Nelson is the sunniest region in New Zealand, and the varied geography means there’s a variety of ways to enjoy the welcoming climate – from hiking and cycling to snorkelling and swimming. As its name suggests, Golden Bay is a picture-perfect stretch of sand, and is famous for scallops and bird watching. But as beautiful as the beach is, one of the highlights of your trip here will be the journey itself, as you drive over the fascinating expanse of Takaka Hill.
In Takaka itself you’ll find the country’s largest freshwater springs, a variety of charming shops and cafés, and a fascinating artist community. The whole region is famous for its art, and is home to hundreds of working artists. Visiting galleries and studios to browse art is a real highlight here, encountering classical, contemporary, regional and traditional Maori arts and crafts.
Nelson’s mild climate has seen it become the centre of New Zealand’s beer industry, and is known as the craft-brewing capital. Visitors to the region can also visit excellent wineries, and sample the tasty locally-grown fruit.
The Abel Tasman National Park offers a perfect paradise of sandy beaches, magnificent rocky scenery, dense forests and crystalline waters. There is a wealth of activities available here, including sea kayaking, snorkelling, sailing and hiking.