Tucked right into the very top of New Zealand’s South Island, Nelson is easy to miss. Yet, it would be foolish to do so; overlooking Nelson would be overlooking a fabulous town with friendly people, gorgeous scenery and no shortage of superlative food and wine. The city has long held a magnetic pull for creatives of all types: it's known for artisanal craft shops and diverse art galleries. In fact, with one of the largest numbers of working artists and galleries in the country, you’ll find an array of talented craftspeople living in the region; from traditional, to contemporary to Māori.
Not only is Nelson one of the sunniest cities in New Zealand, but it is the oldest on the South Island (and second oldest in the country). The land was bought in 1840 by the British for £800, with the intention of providing a place to live to settlers. By 1843 almost 2,000 adults had relocated to the province, yet lack of funds thwarted their dreams of becoming landowners.
Thus Nelson has been largely left alone by industry. Population has swelled in recent years due to the town’s stunning natural landscapes, but this is a place for young families and lovers of the Great Outdoors. Set on the Able Tasman Coast Track, and on the border of the Nelson Lakes National Park, there is much to your eyes – and legs! – occupied. Kayak alongside dolphins, penguins and seals in the Tonga Island Marine Reserve, bathe in the crystal waters of the Kahurangi National Park or a low tide beach walk – or ride – in Wharariki.