NELSON OUTLYING AREAS
Originally separate communities, Richmond and Stoke are now part of the expanded urban development of the city.
Imagine a region where snow capped mountains frame vineyards and gold sandy beaches showcase natural rock sculptures.The area is the stunning backdrop for one of New Zealand iconic great walks, the Abel Tasman. Creative artists and crafts have made Nelson their home with local talent on display in galleries and weekend markets. All the while the taste buds water at the seasonal bounty from orchards, the sea and land.
Meet one of New Zealand’s rock stars in the visitor experience market. Nelson is a great year round destination with landscape diversity, plenty of adventures for the intrepid, leisurely courtyard wineries to linger in and a stimulating art scene.
Nelson is a seasoned host with an extensive range of food / craft markets, cafes and award winning restaurants for visitors to sample. This mix is stirred and mixed in food and wine where the taste buds are tantalized by the bounty of the sea and land. No wonder Nelson is a perennial favourite place for a holiday.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
If that wasn’t good enough Nelson is blessed with a great climate. The weather is one of the sunniest in New Zealand. Sun drenched summers attract visitors to the beaches and the Great Taste Trail. Winter offers relaxation and indulgence in spas, opportunities to explore the extensive art and craft trail. As icing on the cake the area boasts one of New Zealand’s premier ski fields.
Heritage buffs are in for a surprise with a stash of historic buildings (pre-1860) lived in and functioning today in the city of Nelson. The buildings include Bishop Suter Art Gallery; Nelson School of Music; Bishop’s School, Fairfield House, Melrose House, and Warwick House.
TOP PLACES OF HISTORIC INTEREST
Cute attractive cottages are an instagram favourite.
Originally known as Town Acre 456 the initial cottages were built in the 1860’s. Forget having a front yard the cottages are generally built up to the road boundary. Local tradesmen did not have time to grow roses. South street is the oldest preserved street in New Zealand that people actually live in. Learn more from the residents community voice, HISTORIC SOUTH STREET, NELSON. Note: There are a few late 20th century buildings on Nile Street West however the character of the area is homes dating from the 1860s and 1870s.
Nelson is proud of the title as the first place a game of rugby was played. Learn about the story of rugby at Botanics Reserve as you walk Maitai River valley. Find the Botanics Reserve, set aside by the early settlers, at the end of Hardy Street. An interpretation panel, shaped like a rugby ball and goal posts, will tell you all about the history of the playing field. The first game of rugby in New Zealand was played in Nelson on 14 May, 1870, between the Nelson club team and Nelson College.
During the walk find out where the centre of New Zealand is actually located.
The Rocks Road graceful Victorian chain fence is the story of the expansion of the growing city towards Tahunanui at the turn of the century and of the industrial base of the port city. The chain fence is ornate and a very rare example of Victorian streetscape ornamentation that has survived. The fence has a heritage category 1 classification. It is a beautiful cast iron decorative street furniture.
Wealthy Marsden family in the 19th century built the Isel homestead and created 4 hectares of gardens. The interior has a considerable collection of antiques, paintings and domestic homeware of the period. Entry to the gardens is free. The homestead is open to visitors, however check beforehand to avoid disappointment.
Discover an early colonial era cob home built in 1855 for the Buxton family. The large cottage is furnished in the original style and restored to showcase family life in the Victorian and Edwardian eras. Look for a child’s straight-backed chair made from teak salvaged from the wreck of the Fifeshire. The cottage has rare original wallpaper from the 1878 Paris World Fair. For lovers of historic fabric there is a significant textile and period costume collection.
Broadgreen has in its possession one of New Zealand’s oldest quilts made in Ireland in 1776.
The grounds contain the highly regarded Samuels’ Rose Garden that boasts an extensive collection of over 3,000 plants. There is an annual Among the Roses event where the community enjoys music, performances, markets and free guided tours of the house and garden. The Rose Walk is a fantastic way to discover some gems amongst this wonderful collection. Samuels Rose Garden, established in 1968, contains 560 named varieties and over 3000 plants including Slater’s Crimson China Rose – the first variety of rose grown in New Zealand.
Broadgreen’s Samuels’ Rose Garden hosts an annual rose day every spring (November).
