Just north of Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city, you’ll also find the country’s oldest metropolis, Nelson. This sizeable city is surrounded by numerous areas of unspoiled natural beauty, including mountain ranges, national parks and lakes. As a consequence, tourism plays a significant role in Nelson’s economy, with thousands upon thousands of visitors arriving in the city year in, year out. Known for being the city in New Zealand that sees the most sunshine, the continent’s largest sea port is also located in Nelson, therefore sampling the seafood on offer here is an absolute must. From the city, the rest of the North Island is just begging to be explored, while the city has plenty to keep the most demanding tourist occupied.
Nelson is a compact city that is arguably best seen on foot. Nevertheless, to visit the national and forest parks located in Nelson’s outlying areas, a hatchback is the best thing to get around in.
Driving in Nelson
Road Driving Side
Urban Speed Limit
Rural Speed Limit
Motorway Speed Limit
Important things to note
Nelson is well connected to the rest of the island via the State Highway 6, leading both north and south out of the city.
There are several car parking opportunities dotted around the city, both pay and display and free of charge
Parking on the right hand side of any street that is not one-way is illegal here. Failure to adhere to this rule could result in a large fine or worse still, having your vehicle towed away.
Highlights & Hotspots
The World of Wearable Art and Collectable Cars is arguably the city’s most popular attraction, drawing in both automotive and fashion enthusiasts the world over. The attraction really is like no other, with classic cars and extraordinary items of clothing standing alongside one another in harmony. Even the museum building itself intrigues and guarantees to impress all who set eyes on it.
The Miyazu Japanese Garden constitutes a stunning and serene green space, inspired by Nelson’s Japanese twin town, Miyazu. Brimming with statues, lanterns and glistening bodies of water, the garden makes for the perfect place to stop by for a stroll or to quite simply enjoy a moment of quiet reflection.
A vast number of events to take place in the city throughout the year, including live music, theatre productions and sporting competitions. Thanks to the city’s glorious weather, many take place outdoors, providing alternative entertainment for the residents of Nelson and tourists alike. The annual Jazz & Blues Festival and Marchfest are well worth attending if you happen to be around.
Located just 10km away from the centre of Nelson, Nelson Airport is the city‚Äôs principal flight hub, offering direct services to a number of domestic destinations, as well as a handful of major cities in Australia.
By car, the airport is best reached via Waimea Road, heading south out of the city. Quarantine Road leading to Trent Drive will take you there from the main highway going through Nelson.