Photo taken by: Mike Broerman (Flying Kiwi Traveller)

Tours in Nelson

Nelson - Tour Highlights

Situated around Tasman and Golden Bays at the top of the South Island, the Nelson region is surrounded by sheltering mountain ranges, giving it a mediterranean-type climate.

Nelson is known for its year-round sun, golden beaches, three national parks, 350 working artists, boutique wineries and the city for its historical streetscapes, waterfront cafes, fresh seafood, and a thoroughly relaxed lifestyle. Nelson (population 52,000), named after Admiral Lord Nelson of Battle of Trafalgar fame, is the main commercial centre for the region, whose main industries are forestry, horticulture, fishing and tourism. Nelson's artists include carvers, glassblowers, painters, potters and weavers, whose work can be seen by following any of the 13 craft trails that also take in Nelson's most attractive rural settlements.

It’s also the base of Flying Kiwi, so we love it!

Time spent here while on a Flying Kiwi tour:

We spend the morning after Abel Tasman National Park in Nelson, in the afternoon we continue onto Picton. 

Tours that take you here:

Ultimate Explorer - 27 or 28 days      Summer Blast - 16, 17 or 19 days  
Total Aotearoa - 24 days Southern Light - 9 or 10 days
Reverse Traverse - 14 or 15 days  Wild West - 8 or 9 days

Where we stay: 

We don’t stay overnight in Nelson but it’s a great place to consider an extended break for if you are doing our Summer Blast tour you have the option of spending 2 nights here. Its also a place where many people start and finish their tour; please see below for accommodation options pre and post tour. 

Tasman Bay Backpackers - a centrally located hostel with a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. A great place to base yourself while you explore Nelson. 

- Free WiFi

- Free use of bikes

- Free dessert each evening

Things to do:

Visit the Centre of New Zealand. A short walk from beside the Botanic Sports Field will take you up a small hill which offers great views of the region. The park is also where NZ’s first rugby match took place!


 Lord of the Rings

Free Things to Do:

Visit Trafalgar Street, the main street of Nelson. It’s full of shops, and every arm has plenty of interesting stores and restaurants.

Walk through the numerous city gardens such as the Botanic Gardens or the Japanese Miyazu Gardens.

If you are a Lord of the Rings fan make sure you visit Jens Hansen Ringmakers which were the official ringmakers for The Lord of the Rings – the actual ring is on display.

Visit one of the multiple free art galleries. 

Insiders Tip:

Try one of the local restaurants. There is a huge range of prices and types of food. Eating well and drinking a good craft beer are two of the highlights in Nelson.



Hiking Options:

Take time to stroll the wonderful streets and absorb the cafes, bars and galleries

Cycle Options:

Tasman’s Great Taste Trail – An easy morning ride (20km) over boardwalks along the edge of the Waimea Estuary, home to a range of significant bird species, including the white heron before a moderate yet fast incline over Waimea Road into Nelson City.