Nelson is a treasure trove of historic cemeteries to wander through. An outstanding example is Wakapuaka Cemetery Walk where many of Nelson’s early settlers are buried. For more information check TOP-10 Nelson short walks, trip guide, things to see & do: Best Bits. You can search the Nelson City Council Early Settlers Database to find information about your ancestors who made the long voyage from Europe to settle in the Nelson Region. This information is based on original NZ Company Passengers To Nelson manifests and shipping lists published in The Colonist newspaper 1841-1850, supplied by the Nelson Provincial Museum.
Albion Square was the site of provincial government for the Nelson region from the late 1850s to the 1870s. Today it’s an historic reserve – protected for the significant number of historic remnants it contains. The fire engine house, trout hatchery and a survey chain test marker are protected as Category 1 historic places for their outstanding historical significance.
The fire engine house (1866) was built to mirror the design of the nearby grand provincial buildings. It’s the only remaining reminder of these buildings, which were later demolished. For a short time it was used to house a fire engine specifically purchased to protect the provincial building from fire. It’s now mainly remembered for serving as a morgue at the time of the Maungatapu Murders trial, where the victims of the notorious gang of bush rangers were laid out.
The trout hatchery (1867) ranks internationally as an early example of fish acclimatisation to establish populations of exotic plants and animals. It’s one of the few remaining structures like this left in the world. Acclimitisation of plants and animals from Britain and Europe to New Zealand was prominent in the efforts of provincial governments. The building was used to hatch thousands of trout ova from Australia, and in turn these young fish were used to populate streams and rivers around the province. The interestingly shaped hexagonal building was built to the specifications of Frank Buckland, an internationally recognised artificial fish hatching expert from England.
A chain test marker on the site is now a very rare remnant of the work of early surveyors carving up land to be sold to European settlers. These markers consisted of a series of small bronze tabs set along a concrete strip. They defined the standard length of the survey chain (literally a long length of chain) used to measure distance. The chain was important to the drive for accuracy and standardisation in surveying around New Zealand.
The small brick magazine (ca. 1861) that still stands on the site is likely to have been used by local militia to store munitions.
SOURCE Albion Square: Nelson area
A must-go destination for many visitors with its Victorian main street frontage, workshops, galleries and shops. Heritage is a winner in an ethnographic village with authentic character buildings nestled in the extensive gardens of Founders Park. The colonial past is replicated with relocated original buildings including a fire truck. Read more about the park Nelson – Culture & Art Activities and Events – Best Bits.
Nelson supports numerous artists and galleries than most other places in New Zealand and is home to three of New Zealand’s cultural treasures – the Suter Art Gallery, the Theatre Royal and the Nelson Centre for Musical Arts. Nelson’s combination of sunny weather, glorious scenery, and food culture is greatly enhanced by its cultural scene. This is a powerful drawcard for visitors. Start your exploration by checking out Nelson – Culture & Art Activities and Events – Best Bits. It is an excellent reference to key cultural attractions and places of interest.
Nelson is one of the strong contenders for weekend market superstar. The city boasts several well regarded markets. Founders Heritage Park hosts a number of pop up market days with a focus on artists and creative energy. Nelson regional towns from Murchison, Motueka, Takaka, Collingwood are known for their summer weekend markets.
Over 40 years and still going strong the veteran market showcases artisan goods, gifts and is a great place for cheap eats.
A great market for fresh fruit and vegetables. Visit a market where the locals shop for their groceries
City shopping districts
TIP: For gifts and souvenirs you can’t go past the art galleries, museums and markets
TOASTY CLIMATE, LAID DOWN ATMOSPHERE WHO WOULD NOT WANT TO BE AN ARTIST IN NELSON? Nelson attracts visitors from around the world to its festivals. Due to the pandemic festivals have been the victims of postponement or cancellation. Check festival online resources for up to date opening dates.
Nelson city and beyond is peppered with craft breweries, vineyard courtyards for a leisurely night out and venues with live entertainment. The city is a great place to start exploring a craft brewery trail. Enjoy local bands while admiring the vibrantly coloured taps at the FREE HOUSE.
Check what’s happening at local beaches and venues in the summer season.
