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Located in the North of New Zealand’s South Island, Nelson is set in an archetypal New Zealand setting of rural sheep-strewn fields, hops vines and vine yards stretching towards rugged alpine mountains. Nelson is ordered and surprisingly interesting, providing a good launching point to Abel Tasman park and the incredible Marlborough sound.
The Nelson area is an extraordinary corner of New Zealand, a beautiful region between sweeping beaches and the northern edge of the Southern Alps. And the communities hugging the greater Nelson area have bloomed on rich land in a Mediterranean climate with their own distinct flavors.
Nearby are three national parks, all within a 90 minute drive of each other- Abel Tasman (coastal), Nelson Lakes (alpine) and Kahurangi (wilderness) - each offer totally different experiences and great trekking trails.
Abel Tasman national park was became New Zealand’s first national park in 1947, exactly 300 years after Tasman became the first Europen to land on these islands. With its convoluted, forsted, coastline and pretty bays and inlets, the park is one of the sunniest areas in New Zealand and attracts the locals to the pretty seaside town of Kaiteriteri. Walking and kayaking are popular here. Further north is the beautiful Golden Bay, where more permannent communities of ‘new agers’ have made their home.
The Marlborough sound, to the Northeast of Nelson is one of New Zealand’s most spectacular coastal areas, impossibly contorted and best explored by boat. Many get to appreciate the scenery for the ferries that ply the Cook strait between Wellington and Picton.
Christchurch is the main international gateway to the South Island, with flights to Australia, and a limited number of other countries. Buses run regularly to Nelson (5 hours), alternatively, Picton is only a 90 minute drive away, from where you can catch regualar ferries to Wellington on the North Island.
The major suburbs in Nelson are: Beachville, Britannia Heights, Brooklands, Moana, Port Nelson, Stepneyville, The Brook, The Wood, Toi Toi and Washington Valley.