From the thriving art scene of Nelson, to the country’s smallest national park, this region has a lot to offer
New Zealand’s sunniest region has a diverse geography ripe for exploring from golden sand beaches to dense forests, the clearest fresh water lake in the world and secluded, enticing rivers. At the heart of it all is a creative, easy-going city deemed one of New Zealand’s most liveable.
The area boasts a thriving art scene with galleries and stalls to explore throughout Nelson city. Each weekend one of the country’s best markets is held just off the main street, selling everything from freshly picked cherries in summer, wood crafts, regional wines, fresh produce, vintage ware, every cuisine you can imagine and sublime coffee. It’s well worth a visit to get a taste of the laidback life lead by Nelsonians.
The region’s biggest attraction is the Abel Tasman National Park, the country’s smallest national park that frequents the front pages of tourist brochures with its dream-like golden sand beaches, emerald green waters and friendly fur seal population. Hike, boat or kayak into one of its many beaches and coves. The main gateways to the park are the small seaside town of Kaiteriteri which has boomed with extravagant houses of the rich and famous and the more rustic, low-key settlement Marahau.
While the Abel Tasman is the star of the region, Nelson area offers endless outdoor pursuits from swimming or fly fishing in its numerous and secluded rivers, to excellent hiking trails particularly in Nelson Lakes where you can head in over several days to reach what has recently been recognised as the clearest freshwater in the world at the Blue Lake.
Enjoy some of the best beaches New Zealand has to offer. Sea kayak in the crystal clear waters of the Abel Tasman to one of the many hidden bays and coves. Gaze at sea lions sunbathing on the rocks and finish the day relaxing on golden sandy beaches.
Our top Nelson and Abel Tasman example trips
Whatever you want your luxury tour or safari itinerary to include, we’ll create something fully bespoke for you… and only you.
Our favourite places to stay in Nelson and Abel Tasman
Split Apple Retreat$$$$$High above Tasman Bay, Split Apple Retreat offers both every indulgence as well as the promise of a focus on good health. This quiet Abel Tasman National Park luxury retreat and wellness hideaway is the ideal place to relax and pamper yourself in pristine surrounds. Two of the ocean-facing rooms, Fuji and Lotus, boast the best in Japanese-style luxury with private decks and gardens and Japanese granite baths. The third, Rainbow, a two-level room with a separate lounge, features colour-changing LED lights in the bath and shower. Split Apple retreat specialises in serving gourmet food with a focus on good health and mouth-watering presentation. The result of a collaboration between a doctor specialising in nutrition and a culinary artist, the retreat has become known for its dedication to fine food that promotes longevity. To ensure guests can continue eating mindfully at home, the chef guides budding culinary artists through a number of her popular dishes. Continuing the focus on wellness, there are a wide range of services to help guests unwind, relax and rejuvenate. Choose from a selection of massage treatments, learn how to meditate, or sign up for a private yoga session. The gym, infrared sauna, steam room and infinity pool leave guests feeling thoroughly refreshed. For adventuring beyond the lodge, private boats and water taxis land at Split Apple Beach to collect guests keen on visiting the Abel Tasman National Park.
Edenhouse$$$$$Get a taste of six-star luxury at Edenhouse, nestled in the serene Orinoco Valley in the heart of rural Nelson. This enchanting country retreat, set in 50 acres of private grounds and eight acres of internationally acclaimed gardens, offers guests a unique and memorable experience. There is one large luxurious suite in the main lodge, as well as two beautifully appointed and private cottages – the Folly Cottage with one bedroom and the Garden Cottage with two bedrooms. All rooms feature pure Irish linen sheets and deluxe toiletries. Edenhouse is furnished to a high standard, with the emphasis on comfort, understated luxury and attention to detail. As well as enjoying the sitting room, dining room, artists’ studio and library, guests can explore the expansive landscaped gardens and several courtyard areas. The picturesque valley has an abundance of native bird life. During summer the gardens offer a cool oasis, while open fires throughout the lodge ensure the winter months are toasty. Dinners at the lodge are prepared using fresh organic ingredients, and there are fine wines from local boutique wineries included on the menu. Mindful of the importance of complete relaxation, a highly-qualified team of therapists is on hand to provide a variety of therapeutic treatments to guests in the peace and privacy of their suites. Located at the top of South Island, bordered by rugged wilderness and golden beaches, the lodge is near to many popular tourist attractions, including The Abel Tasman National Park.
Te Koi - The Lodge at Bronte$$$$$Stroll along garden pathways towards the shoreline where your stylish suite awaits. Each of the apartment-style villas at Te Koi – The Lodge at Bronte is nestled among mature native trees, allowing for the ultimate in privacy. The spacious rooms are beautifully appointed with fresh flowers and locally commissioned art adding splashes of freshness and detail. Large windows and patio doors allow fresh country air and sunshine to flood the rooms, and luxurious linens, home baking, and complimentary drinks and chocolates make the welcome a little warmer. After a day of sight-seeing, relax on a wide veranda and enjoy the panoramic Waimea estuary and mountain views. The estuary is a dream for bird watchers, and the villas designed specifically to fit unobtrusively into the natural setting.