Nelson often surpasses New Zealand's sunny hours. It also has golden beaches and productive tourism, wine, horticulture and fishing.
Often referred to as “the top of the south”, Nelson Tasman occupies the northwest corner of the South Island. The main hub, the city of Nelson (population 46,000) is a 5-hour drive from Christchurch. By plane, Nelson is just 30 minutes from Wellington, 40 minutes from Christchurch and about 1.5 hours from Auckland.
There are many unique aspects to this region. Nowhere else in the world, for example, will you find three very distinctive national parks in a relatively small area, offering sparkling waters, golden sands, spectacular native forests, lakes and mountains, easily accessible year-round.
Nelson's coast is notable for two huge shallow bays – Tasman Bay and Golden Bay. The interior is mountainous with attractive lakes and areas of limestone and marble, which feature deep caves. The Te Waikoropupu (Pupu) springs, which produce the clearest fresh water in the world, are part of the deepest cave system in the southern hemisphere.
With an ideal climate growing, Nelson produces all of New Zealand's commercial hops and has consequently become the country's craft brewery capital with 11 craft breweries, while the region's 25 wineries excel in the production of aromatic wines and chardonnay . Other horticultural highlights include apples and berries, while ocean produce has made Port Nelson Australasia's largest fishing port.
economy and industry
The region's economy has four main drivers - horticulture, fishing, forestry and tourism. Nelson Harbor is the largest offshore fishing port in Australasia. Horticulture includes apples, pears, kiwis and hops. Viticulture and wine production are booming, with craft beers becoming increasingly popular.
The Nelson Tasman region is known for hot summers and cold winters. Average maximum summer temperatures range from 21 to 24°C, with the highest recorded reaching 36.3°C. Average winter highs range between 13 and 14°C. Winter can be blustery, but generally Nelson enjoys one of the best climates in all of New Zealand's major centres.
Nelson Tasman is known for its beautiful reserves and national parks that offer excellent hiking. There are plenty of outdoor recreation options, from kayaking at Abel Tasman Park to the Heaphy Track, one of New Zealand's nine "great hikes". The shores and lakes are ideal for swimming, boating, sailing and fishing. Golden Bay is particularly famous for its sandy beaches and is popular with alternative lifestyles for its fertile land. The city of Nelson is smart and well-developed. Its thriving local arts and crafts include some of New Zealand's finest visual artists, potters, glassblowers and wood carvers, and the city offers a full range of amenities, including excellent cafes and restaurants.