Took me a while to get round to exploring this part of New Zealand but saved some of the best for last.
Beautiful setting at the top of the South Island, and gateway to the Abel Tasman Coastal Track and Heaphy Track Great Walks.
Plenty of hills surround Nelson, providing stunning views across town and Tasman Bay toward Abel Tasman National Park. Some of the best views can be found from along Princes Road, and from the Centre of NZ.
Nelson is home to some beautiful 19th century buildings. Dating back to the 1850s Broadgreen Historic House and Isel House are impressive family homes surrounded by attractive gardens. Melrose House dates from 1879 and is home to one of the best cafes in town.
One of the best museums in the country, home to a huge range of historic buildings and other things, including a Bristol Freighter plane.
While nothing spectacular there are some rather pleasant gardens in Nelson. The most attractive are Queen’s Gardens in town, which includes a number of bridges and a small Chinese garden. Miyazu Japanese Gardens are worth a quick wander, as are Gardens of the World out toward Brightwater.
Road from Nelson to Picton
Pretty scenic even by New Zealand standards…
Accessed via Havelock on the road from Nelson to Picton, this is the largest of the Marlborough Sounds. Take the mail boat for a wonderful day on the water.
Usually passed through on the way to or from Wellington on the ferry but well worth stopping at for a few days. There are great views of Queen Charlotte Sound from The Snout and Karaka Point, and the Edwin Fox Maritime Museum is an absolute must do.
Quite different to Nelson and Picton, inland, flat and surrounded by endless vineyards. A wine lovers paradise, and if you want some great food with it then you can’t go wrong with lunch or dinner at Rock Ferry Winery.
Very pleasant place for a stroll.
The Blenheim equivalent of Nelson’s Founders Park, only free and not a patch on it if still worth a quick wander.
Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre
Home to Peter Jackson’s collection of WW1 planes and memorabilia, presented in a far more interesting and dynamic fashion than is usually the case. Well worth a day trip just to visit.
Pretty amazing from the Pelorus Mail Boat or on the Interislander ferry from Wellington, but even better from the air…