15 people found this article useful

15 Things to Do in Nelson City

BackpackerGuide.NZ

What to do in Nelson City.

In a city that is wedged between the magnificent vista of the Tasman Bay and a backdrop of the Tasman Mountains, there are plenty of things to do in Nelson City. The notoriously sunny weather in Nelson makes the activities here pretty much doable all year round. Whether you’re looking for an outdoors experience nearby the city, or looking for ways to have fun and relax, there are heaps of activities to experience in Nelson City.

If the ocean draws you, then relax on Tahunanui Beach or kayak around Nelson Haven to see historic lighthouses and unusual natural formations. More of a mountain person? There are walks that will surround you in gorgeous mountain scenery. Culture yourself at the many art galleries and museums. Between craft breweries and wineries, Nelson is also a place to treat your tastebuds.

So if you are looking for things to do in Nelson city, look no further!

Working Holiday Insurance

1. Visit Tahunanui Beach

Swim, walk or just relax at this popular beach just a 10-minute drive from the city centre. Tahunanui Beach is a huge beach, so there’s plenty to explore on foot and room for everyone. We recommend being there for sunset! If you fancy amping up your time in Tahunanui Beach, hire a stand-up paddle board, go go-karting or visit Natureland. Another popular way to get to Tahunanui Beach is by cycling down the Rock Road (Nelson’s waterfront).

Location: Tahunanui Beach, just off State Highway 6 when heading south.
BackpackerGuide.NZ

2. Kayak in Nelson Haven

Hire a kayak or jump on a ferry through Nelson Haven. Visit the unusual natural formation of Boulder Bank, a 13km stretch of rocky substrate, and check out lighthouse standing in the middle of it. Additionally, paddle to Haulashore Island to relax on the beach and watch the sunset.

Location: Nelson Haven, ferry and kayak services run from Wakefield Quay.
Pixabay

3. Get on your bike!

Or hire a bike, because it’s not likely that you’ll have your own bike if you are travelling around New Zealand… Whatever type of cycling experience you are looking for, Nelson will have it. Gently ride along the picturesque Rocks Road along the waterfront between Nelson and Tahunanui Beach, or tackle the adventurous Dun Mountain Bike Trail. For a whole list of biking options, check out Mountain Biking in Nelson Tasman.

Location: All around Nelson.
BackpackerGuide.NZ

4. Walk up to the Centre of New Zealand

Yes, that’s right! The Centre of New Zealand is right here in Nelson. It’s a typographer’s dream! Take the grueling climb from the Botanical Reserve through some forest until you reach the open hilltop with awesome views overlooking Nelson city and the inland mountains. The track itself only takes about 15 minutes one way to complete.

Location: Botanical Reserve, Hardy Street
BackpackerGuide.NZ

5. Check out the gardens and parks

Nelson has no lack of green spaces to explore or simple kick back and relax in. The Queen’s Gardens are full of quaint footbridges, water features, sculptures and flower gardens. Additionally, there are the Miyazu Japanese Gardens named after Nelson’s sister city in Japan. They are a great place for an interesting and peaceful walk.

Location: The Queen’s Gardens are off Bridge Street. The Miyazu Japanese Gardens are on Atawhai Drive.
BackpackerGuide.NZ

6. Visit the museums

Along with gardens, Nelson also has its fair share of museums. There is The Nelson Provincial Museum to discover the history of the region and find out what makes Nelson tick! The World or Wearable Art & Classic Cars Museum is perfect for those who love art, whether it’s in the form of attire or cars from the past. Finally, for a museum like no other, check out Founders Heritage Park. This mini pioneer village gives an insight into New Zealand during its early European settler days.

Location: The Nelson Provincial Museum in on the corners of Trafalgar and Hardy Street. The World of Wearable Art & Classic Cars Museum is on 1 Cadillac Way. Founders Park is on 87 Atawhai Drive.
BackpackerGuide.NZ

7. See native birds at the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary

For a true wildlife experience and a chance to encounter New Zealand’s native birds, visit the protected bird haven of The Brook Waimarama Sanctuary. A predator-proof fence around this area of native bush helps the birds thrive in their natural environment. See bellbirds, fantails, kiwi, blue duck, New Zealand robins, as well as native reptiles and bats. If you like wildlife, you might also like our 10 Things You Did Not Know About New Zealand Wildlife.

Location:
BackpackerGuide.NZ

8. Check out Nelson’s quirky landmarks and stores

A walk around the city centre of Nelson is an experience in itself. Once you have checked out the Christ Church Cathedral in Trafalgar Square and the Clock Tower on 110 Trafalgar Street, start visiting some of the cool and quirky stores. The Bead Gallery on 153 Hardy Street is always a treat with a huge colourful array of beads on display. The Lords of the Rings fans should get themselves over to Jens Hansen – The Ringmaker (corner of Church Street and Selwyn Place) to see some of the original One Rings made for the movies. The store attendant is usually happy to tell you more about the making of the rings, if you ask. For more Middle-earth actions, check out 23 Lord of the Rings Locations You Can’t Miss in New Zealand.

