The City of Nelson is the sunniest in New Zealand, accumulating 2500 hours of sunshine every year. Within the region are five different geographic areas: the urban centers of Port Nelson and Richmond; rolling agricultural lands of Moutere, Motueka, and Mapua; Abel Tasman National Park and its almost mystical coastline; Golden Bay; and alpine rivers and lakes near St. Arnaud.
Visitors who go to Port Nelson must see the WOW – The World of Wearable Art and Collectable Cars. This museum is dedicated to the seven-night fashion show that used to be held in Trafalgar Center (which has moved to Wellington). The museum contains fashions made of amazing, even fantastic, materials that set designers’ imaginations on fire. Each year, thousands flock to the WOW Awards Show where lighting, music, and theatrical effects highlight wearable art. The Classic Car Gallery features more than 50 cars and motorcycles dating from the late 1800s to today’s modern creations.
Port Nelson is home to 23 boutique wineries in the Nelson district. Visitors can tour the countryside and meet the wine-makers while enjoying vineyard cafes, exploring art exhibits, and staying in luxurious wine-country accommodations. The Nelson Wineries are an unforgettable treat.
Port Nelson’s Market is open all year with stalls full of local products from foods to fish to arts and crafts. Shoppers can find the freshest organic fruits and vegetables and the most beautiful silk paintings, pottery, and jewelry every Saturday at the Nelson Market while enjoying fresh coffee and snack. On Sundays, Monty’s Market offers a great atmosphere where you can search stalls for recycled treasures, pre-loved clothes, and delicious coffee and tea.
Travelers will not want to miss the 15-thousand-hectare Abel Tasman National Park, about 25 nautical miles across Tasman Bay from Port Nelson, where you can take a scenic cruise along the marine reserve to see Tonga Island’s seal colony. Sea kayaking is a popular past-time in the park. This breathtaking granite coastline park offers coastal paths and hiking trails, sandy golden beaches, thick green forests, and some of the world’s most beautiful estuaries in the Tonga Island Marine Reserve along the park’s coast.