Known for its sunshine and natural beauty, Nelson is perfect for outdoor activities from skydiving to sea kayaking and hiking.
It's also known for top-quality wine and for a diverse range of New Zealand art galleries stocked by local artists. Drive just over an hour south to the beautiful Nelson Lakes region to the village of St Arnaud, nestled in the forest on the shores of Lake Rotoiti. Just a snowball's throw away is Rainbow Ski Area – paradise was never this good!
Nelson is an appealing seaside city with a thriving arts community. Before or after you hit the slopes, take some time to relax and explore the city's craft galleries and eateries (the seafood in this part of the world is superb!).
Pay a visit to the very popular The Honest Lawyer Country Pub [1 Point Road, Monaco, Nelson t: +64 3 547 4070]. Breakfast at Lambretta's [204 Hardy Steet, Nelson t: +64 3 545 8555] or Morrison Street Café [244 Hardy Street, Nelson t: +64 3 548 8110]. Don't miss the ice cream at Penguino Ice Cream Café [Montgomery Square, Nelson t: +64 3 545 6450]. Head to Stefano's [91 Trafalgar Steet, Nelson t: +64 3 546 7350] for pizza!
The gateway to Nelson Lakes National Park and Rainbow Ski Area, Nelson Lakes is a rugged rural area set against a stunning alpine backdrop. The major centres are Murchison, which lies beside the Buller River, and the alpine village of St Arnaud.
Need to Know
Where's the Snow?
Rainbow Ski Area
Population Nelson 45,900. Average July temperature Nelson 7˚C. Main centres Nelson, Motueka, Takaka, Murchison, St Arnaud.
Air Nelson Airport, 15 minutes from the city, offers domestic flights. Road 6 hours, 5 minutes from Christchurch; 1 hour, 35 minutes from Picton. Several coach companies offer regular services to and from the region.
Car rental is easy at outlets around the city. Public buses operate around Nelson and shuttles operate to Rainbow Ski Area from Nelson, Motueka and Blenheim, as well as from the bottom car park to the Rainbow car park. There are also regular coach services from Nelson to Abel Tasman National Park.
To Rainbow Ski Area from: Nelson 1 hour, 30 min; Blenheim 1 hour, 20 min; Murchison 1 hour, 20 min; St Arnaud 40 min.