This region is one of the top destinations for travelers to New Zealand. Situated in the north-west corner of the South Island, it is surrounded by sheltering mountain ranges, resulting in a Mediterranean-type climate. In addition to the attractive weather – more sunshine hours than any other part of New Zealand – it is the home of three of the best National Parks in the country and some of the finest beaches.
The tropical coves of the Abel Tasman National Park (named after Dutch explorer Abel Tasman, the first European to sight New Zealand) are near the top of many travellers’ to-do list when coming to New Zealand. With an early enough departure time, it is possible to make a satisfying day trip to the park and be back in Nelson by evening, as many travellers have done before you. Beyond, Kahurangi National Park, the second-largest in the country, is a vast wilderness of rocks, trees and rivers, perfect for trampers. Finally, Nelson Lakes boasts more than just said lakes, but also the forested edges of the mighty Southern Alps.
The Department of Conservation (DOC) looks after all these areas on behalf of the public. People who want to spend the night in any of the Parks will first have to contact DOC. Although there are plenty of tracks you can do on your own, it may be advantageous, and sometimes safer, to explore some of the area using the expertise and local knowledge of guides.
The links pages give access to information on tramping, kayaking, diving, sailing, paragliding, skydiving etc. You’ll soon notice that Nelson and the surrounding area deserve more than just a few days’ stay. There is quite a bit of beauty to take in, and some of these special moments can get lost if you are too pressed for time. This distance calculator may be useful if you are still preparing your itinerary.