Location: Nelson city centre
BackpackerGuide.NZ

9. Experience the art galleries

Art galleries are scattered across the Nelson region, but a good place to start is with the regional art museum, Suter Te Aratoi o Whakatu (208 Bridge Street), otherwise known as The Suter, has a wealth of exhibitions from local artists to the world beyond. Venture to the suburb of Richmond (about 10 minutes drive) and you’ll find about eight different galleries in close proximity. For more information, check out 11 Nelson Art Galleries That Will Inspire You.

Location: Nelson city centre and Richmond.
Schwede66

10. Do the Cable Bay Walkway

If you’re willing to venture a little out of the city (about 11 minutes drive), there is a spectacular walk to be experienced between Glenduan and Cable Bay. The walk take about 3h30min one way, or you can return the same way for a full-day adventure. Alternatively, cut the walk short by starting from Cable Bay and just getting some awesome views from the first hill  (1hour return) or get to the edge of some wonderful forest (2 hours return). Enjoy awesome coastal views along the way as you walk high over farmland looking across the coast. What’s more, if you have your own snorkelling gear, we recommend snorkelling at Ataata Point, which is part of the Horoirangi Marine Reserve. Be aware that the Cable Bay Walkway is usually close for lambing season (1 August – 10 October).

Location: You can start the walk from either Cable Bay, 21km out of Nelson on State Highway 6, or Glenduan Bay, 12km out of Nelson on State Highway 6.
Pseudopanax

11. Go on a craft beer trail

There’s no better place to taste craft beer than New Zealand’s craft brewing capital! (Ok, so other towns and cities in New Zealand may disagree, as craft beer is kind of a big thing here, but Nelson does have a significant amount of craft breweries). To start with, there’s the Founders Brewery in Nelson (Atawhai Drive), but as you travel down the coast, you have the chance to check out around 10 different craft beer breweries!

Location: Nelson and beyond.
BackpackerGuide.NZ

12. Taste your way through Nelson’s wine region

The Nelson region is home to about 25 cellar doors. Although these cellar doors are not in the city centre itself, it’s just a short drive to the start of Nelson’s wine-making region. Richmond is home to nine wineries. A mix of organic, award-winning and historic wines are waiting to be discovered among the vines. Find out more in 23 Nelson Wineries on the Nelson Wine Trail.

Location: Richmond
Pexels

13. Go to the Nelson Market and Monty’s Sunday Market

Mingle with the locals and pick up some bargains at the Nelson Market and Monty’s Sunday Market. Savour the delicious flavours of local produce among the vibrant atmosphere of a classic Kiwi market. The markets occur every Saturday and Sunday from 8am to 1pm.

Location: Montgomery Square.
BackpackerGuide.NZ

14. Have a foodie experience

Nelson is home to many eateries and culinary experiences. Apart from craft beer and wineries, the restaurants and cafes are a great way to treat yourself even on a budget. We put together a guide of Cheap Eats in Nelson for you to treat your taste buds while saving on the cents.

Location: Nelson City Centre.
Pexels

15. Walk the dun mountain

For a quick and active city escape, we recommend the Dun Mountain. Not only can the mountain be ridden by bike (see Mountain Biking in Nelson Tasman), the mountains trails are a great way to explore on foot. The Dun Mountain walk is a well-graded track through the hills that form Nelson’s backdrop. The 3-hour return walk also takes your through native and pine forest.

Location: Brook Street
Schwede66

New Zealand's Biggest Gap Year on YouTube
Was this article useful? Useful Useless
Nomads Hostels
Pexels
Budget

7 Discount Cards for Backpackers in New Zealand

Discount cards for travelling in New Zealand. As a backpacker, budget is [...]

http://www.campervanhirenewzealand.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/campervan-hire-nz-428x235.jpg
Camping Tips & Information

Self-Contained Campervans in New Zealand

Renting a self-contained campervan. Camp wherever the hell you want in a [...]

http://imgur.com/eJoT67i
North Island

10 Wellington Must-Dos

What does the “coolest little capital” have to offer? Buzzing with life [...]

North Island Cities

Public Transport in Palmerston North

How to get around Palmerston North Getting around Palmerston North is cheap [...]

Search
Popular searches: Budget, Free, Jobs, Travel Tips, Rotorua
Base Hostels
Hot on Backpacker Guide
Water Activities
Cecilia Lindqvist

11 Stunning Sights Seen From a Milford Sound Cruise

Milford Sound’s natural attractions! Drift through one of the stupidly scenic locations, […]

North Island Cities
http://imgur.com/IO1cFaP

Tauranga and Mt Maunganui – Guide for Backpackers

A Kiwi holiday hotspot! When Kiwis are looking for a holiday escape […]

Wildlife
http://www.inspiringwallpapers.net/Home/DownloadOriginalWallpaper/10803

Where to See Kiwi Birds in New Zealand

See a real life kiwi! Considering kiwis are New Zealand’s national icon, […]

We're on youtube!
Join us on YouTube!

This year we spend 365 DAYS tackling 365 ACTIVITIES all across New Zealand and posting new videos every day!

Watch the adventure!