Within the city centre, most places are within walking distance. Here’re some activities/places that you should not miss!
Things to Do
Get on the Arts + Culture Scene!
Arts and local crafts thrive in this city of diverse cultures. Each day, I explored the city centre on foot. The historic precinct of South Street is heritage-protected and exhibits Nelson’s architecture from the mid 1800s! I also stumbled upon various art galleries as well as the museum. In particular, the Suter Art Gallery left lasting impressions.
Tip# Visit the Suter Art Gallery on Saturday to gain FREE admission. 🙂
I departed before I could visit the World of Wearable Art and Classic Cars Museum – which many described as a “must-see” creative and visual feast! So, do check that out if you happen to be in the region!
Local markets are common in New Zealand, and they are usually full of local treasures. What then makes the Nelson Market at the Montgomery carpark different? For one, it is reputed to be world-famous! Held every Saturday (8am-1pm), this Market provides a variety of “treasures” to suit every shopper’s needs. Items on sale include local handicrafts, fresh produce, cooked meals, fashion and gifts etc.
I visited on a very wet Saturday, but I enjoyed myself thoroughly. World-famous or not, the Nelson Market definitely has a certain charm to it!
Tip# Make sure that you have sufficient cash, as most stallholders do not accept F-POS or credit cards. Ran out of money? Well, the ATM machine is not too far off, as the Nelson Market is located smack in the middle of the city centre!
Strolling to the Centre of NZ
The Centre of NZ nestled atop the Botanical Gardens is just one of the many walks available in Nelson city. This zig zag uphill trail requires at least 1 hour (return trip) and you shall be able to enjoy some great views and native forest plants along your way. If you have a penchant for chasing sunsets (as I do), visit the Centre of NZ during the evening. You shall be bathed in golden light and rewarded with a magnificent view.
Tip# Trust me on this. Dress lightly with appropriate footwear for a comfortable walk uphill!
Embracing the Free
Do you like attractions that are FREE? Are you a nature-lover or heritage-seeker? Well, if you answered yes, you would love New Zealand. Amid this lovely country, free attractions are in abundance. Well-maintained and interesting, these nature parks and heritage sites can bring solace to a cluttered mind.
Take a stroll and indulge in quiet moments. You would come to realise that time has slowed and your thoughts shall be amplified.
Tip# Although New Zealand is generally safe, one should still be cautious of safety and avoid venturing alone in the dark! A Nelson resident whom I met during my trip warned of a serial rapist who made his attacks near the Queens Garden some time ago. :S
Shopping, Shopping & more Shopping!
In addition to common labels, Nelson City’s vibrant retail scene includes vintage one-off finds as well as local products that range from food to fashion and gifts! Most retail stores are open from 9am – 5.30pm on weekdays and 10am – 2pm during the weekends.
Also, don’t miss out the new-age shops that provide alternative spiritual activities (i.e. tarot reading, yoga etc.) and interesting souvenirs (though most of these are imported).
Tip# Do you know that Nelson is the craft brewery centre of New Zealand? What better excuse would it be for you to knock back a glass or two? In fact, how about buying a couple of beers as souvenirs for your thirsty friends back home?
Flee the City Centre?
You may have come across the term “Nelson Tasman”. Imagine countless hiking, cycling trails, forested hills, plains, beaches and alpine valleys! Blessed with panoramic views of both land and sea, the Nelson Tasman region is an adventurer’s paradise and a trip to the Abel Tasman National Park must not be missed! There are several trekking/touring options to this iconic national park to suit different visitors’ interests.
Tip# Always keep safety in mind. Leave details of your trip (return date & time, planned route, party member names and vehicle details) with a responsible person so that a search party will be dispatched if you do not appear in due course.
That’s all, folks!
But don’t take my word for it! There are plenty more to explore around the Nelson region. 😀 Check out http://www.nelsonnz.com/for more information!