Nelson - Cruise Overview

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Nelson encompasses three national parks, stunning beaches and a vibrant art scene. This laid back region showcases many attractions and activities that are sure to delight.

Nelson rests at the top north-west region of the South Island and boasts New Zealand's highest sunshine hours per year making it an ideal hop and wine growing region, and an even better place to enjoy a craft beer or a glass of aromatic wine.

Within 90 minutes’ drive of Nelson are three national parks each with a distinct look and feel. Abel Tasman National Park is home to stretches of golden sandy beaches, turquoise blue coastline and some of the region’s most popular hikes. Kahurangi National Park is the backdrop for many scenes from the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, and it proudly showcases a stunning variety of native plants and wildlife. Nelson Lakes National Park is home to the crystal waters of Lake Rotoiti and an abundance of protected native bush.

Popular onshore activities in Nelson

  • Set within 7 acres of peaceful gardens is Hoglund Art Glass. Watch glass blowers create intricate pieces right in front of you. 
  • Gander at the talent of artists and craftspeople from the region at Nelson's weekend markets. 
  • Enjoy a cold beer at one of Nelson's craft breweries, or follow the Nelson Craft Beer Trail. 
  • Ten minutes from the city is the World of WearableArt Museum; a fascinating gallery that houses garments from New Zealand's unique World of WearableArt show. 
  • Take a helicopter tour to explore the filming locations used in the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movie trilogies. 
  • Embark on a day trip to stunning Golden Bay and take a guided safari to Farewell Spit - an area that has been a bird sanctuary since the 1930's. 

Getting around

When disembarking on Main Wharf South, there is pedestrian access onto Wakefield Quay. From here it is approximately 10 minutes' walk into the city. 

From all other wharves, the port shuttle is required to exit the port. 

The Nelson i-SITE Visitor Information Centre is a great place to obtain maps and information about the region. It is lcoated on the corner of Trafalgar and Halifax Streets. 

On foot

Nelson city's many attractions, shops and restaurants are easily accessible on foot. 

To visit the surrounding Tasman region you will need to arrange a vehicle. 

Public buses

NBus operates regular services between Nelson City, Stoke, Tahunaunui Beach, Richmond and return. Fares range from $2.50 to $4.00 one-way, depending on distance. Contact Nelson i-SITE Visitor Centre for a timetable. 


Taxis are easy to find in Nelson. Contact Nelson City Taxis on freephone 0800 10 88 55 or Sun City Taxis on freephone 0800 422 666. 

Car rental

It's recommended that you book your rental car in advance. Find a rental car in Nelson. 

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