The Northern Center of the South Island

The Nelson and Westland districts comprise the north and entire west of New Zealand's South Island. The region is geographically isolated from the rest of New Zealand. Nelson, Westport, Greymouth and Hokitika are the major towns with a good range of accommodation and services.

The region provides access to six national parks and wilderness areas. As such much of the recreation is centered around outdoor activities including trekking, climbing, caving, swimming, kayaking, hiking fishing and hunting. While there are cinema's and TV, evening entertainment often centers around the local bars, or you create your own.

Nelson is a great destination for tourists. At the top of the South Island, it is nestled between the hills, bathed in sunshine, with access to lush national parks and amazing beaches. Nelson is regarded as a centre of arts, with plenty of craft shops to visit. It is also a region where nature is at your fingertips, home to one of New Zealand's famous tramps, the Heaphy track, but also with plenty of other activities such as kayaking to enjoy.

tahunaFor those wishing to explore the arts and crafts side of Nelson, the first stop would have to be Hoglunds glass, just out of Richmond, where you can watch the glass blowing artists at work, creating amazing pieces that sell all around the world. There are also numerous pottery shops, garden centres and art galleries. One essential place to visit would be the Wearable Arts Museum in Stoke.

The Wearable Arts Awards originated in Nelson. This is an internationally renowned visual extravaganza, mixing art and fashion into a fantastic show, however this event has moved to Wellington. The Museum showcases the best costumes of past years, allowing people to view them close-up. It also houses a collection of restored vintage cars, as the Museum is in part of the old Honda manufacturing plant! For those who wish to create their own works of art, wander into the Bead Gallery just out of the city, an old house converted into a shop that sells jewellery and beads, where people can create their own jewellery. The Bead Gallery houses the greatest selection of beads in the country and is an ideal place to create personalised gifts.

The Nelson area is home to many beautiful beaches, including Kaiteriteri beach, a popular holiday destination for South Islanders and tourists alike. From Kaiteriteri, you can rent kayaks, go on day walks, or tramp on to other parts of the upper South Island. There are many excellent tramps around Nelson, from beginner to advanced trails, from day walks to much longer ones in Able Tasman, Nelson lakes and Kahurangi National Parks.

Other activities to enjoy in Nelson include visiting the weekend markets, both in the city centre or out further at Motueka. Here you can buy many homemade arts and crafts, find a bargain, or simply have a hot coffee and browse through the morning. Nelson is also home to two small breweries, McCashin’s and Founder’s. Both create organic beers with natural ingredients, and offer tours around their breweries, including tasting!

At night-time, the place to be is Bridge Street, where most of Nelson’s bars and clubs are to be found. The Nelson area is also the home of New Zealand’s biggest dance festival, The Gathering, which is held over New Years near Takaka. The Gathering is a five-day long party, with an amazing welcoming atmosphere and good times to be had by all. For those of a more adventuring mind, stay awhile at the Mapua Leisure Camp, the first 'clothing optional' holiday camp in New Zealand, and while in Mapua, don’t forget to visit the wharf for the most delicious fresh and smoked seafood.

Time and Tide Luxury Holiday Home - Less than an hours drive from Nelson city, this tastefully furnished home, has been designed on a slightly elevated site with a large balcony where you can sit with an alfresco breakfast to capture the breathtaking uninterrupted views of mountains to sea with lush green vegetation to golden sand, set in large tranquil landscaped gardens, with a two minute walk to a swimming beach with golden sand and clear crystal blue water.


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