Experts in Australia, New Zealand & South Pacific

Nelson and Abel Tasman National Park Holidays

Nelson is the creative centre of the South Island and has been dubbed the sunniest city in New Zealand, so as well as a fantastic base for exploring the vast forests, valleys and coastal paradise, Abel Tasman National Park, Nelson has a completely individual culture of its own to be explored; art galleries, wineries, and local delicacies are waiting to be discovered as well as a host of beautiful beaches – it’s little wonder Nelson has been named one of New Zealand’s most liveable cities.

Nelson Central Highlights

With a whole host of galleries and artist’s studios to explore, the arts make up a huge part of Nelson’s culture. The elegant Woollaston Estates is an award-winning collection of significant sculptures and artwork. Whatever time of year you visit, The Gallery hosts an ever changing programme of year-round exhibitions from national and international artists.

The World of Wearable Art and Classic Cars museum will suit a more eclectic taste with its quirky collection of wearable art (and classic cars).

Nelson is known for its prestigious wineries around Moutere Hills and Waimea Plains. Its most famous produce is the pinot noir, but the chardonnay and sauvignon blanc are also popular. Beer lovers can try the delicious craft beer also brewed in the area. You’ll find plenty of artisan food producers selling unique chutneys, breads and chocolates, but taking pride of place on Nelson’s foodie scene is its world renowned Golden Bay scallops, which can be enjoyed in one of the city’s many waterfront restaurants. Cooked in a variety of ways, a local favourite is in garlic and butter.

Tahunanui, ‘The Beach of Nelson’, is a popular spot and a great choice for families with a playground, a hydroslide, bumper boats, and Natureland zoo. It’s a safe, swimmable beach with a variety of restaurants to choose from.

Rabbit Island is a 20 minute drive from Nelson City and provides a quiet and relaxing spot, perfect for sunbathing, picnics and barbeques with readily available equipment and picnic tables.

Slightly further out, you’ll find Kaiteriteri 60km from Nelson central. This is a golden sandy beach at the entrance to Abel Tasman National Park. You can arrange to go kayaking, seal swimming or get a water taxi into the park itself.

Explore Abel Tasman National Park

Despite being New Zealand’s smallest national park, the beautiful Abel Tasman is perfectly apt at catering for both relaxation and adventure. The park features inviting beaches, crystal clear streams and vast forest to be explored, and the native wildlife includes plenty of birds singing from the trees, blue penguins by the water’s edge, and fur seals lounging on the rocks. To get the most from the park, you can follow the coastal walks, which will take you to sites such as Pitt Head on Te Pukatea Bay, an ancient fort site. Then, explore further via the water in a kayak tour around the area.

Abel Tasman is New Zealand's only coastal national park which means you can go from hiking, to swimming, to kayaking and even cruising, all in the one trip.
Julie, Travel Designer

What to do in Nelson and Abel Tasman National Park

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Places to stay in Nelson and Abel Tasman National Park

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There are 2 itineraries to choose from below. Use the filters to refine your options.

Abel Tasman Kayak and Walk Tour

3 Day Guided Walk & Kayak
From £909 per person

A fantastic way to experience the picturesque coastlines of Abel Tasman National Park; walk through mature beech forests and paddle past golden beaches.

Great for
  • Adventure
  • Beaches & boats

South Island Wanderer

15 Day Suggested Itinerary
From £2,889 per person

Spot whales at Kaikoura, see albatross and yellow eyed penguins on the Otago Peninsula, and taste the award-winning wines of Marlborough on this self drive through the South!

Great for
  • Adventure
  • Food & wine
  • Self-drives

Other places to go in South Island

Queenstown

Queenstown Holidays

Wanaka

Wanaka Holidays

Kaikoura

Kaikoura Holidays

West Coast and Glaciers

West Coast and Glaciers Holidays

Marlborough Sounds Picton

Picton and Marlborough Sounds Holidays

Te Anau Fiordland

Te Anau and Fiordland Holidays

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