Visit Nelson & Abel Tasman
To the west of the Marlborough Sounds is Abel Tasman National Park, another area of great natural beauty on the warm and sunny northern tip of the South Island.
Sailing, walking and sea kayaking among the park's picturesque bays are some of the most popular activities for visitors.
Others choose to head for the mountains and rivers inland from Nelson, the region's main hub. World-class white-water rafting, fly-fishing and mountain biking can be experienced inland.
However, the Nelson region is also a great place to relax as well - wineries, art galleries, wellness retreats and fine dining restaurants are other attractions.
The lively coastal town of Nelson is one of the oldest settlements in New Zealand and marks the centre of the country geographically.
It was named after Horatio Nelson and references to the admiral can be seen in street names and public areas in the city, such as Trafalgar Street and Trafalgar Park.
Christ Church Cathedral stands on a small hill that affords views across Nelson towards Tasman Bay and the mountains that surround the city on three sides.
There are also some interesting art galleries and museums, as well as cafes and restaurants serving quality regional food. Succulent seafood, organic vegetables and drinks from local microbreweries and wineries have earned Nelson a reputation as a destination for foodies.
Abel Tasman National Park
Beautiful beaches, clear seas and some of the country's best walking tracks are the draws of the small Abel Tasman National Park, 60 kilometres from Nelson.
The Abel Tasman Coast Track is one of the least demanding of New Zealand's great walks and is an excellent option for those who might not automatically think of themselves as trampers. It takes between two and five days, meandering through picturesque bush, over sandy beaches and up to scenic lookout points.
Cruises are another way to explore the park, combining time at sea with walking tours and other shore excursions. Sea kayaking is also popular and provides the means to reach secret coves and overnight campsites. Seals and dolphins are sometimes seen while you paddle, swim and snorkel.
Top itineraries in Nelson & Abel Tasman
Free car hire
A tailor-made self-drive through much of the most spectacular scenery of the North and South Islands. Discover Auckland, Coromandel Peninsula, Rotorua, Hawke's Bay, Wellington, Abel Tasman and the glaciers and mountains of Franz Josef and Queenstown as you journey through this stunning country.
From the subtropical beaches of the Bay of Islands, the geothermal pools of Rotorua and wine lands of Hawke's Bay to the majestic glaciers of Fox and Franz Josef and the towering peaks of the Southern Alps, New Zealand is home to some of the world's most spectacular driving routes.
Free car hire
Discover the Bay of Islands, Coromandel and Rotorua on the North Island and Kaikoura, Fox Glacier and Fiordland on the South Island at your own pace, with the chance to sample a full range of off-the-beaten track adventures and excursions.
Free car hire
Covering many of New Zealand's highlights, this luxury self-drive starts in Auckland in the North Island, New Zealand's City of Sails and ends in the South Island at the picturesque lakeside town of Queenstown in the heart of the Southern Alps.
Top places to stay in Nelson & Abel Tasman
Set within 150 acres of pristine private forest in the heart of the Moteuka Valley, just 50 minutes from the town of Nelson, Stonefly Lodge offers luxury accommodation for guests looking to relax and enjoy fly-fishing in one of New Zealand's most beautiful regions. The lodge is situated between thr…
As one of the world’s 25 best eco-lodges according to the National Geographic Traveler, national park views, bush chalet accommodation and locavore dining make this a truly enticing option.
Meet our Nelson & Abel Tasman experts
Speak to a tailor-made specialist on 020 7590 0614Meet the team