Romance is warm nights, a balmy climate with plenty of attractions and things to do. Nelson ticks all these boxes and more. Impossibly beautiful scenery is a great ingredient for romance. Nelson delivers in spades with scenery, attractions and adventures from adrenaline laced excitement to leisurely vineyard meals where the world slows down. For inspiration what to do check Romantic places, things to do for couples in Nelson.
Nelson dining does not get any better than the Boat Shed Cafe, Wakefield Quay. The destination overlooks the harbour and the mountains beyond.
Nelson is surrounded by lush gardens, parks and reserves. Tasman Bay, the hills and lure of the beautiful Abel Tasman National Park make the area a must-go destination for lovers of nature and the outdoors. In the city there are several gardens offering visitors a chance to stroll or jog in peaceful surroundings.
Queens Gardens is an excellent showpiece for a classical Victorian ornamental park. Centrally located information panels placed around the garden. Top sights in the garden include:
Queens Gardens formally opened in 1892 to celebrate the Jubilee of Queen Victoria. It was designed around the residual part of the Maitai River called the Eel Pond – a food gathering place for the Maori.
Delve into the world of feng shui (wind & water balance) in the Huangshi Chinese Garden. The garden is part of the Queens Park footprint and connected via a Rainbow Bridge. The small compact Chinese garden has the walled entryway channeling good energy flows into the spaces where camelias, peonies and butterflies flourish. At the centre is water energy reflected in a pond and waterfall. The pavilion is made from genuine Chinese roofing tiles sourced directly from Hubei Province, and the upturned roof is based on ancient Chinese design principles. Free entry.
The war memorial used to be part of the old bridge that crossed Saltwater Creek on the port side of the park and consists of three pillars and a central cenotaph and now is the central piece in ANZAC Park. The names on the plaques at the ANZAC Park Cenotaph were compiled by the Nelson Returned Services Association. They only include those who were residents of Nelson prior to enlisting for services and they observe the boundaries of Nelson as they were at that time … read more ANZAC Park Nelson local government online resource.
In town shopping or visiting the weekend market then take a short stroll up Trafalgar Street to the small beautifully reserved Victorian park surrounding the Cathedral. The towering phoenix palms framing the steps are original Victorian showpieces for a garden. Trees include sequoias now a magnificent height and two Californian redwoods. The Cathedral is built in the art deco style.
A great spot for a photo of the main street and Victorian fronted shops leading up to the Cathedral steps.
Acres of garden and a local favourite. The place is often the venue for events, weekend markets and functions. It is not unusual to peek at a wedding party as they pose for photographs. The gardens and homestead have a category I historic rating. Free entry into the gardens.
Checking out the Richmond Mall where all serious shoppers hang out and need a break. Washbourn gardens is a hidden delight behind pine and oak trees creating a great place to sip your coffee and relax. Enjoy the rose garden and the Begonia House is a great place if there is a nip in the air. Housing over 200 potted begonias and hanging baskets, visitors will breathe deeply to absorb the fragrance.
A Victorian era garden with a mature woodland whose shady spots are a great place for a leisurely stroll in summer. The beautifully manicured grounds are the home to a popular place for brunch / lunch in the historic home’s cafe.
Discover a Japanese treasure next to the Founders Heritage Park. Expect to find water features, carefully sculptured plantings and fountains with footbridges leading visitors to explore further. The cherry trees in spring are a favourite spot for photographers and expect to see wedding parties showered in blossom. Entry is free into the public garden.
Gardens of the World is a perennial entry into garden tours with its native and exotic plantings. The garden has created rooms representing New Zealand, Australia, Africa, America, the Orient and Europe. There is an English style formal rose garden, an English style herbaceous area, herbarium, white garden, amphitheater, water garden with Asian inspired influences and a woodland zone featuring a rhododendron walk. The garden is 2.4 hectares.
Finding a beach in Nelson is ridiculously easy. You can hardly move from the regional airport and you’ve located one of New Zealand’s top family beaches,Tahunanui. The local Nelson city beach is a drawcard for many visitors with its extensive facilities, safe shallow water and across the road cafes and restaurants. For beach fans check out Top 5 Beaches in Nelson. In the busy summer months accommodation can be fully booked, check beforehand to ensure you have a place to stay before turning up.
