Should You Visit Nelson?

Are you thinking about visiting Nelson, New Zealand? Here's what you need to know before planning your trip.

Is Nelson worth visiting?

This city is a good place to visit for three to five days. Located on the South Island of New Zealand, Nelson is a fun city that many travelers use as a base for exploring the surrounding natural areas. There are three national parks nearby as well as coastline and caving sites. In town there are cafes and cultural activities that you can enjoy.

Archway Islands, Wharariki Beach, New Zealand Archway Islands, Wharariki Beach, New Zealand

Reasons to Visit Nelson

Beaches in the area are sandy and most are great for swimming. There are many water sports available as well such as kayaking, kite surfing, and paddleboarding. You'll find locals and tourists alike hanging out at the beach and enjoying a barbecue.

The area is filled with walking and hiking trails that wander along the coast and soak up the spectacular views. There are also three national parks in the area that are filled with trails. Abel Tasman National Park, Kahurangi National Park, and Nelson Lakes National Park each have their own environments and scenery to explore.

Local ingredients, vineyards, and craft breweries all make the foodie scene around town interesting. There are many great restaurants that offer seasonal menus that change with the season. Eating is an experience in town, and locals take pride in the food they produce.

While most people spend their time enjoying the nature-oriented activities, there are several museums in the area as well. Founder's Heritage Park Museum is a village-like setting that you can explore. There's also the Nelson Classic Car Museum and local art and craft galleries that are fun to walk through.

The city attracts a good tourist crowd, and there are bars and clubs that keep things interesting late into the evening.

There are weekly markets in the area and a variety of retail shops where you can pick up anything you might need.


What is Nelson most famous for?

Nelson is most famous for its stunning national parks, beautiful coastline, and outdoor adventures. The city is very popular for its beaches and hiking. It is also known for its great food. And many visitors also come to this city for its museums, nightlife, and shopping. It is often described as natural, beautiful, outdoorsy, and adventure-filled.

What is the most famous sight in Nelson?

The most popular sight in Nelson is Abel Tasman National Park. You can see prices and costs for this and other sights in Nelson on our travel costs page.

Or, see tickets, activities, and tours for Abel Tasman National Park and other attractions here.

How touristy is Nelson? Is it a popular city to visit?

Nelson is a popular city for tourists and travelers. Here are some of the most popular activities and tours. (Prices in US Dollars)

  • Cruise, Walk, and Sail in Abel Tasman National Park: $124
  • Nelson City Walking Tour - Guided: $30
  • Full-Day Sailing Adventure in the Abel Tasman National Park: $164
  • Great Taste Beer Tour by Bicycle (Self-guided): $80
  • SKYWIRE Experience: $68
  • Self-Guided Nelson to Mapua Cycle Adventure: $73
  • Magical Mapua Charms in off-summer Season Selfguided Cycle Tour: $77
  • Magical Mapua Self Guided One Day Cycle Tour: $78

How long should I spend in Nelson?

The ideal length of time for a trip to Nelson is at least three or as many as five days. Since Nelson has a variety of activities such as beaches and hiking, most people need this much time to see and do everything here.

If you have a specific amount of time for your trip, see our advice about how much time to spend here: Should I spend 1, 2, or 3 days in Nelson?, Should I spend 3, 4, or 5 days in Nelson?, and Should I spend 1 or 2 weeks in Nelson?.