Located on the Tasman Bay in the north of South Island is the city of Nelson, a bright, sunny and happy place to spend the weekend. For those who don’t know much about Nelson, read on to discover some interesting facts that will inspire you to visit!
Not only is Nelson the oldest city in the South Island, but it’s the second oldest city in New Zealand! Established in 1841, it was finally declared as a city in 1858. The oldest known building can be found at 29 Bridge St, which, through the years, has been used as a multi-purpose store, selling goods like candy, sewing machines, petrol and even lingerie!
2. Crystal Clear
Everything is literally beautiful in Nelson. The waters are the clearest in the region, which has even been backed up by the Guinness Book of World Records! If you head to Te Waikoropupu Springs in Golden Bay, you’ll discover one of the the largest and freshest bodies of water in the world.
The water here is so clear that scientists have even claimed that if you place it under a microscope, it reaches the the ‘optically pure water’ level, meaning it’s clearer than crystal! Nelson also sees a lot of sunshine and holds the record for the most hours of natural light in the country in a year (2711 hours) and a month (336 hours).
3. The Home of Rugby
We know us Kiwis love our rugby, so it should come as no surprise to find out that the first rugby game ever played in the country was between Nelson College and Nelson Rugby Club! This legendary event happened back in May of 1870 and the rest is history. You can thank Charles John Monro aka the Father of New Zealand Rugby for bringing the game to the country!
Speaking of rugby, Nelson is also the first place in the world to build a playing field that is made up entirely of glass! Well, the bed is at least. Over 2800 tonnes of glass were recycled and ground up into sand and placed under the grass on the field. A great way of utilising sustainable material that’s readily available, as opposed to disrupting the natural resources of sand.
5. Fly a Kite
Do you know what else you can find in Nelson? The longest running kite festival in New Zealand! Yes, kites! Kite fliers from all around the world head down to Nelson’s Neale Park once a year to fly and discuss all things kite related! With food stalls, buggy rides and face painting, it has become a staple in Nelson tradition!
6. Lord of the Rings
We love The Lord of the Rings as much as the next person, and if you’re obsessed with the blockbuster trilogy, you might like to know that the legendary ring itself was crafted by a local of Nelson! Renowned ring maker, Jens Hansen, designed and created the ring from scratch, and you can pick up replicas at his store with your own custom Elvish inscriptions carved into it.
Home to the two biggest fish processing companies in the country, Port Nelson is also the largest fishing port in the whole of Australasia! Processing roughly 220,000 tonnes of fish a year, the most common species found in the waters around here are Hoki, which makes up 90,000 tonnes (or roughly 40%) of the total catch. Amazing!