The Art and Culture of Nelson, New Zealand

Nelson, the main urban hub at the top of the South Island, is known as the creative arts capital of New Zealand. The majestic area is home to over 300 working artists who draw on the beauty of the natural environment, spectacular scenery and gentle coastal landscapes to create arts and crafts reflecting New Zealand’s culture and way of life. Located along the banks of Tasman Bay, Nelson is just over 400km north of Christchurch.

Nelson Arts

Nelson offers a real cultural experience when you visit the many galleries and museums showcasing New Zealand’s works. The Suter, RED Art Gallery, Nelson Provincial Museum and South Street Gallery are just a few of the places you’ll be able to see works from local and international artists, or if you want to meet the passionate people behind the artwork, head to the local markets held in Nelson each Saturday.

For something a little different, visit the World of WearableArt and Classic Cars Museum, also known as WOW, where you’ll see wearable art by designers from all over the world and a world class private collection of cars.

The Great Outdoors

Nelson is surrounded by three magnificent National Parks all offering something unique and different. Abel Tasman National Park, located on the coastline with crystal clear waters is popular for sea-kayaking, walking, swimming and canyoning.

The largest of the three parks, Kahurangi National Park, is popular for hiking, fishing, hunting and mountain bike riding while Nelson Lakes National Park attracts visitors for the walks, trout fishing and snow skiing.

For those who like to cycle, Tasman’s Great Taste Trail offers a scenic easy ride with panoramic coastal views over Tasman Bay, Waimea Estuary and the Western Ranges including Mt Arthur and the Mt Tasman Mountain range. The self-guided ride passes roadside stalls, wineries, craft breweries, galleries, boutique shops, cafés and restaurants.

Festivals and Events in Nelson

Nelson is the host to many events throughout the year. Wine, craft beer, food, live music and performing arts events are held in the warmer months while Winter and Spring see more sporting events come to town. During October, The Nelson Arts Festival runs for almost two weeks bringing concerts, live music and an art exhibition displaying more than 1,500 artworks, some of which are for sale.

Accommodation in Nelson

While exploring all that the top end of New Zealand’s South Island has to offer, stay at The Honest Lawyer, Ascend Hotel Collection furnished in true English country-style with picture-perfect views of the Waimea Estuary, Tasman Bay and the mountains in the distance.

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