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NZ Nelson Information

While only home to around 50,000 people, the region of Nelson, located at the top of the South Island of New Zealand is an appealing area known for having an excellent, Mediterranean climate. The Polynesians who came to New Zealand and gave rise to the Māori people originally settled it over 1100 years ago. It is thought that the earliest settlements in New Zealand were in the Nelson and Marlborough regions. The area was settled in 1841 by English colonizers.

The region’s major city, also called Nelson, has a reputation for being a creative community with a relaxed pace of life. Local artisans with small shops are one of Nelson’s defining elements. Expanses of golden sand beaches provide an excellent way to take advantage of the beautiful weather. While it is by no means a large city, the friendliness of the people gives this city a fun-loving, if somewhat limited nightlife. Surfing and kite-surfing can both be found at the city’s main beaches. Tours to local breweries and wineries are popular excursions from the city.

As the center of a region with many opportunities for outdoor adventures, Nelson is well set up as a starting point for the region. Agriculture is a primary industry in the rolling hills outside of Nelson. The road to the west out of Nelson brings visitors to the Motueka. The town of Motueka has only a few shops and restaurants, but the engaging local farming population that meets there makes it a place to learn about what the people of this country are really like. Travelers in the mood for something different may look into exchange work for room and board on a farm in this region. Motueka is also home to one of the country’s best sky diving sites, known for its excellent staff. Tandem skydives are easily arranged and offer incredible views of the coastline.

Area residents can be heard to mention going over “The Hill.” “The Hill” is Takaka Hill that is the only way to reach the town of Takaka. The winding road up Takaka Hill is not likely to be a favorite of those prone to carsickness, but the town of Takaka is well worth the trip. With a single main street, Takaka is an even smaller version of Nelson, as well as being the jumping off point for trips to Abel Tasman National Park.

The Abel Tasman National Park is the most popular national park in a country that loves national parks. The park combines lush native growth and hills with beautiful golden sand beaches in sheltered bays. There are a number of ways to experience the park, from day trips to week-long hiking and camping adventures. A number of water taxi service mean that the popular Abel Tasmen Coastal Track can be accessed at a number of points. Camping permits must be arranged in advance as numbers are limited to avoid overcrowding. Sea kayaking tours are also popular. Dolphins and playful seals are regularly seen in these waters.

NZ Nelson references