socialize and enjoy a creative, uplifting atmosphere – it’s even had a royal visit from Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

World of WearableArt & Classic Cars Museum

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Since its opening in 2001, the World of WearableArt & Classic Cars Museum has been a popular tourist attraction in Nelson, New Zealand, showcasing an array of vintage vehicles and a plethora of artwork that has been designed to be worn. The WearableArt gallery is home to 60 World of WearableArt garments, including extravagant headwear, flamboyant masks and colorful costumes, many of which are award-winning pieces. The car collection is spectacular, an exhibit of classic automobiles in mint condition, including shiny Cadillac Coupe de Villes and Pierce-Arrow sedans. The World of WearableArt & Classic Cars Museum is a gem unique to Nelson, and a must-see when in the area.

Harwoods Hole Track

For all the daredevils visiting Nelson, Harwoods Hole Walk is an adventure well worth experiencing, a trek that takes participants through the depths of a mystical beech forest, over boulders and limestone rocks and through stunning scenery, before its culmination at a giant, echoing sinkhole. This is an arresting sight, a natural hole measuring 176 meters deep, making it New Zealand’s deepest vertical shaft. The sinkhole drops to an underground river that flows into Gorge Creek, before continuing into the Takaka river. This is a popular site among cavers, and if you’re lucky you might even get to see a group descending down the rockface. There are no barriers around this natural landscape, so make sure to be careful as you approach the hole.


Vortex Wind Karting

Permanently closed at the moment

Vortex Wind Karting offers exciting adventures for visitors of all ages. Come here to learn how to sail a blokart, a three-wheeled land kart, which uses a sail to catch the wind and propel excited drivers along the ground. The blokart is controlled easily by hand, and can be smoothly navigated with relatively little skill. Before starting any journey Vortex Wind Karting provide a full, detailed safety tutorial, so even if the word blokart has only just been added to your vocabulary, you’re sure to master the art of wind karting in no time at all.


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Queen Street Studios
294 Queen Street, Richmond Nelson,
South Island, New Zealand

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