Your hosts : Richard & Lisa
New Zealand's sunniest city is scenic, vibrant, artistic and a popular holiday destination.
Nelson is set on the Tasman Bay, on the northern shores of New Zealand's South Island. It is an attractive, lively city with an artistic slant in particular for pottery and ceramics. It is also a busy port, home to New Zealand's largest fishing fleet. The shelter provided to the west by the mountains of the Kahurangi National Park contributes to the city's excellent climate.
Named after the British Admiral Viscount Horatio Nelson, the city was planned in London and many of its place names reflect its English beginnings, such as Trafalgar Square and Shakespeare Walk. The first settlers arrived in 1842 and after rocky beginnings the city became the capital of the region. Several historic buildings remain, such as Melrose House, Fairfield House and the workers' cottages of South Street.
Nelson's centre is compact and has an array of shops, cafes, bars and restaurants, all within easy walking distance. There are a number of art and craft galleries, such as the excellent Suter Art Gallery. The globally acclaimed Wearable Art Awards originate from Nelson; The city's World of Wearable Art complex is a permanent museum of previous winners. The city also has several pleasant parks and gardens including the Botanic Reserve, home to the 'Centre of New Zealand'. A marked lookout in the reserve is New Zealand's geographic centre. The lookout offers excellent views of the city and the surrounding area.
A short drive or bus ride from the centre is the seaside suburb of Tahunanui. It has a long golden beach, a fun park, zoo and plenty of accommodation, making this a popular spot for visitors to the city.
The surrounding region is a fertile area with an abundance of orchards and a smattering of wineries and breweries. Within an hour's drive is Marahau, gateway to the outstanding coastal beauty and golden beaches of the Abel Tasman National Park. The scenic Nelson Lakes National Park is to the south of the region. Its picturesque alpine lakes and mountains offer water activities, walking tracks and huts, and in the winter months, skiing.