Nelson’s sunshine and landscape make it a fantastic holiday destination – all year round.
We’ve lived in Nelson for 35 years and may have become a bit biased, but here are our thoughts.
Cafes and Restaurants
We have lots of favourites but here are a few of the most popular cafes and restaurants in Nelson:
On the waterfront there is a great selection. These restaurants are only a 10 minute walk from the accommodation. Bookings are suggested … the Boatshed – great seafood restaurant sitting over the water. Across the road is the Harbour Lights restaurant – nice views and a good selection. We regularly visit the Boathouse which is next to the yacht club. It is a private club BUT at lunch time on Wednesday, Thursday & Friday & Friday nights it’s open to the public. Great food, good prices and magic sitting over the water. For a casual meal the Styx restaurant is great … also on the waterfront.
This year the top half of Trafalgar Street has been closed off and it offers a wonderful atmosphere. You can enjoy casual dining, drinks at The Vic, Bacco or Harry’s Bar. For fine dining you can choose from Nelson’s best rated restaurant – Hopgoods or at the top of the street is the Cod and Lobster …. they have the most fantastic drinks menu! Not to be forgotten is Urban Bar and Eatery, Little India and Char all on Hardy Street.
Nelson has some fantastic coffee made locally. We love Sublime coffee house on Haven Road. For great coffee and food Lambretta’s on Hardy Street is a must. Also River Kitchen which is down by Nelson’s I-Site and sits by the local Maitai River. Red Gallery on Bridge Street does a great scone and has some wonderful local art and crafts to browse. The Suter Café is in the local Art Gallery and has a wonderful outlook onto the Queen’s Gardens.
If you like fish…to cook yourself…the best fish market in NZ if not the world is Guyton’s Fish Shop along the waterfront…tell them what kind of fish you prefer and they will give you what you like. A good fish for the bar-b-que is Tarikihi. They have mussels too.
Out of Nelson… At the wharf in Mapua, the Jellyfish Cafe & Bar is good and the Apple Shed restaurant is worth trying. The Golden Bear Brewery has a wide range of brews and sometimes good live music.
In the Moutere you will find two very nice vineyards…Neudorf and Mahana are both excellent spots to visit and taste some of our regions best wines.
For the best breads in Nelson try Tozzettis on Vanguard Street. They offer lovely (not so healthy) sweet treats too. For the best sourdough bread, try Rodrigoes…they sell in the market on Saturdays and have just opened a store on Hardy Street.
This is a must do if you are in Nelson on a Saturday morning. It runs every Saturday thoughout the year and showcases some of Nelsons best arts, crafts and foods. We get most of our vegetables there and often enjoy a donut, sausage, pancake or whitebait patty. It is situated in the centre of town in the Montgomery Car Park (between Hardy St and Bridge St). Starts at 7.30am and runs through to approx. 1.30pm.
Local Things to Do
Within a 15-30 minute drive of the accommodation is Tahunanui Beach. A safe family beach with HydroSlide, Minigolf, Skating Rink, Mega Slide and Go-Karts. Richmond has the Mall, Action Indoor Centre and just past Richmond there are two great swimming rivers … the Lee and the Aniseed. Each river has numerous swimming holes and bbq areas. Further out there are many wineries, art galleries, potteries and food stops.
Also within this area there are some fantastic walks and mountainbike tracks. Two of the favourite areas for mountainbiking are the Codgers/Dun Mountain area … 5 minutes from Nelson City and Silvan Park … 20 minutes from Nelson City.
Explore the Region
The beauty Further out from Nelson to the West is Mapua which is full of shops and cafes, Motueka and then on to the famous beaches of Kaiteriteri and the Abel Tasman National Park. The Abel Tasman is one of Nelson’s real gems and a must do for visitors. You can catch a ferry up and walk out or just enjoy the beach and catch the ferry back. There are lots of kayaking options also.
Over the Takaka hill and you are into Golden Bay with its relaxed hippie vibe. At the northern most tip is Farewell Spit which hosts the world renowned sactuary.
Just over an hours drive to the South is the Nelson Lakes National Park where you can boat, mountainbike and walk. This is an alpine area which beech forests and native bird life. There are a couple of little cafes to enjoy here also.
To the East is Havelock (50 mins drive), the Queen Charlotte Sounds and Blenheim. There are a great amount of wineries in the Blenheim area and the Queen Charlotte is a good walking track.