Nelson Region, New Zealand

Artists, sunshine and wine...

If it's sunshine, deep blue seas and golden sand beaches you're looking for, in a region surrounded by fertile soils, lush native forests, and inhabited by generations of green-fingered orchardists, market gardeners, vintners, craft people and artists, welcome to paradise.

Nestled into the Tasman Bay, on the top of New Zealand's South Island, the city of Nelson offers a lifestyle the envy of many in the entire country. Travel with us into the premier grape growing areas via Nelson's Port Hills which provide breathtaking views of Tasman Bay, ringed with blue mountain ranges.

Travel beside fragrant crops of hops, umbrellas of kiwifruit vines, rows of fruit laden apple trees, and an increasing numbers of olive groves to boutique vineyards in hidden valleys. There are always new places to discover.

It's thriving art's and culture scene, with over 350 artists and craftspeople, are supported by the Nelson Bays Arts Marketing Network, the Suter Art Gallery, The Ethnic Council and the Nelson Polytechnic with its many courses and multinational students. Local bands are also supported by the Nelson School of Music and several local pubs, such as the Victoria Rose near the foot of the cathedral steps that spills jazz and tables onto the footpath. This central area is littered with bubbling cafes, and there are several on the side streets too so it's well worth snooping around a bit.

Nelson - Our City

Nelson Cathedral, Church Steps

Isolation has played a major part in the development of the city and despite never having links with the national rail network, it's well served by road and domestic flight services. A naturally occurring 16km boulder bank shelters one of the busiest fishing and timber exporting ports in the country and this feature was well recognised during the 1840's colonisation period. Early Maori tribes prized the regions bountiful resources and fought fiercely for them. The English settlers were soon joined by German, Italian and Dutch settlers. With a current city population of 41,000 in a regional one approaching 80,000, its acquisition of city status was by royal charter in 1856 as the seat of an Anglican bishop.

Nelson Waterfront & Arrow Rock

Nelson's main street is dominated by a flight of steps that lead to the Christ Church Cathedral. Reflecting perhaps the overall financial constraints of the cities ongoing development, the cathedral took 47 years from the laying of the foundation stone to its consecration in 1972, with debates over original designs in the 1950's to eventual 1960's design modifications.

Nelson's port entry

The Mount Richmond Forest Park lies in steep hills to the east of town and it's possible to walk the Dun Mountain Walkway into a near wilderness area, just 5 hours from the centre of town up the Brook Valley.

A liberal haven of artists and craftsmen with high sunshine hours, sandy beaches, and access to sea, mountain and forest parks, make Nelson a unique and spectacular New Zealand destination for the enjoyment of all.

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Bay Tours can assist in making the most of your time in our special region of the world. Contact us for more details.

Like the nearby town of Motueka on Sunday, we have a thriving Nelson Market on Saturday morning, in the Montgomery Square carpark where folk trade art, craft, plants, international food and music, clothing and jewellery. The birth place of much local talent.

Nelson Saturday Market, Montgomery Square

Nelson - Our Winemakers

New Zealand offers a vast portfolio of wines with over 25 different varieties planted in commercial quantities.

Nelson Local Vineyards

Nelson is a fast growing wine region with 19 registered wineries, from the early and pioneering vineyards like Seifrieds and Waimea Estate to the boutique family run Moutere Hills Vineyard, to the global award winning winemaker Tim Finn of Neudorf Vineyard. It is an area of artists, artisans and very stylish wines.

Viticulture occupies scattered pockets with a range of horticultural activities on the alluvial loam soils of the Waimea Plains and in the folds and valleys of the beautiful hills throughout the district. Soil structure here changes to clay loams over hard clay subsoil.

Nelson Winery Tasting

The region is unusually sited on the western side of the country near the northern tip of the South Island. Mountains to the west of the region provide a rain shadow effect while coastline helps to moderate temperature extremes. Nelson winemakers specialise and excel in grape varieties that respond to cooler growing conditions. Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Pinot Noir account for over 80% of the region's vineyard area.