Wanting a classic summer holiday by the beach, Nelson offers plenty of choices. Get the kids outdoors in a pocket handkerchief sized national park with kayaking, water sports and swimming in freshwater rivers a bonus. The proximity of natural spaces to urban comforts makes Nelson an attractive destination for families as creature comforts are not sacrificed.
TOP ATTRACTIONS FOR FAMILIES
Gardens and parks are leafy shady spots for jogging and walking. The city has several impressive walking trails
For further information check out Department of Conservation ideas for Nelson area: Places to go in Neslon/Tasman.
Motueka is a bustling regional centre for Nelson and a popular gateway to the Abel Tasman National Park. A cafe culture, the holiday buzz and energy has developed into a comprehensive range of accommodation choices, boutique shops and an area showcasing artists and artisans. The town center is the home to the well known Motueka Sunday Market where pop up food stores, emerging creative talent have a vehicle to market their wares. From craft breweries in nearby Riwaka to a game of golf at Tasman Village golf course there is something for everyone.learn more
Relax and rejuvenate with a day at Mapua. The wharf is the hub of a vibrant visitor experience. Once the wharf housed apple stores and pack houses is now a bustling destination to while away a summer’s day revelling in the arts and hospitality of the Wharf. The Waimea Estuary and Rabbit Island are picturesque backdrops to the cafes, restaurants, artisan shops and microbrewery. Hire a bike from a local to explore Rabbit Island via the Mapua Ferry. The list of things to do is extensive.learn more
The loop trail starts in Nelson city reaching as far as Kaiteriteri.The trail wanders past estuaries, wetlands, vineyards, rolling farmland and past numerous cafes and galleries. The length of the trail is 175 km and is broken into sections to allow for pick up and delivery of services. Check out the Urban Cycling Routes: get up and biking as soon as you hit the Nelson streets. The trail map helpfully annotes routes where the ascent and descent could be an issue for families with children. Check with your bike hire provider for local tips and advice before embarking on the trail.
Originally separate communities, Richmond and Stoke are now part of the expanded urban development of the city.
Richmond is approximately 15 minutes drive from the city centre. The outlying areas of Richmond are home to wineries and orchards. The nearby Appleby area is famous for its fresh fruit ice cream, pick your own berries and Hoglund Glass Gallery.
Stoke is home to Pic’s World of Peanut Butter where you can meet the makers, watch the process of peanut butter creation in action, and even try your hand at creating your own. Nearby, the National WOW Museum is home to spectacular displays of wearable art garments, and one of Australasia’s largest private collections of classic cars. McCashin’s Brewery for a brewery tour and tasting, an iconic business that played a key role in New Zealand’s craft beer revolution. Thursday night is a foodie heaven with the Isel Park Twilight Market from 4.30pm, which is set amongst stunning Victorian grounds and features an array of local food and craft stalls.
Nelson (Māori: Whakatū) is a city and port in Tasman Bay / Te Tai-o-Aorere. The city is the oldest in the South Island, New Zealand. Established in 1841 the city was built on pre-European Maori lands purchased under dubious circumstances which did lead to later conflict. The city’s name is in honour of Lord Nelson and the battle of Trafaglar. Source Nelson, New Zealand – Wikipedia.
The Nelson region accommodation ranges from hunting lodges, to quiet meditation retreats nestled in picturesque bush locations, from basic backpacker lodges to luxury overlooking private beaches. Nelson city is home to a busy port exporting seafood and food products throughout the world. The city itself has a number of comfortable hotels catering to the business market. The outskirts and beyond is where the holiday makers throng. For ideas where to stay check out Nelson Regional Guide for ideas.
Nelson is a major gateway to the region with a busy domestic airport and intercity bus depot. The city is walkable and compact with excellent signage.
By InterIslander Ferry (Picton), vehicle for South Island based visitors or the domestic airport located in Richmond. Nelson is connected, by road, to both the west coast and east coast of the South Island.
A vehicle / bike is needed otherwise during peak season (summer) there are public bus services linking beach and inland communities. Previously it was advisable to forward book transport during the peak season. In 2019 approximately 1.3 million guest nights in Nelson.
BEST BITS TRAVEL GUIDE.
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