Nelson is known for its sun, with many of the tourist leaflets boasting its ‘long sunshine hours then anywhere else in New Zealand’. Nelson city centre is just like any other with the usual clothes shops and supermarkets, but it also hosts a weekly (every Saturday) market, selling food, drinks and knick knacks.When we visited it, the area was very busy but that maybe due to the big TV screen playing one of the World Cup cricket matches . About a 5 minute drive from the centre you hit one of the beaches called Tahunanui which is slightly windy, perfect for kite surfing or just sunbathing.
For those that are Lord of the rings fan, the region of Nelson is where most of the filming was done.
The gateway to Abel Tasman National Park is known as the Tasman District, where the seaside ‘towns’ of Mapua, Ruby Bay and Kina are found, as well as Motueka. The later is a small hub surrounded by a wide variety of farms and vineyards as well as galleries and craft studios. With some much locally grown produce it has formed a cycle route called the Great Taste Trail.
The Nelson region is home to smaller family owned vineyards and art exhibitions. In comparison to the Blenheim vineyards, this area is known for its Chardonnay grapes due to the ‘gravel threaded clay soils’.
There are over 25 vineyard near Nelson, in a town called Motueka. Depending on the tine of year, they often have open cellars to have a sample of their produce ( pickup the Nelson wine trail guide to find out).We choose to stop at probably the smallest vineyard called Riwaka river estate. Their land covers no more than 1 ha producing Pinot noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc. Most of the bottles are sold from the cellar with a few going to local restaurants.