Photo of Nelson

About Nelson

The oldest city on the South Island, Nelson overlooks spectacular Tasman Bay, Abel Tasman National Park and the mountains beyond. A small, appealingly walkable waterfront city, Nelson is popular with families, couples or groups of friends eager to make the most of its museums, restaurants and plethora of outdoorsy activities. Intimate and welcoming, accommodation options are spread between the city centre and the picturesque surrounding countryside. Selected for their style and amenities, our pick of the best places to stay in Nelson also boast breathtaking views!

A lively little city, Nelson will be a sure-fire hit with history and culture buffs. Take guided walking tours, amble along striking South Street, pop into the Art Deco Cathedral, or delve into the past at the Nelson Provincial Museum and Founders Heritage Park. The Nelson Classic Car Museum is another favourite. The city is also filled with excellent cafés and restaurants, many of which specialise in seafood. For fresh produce, don’t miss the Saturday morning market in Montgomery Square.

Active travellers can mountain bike part of the 174km Great Taste Trail, sampling craft beer, wine and food, or go hiking, birdwatching and wildlife spotting in Abel Tasman National Park. The Nelson region is also brilliant for climbing, rafting, fishing, kayaking and sailing. If you’re looking for a more laid-back day out, take the little ones to superb Tahunanui Beach & Reserve, before kicking back on your private terrace at one of the best places to stay in Nelson.

The Best Places to Stay in Nelson

For a Charming B&B

  • Retiro Park Lodge promises a relaxing stay within a 90-acre property, where the owners rear llamas, alpacas and miniature horses. Pick one of two spacious suites, take a dip in the pool, enjoy big homecooked breakfasts and taste wine and olives from the lodge's own land with winemaker Victor.
  • Villa Victoria B&B is housed in a century-old villa facing the ocean in central Nelson. Cosy up in a big double bedroom with antique furnishings and striking sea views, feast on homemade breakfasts on the terrace or unwind in the sitting room. The adjoining twin room is good for families or friends. Co-owner Kerry is a celebrant and expert wedding planner, specialising in intimate celebrations at the villa.
  • Accent House B&B has three modern rooms and one two-bedroom suite with garden views near Mapua. There's a hot tub, excellent bike storage, and easy access to the area's impressive art trail. Cycle, hike or hit the beach as a couple or family with teenagers. Owner-run and very relaxed.

For Families or Groups

  • The Wheelhouse Inn is made up of five nautically decorated self-catering apartments in Nelson's Port Hills. Three — Crow’s Nest, Captain's Quarters & Chart House Upper Deck — have two bedrooms, and are brilliant for friends or famillies travelling togther. Cook up a storm in the kitchen, play board games in the sitting room and admire dazzling views from your private terrace. Book multiple apartments for a big group trip.

For Big Events

  • The Honest Lawyer offers great events spaces for big conferences and weddings. A traditionally styled hotel on the Monaco Peninsula, close to Nelson's airport, the property has a rustic barn, private banquet hall and courtyard for events. Families and groups are well-catered for, with flexible room options, kids' menus, lots of outdoor seating and hearty pub fare.

For Intimate Luxury

  • Te Koi Lodge offers expansive views over the Waimea Estuary from five chic, contemporary suites and villas. Unwind in the swimming pool and lovely gardens before tucking in to gourmet fare crafted by Chef Ali, paired with South Island wines chosen by sommelier Ian Metcalfe. An indulgent romantic escape. Families and groups of friends are also welcome.


  • If you'd prefer a self-catering option, we suggest that you visit our online partner Booking.com.


  • Fly to Nelson Airport from Wellington, Christchurch or Auckland. Alternatively, hop aboard the ferry from Wellington to Picton. Continue your journey into the city by bus or taxi.
  • New Zealand is famously wonderful for a road trip! Contact our online partner Rentalcars if you would like to hire a car.
  • Travel during the spring or summer for the best weather, with temperatures peaking around 18-22°C between December and April. For a quieter trip and great deals, look at May or October-November, though these months will be cooler and showers more frequent.



Monthly Weather in Nelson

Best Hotels in Nelson

  • The Honest Lawyer Nelson (Monaco Peninsula) 46 rooms from £72

    Business meetings  -  Flexible events spaces, including a private dining room, courtyard & banquet hall are ideal for business meetings and functions
    Weddings  -  Get married with scenic views on The Point Lawn, and celebrate in the rustic barn, formal banquet hall or courtyard dance floor
    Wine tasting  -  Held every 6 weeks, 'Vine & Dine' evenings are a four-course celebration of local produce paired with Marlborough wines
    Traditional  -  Styled to resemble a traditional English pub, The Honest Lawyer is a Nelson institution
    RestaurantGardenViewsParkingNo pets

    Perched on Nelson's Monaco Peninsula, this traditional hotel offers spectacular Waimea Estuary views. Think exposed wooden beams in cosy guest rooms and hearty regional fare in the classic pub. Event spaces — a rustic barn, private banquet hall and courtyard — are ideal for fun weddings. See More

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  • Villa Victoria B&B Nelson 2 rooms from £99

    Families  -  The double bedroom and attached twin room make this a great pick for a family trip. There are games for little ones, too!
    Weddings  -  Co-owner Kerry is a brilliant celebrant, organising intimate villa weddings with epic sea views
    Kayaking  -  Borrow the villa's kayaks and launch them into the nearby sea for a paddle around the bay
    Great walks  -  Hike the Heaphy Track or the Abel Tasman Coast Track — two of NZ's 'Great Walks'
    Air conditioningGardenPet friendlyViewsParking

    An intimate heritage villa B&B with stunning Tasman Bay views in Nelson. The spacious double bedroom and interconnecting twin room boast vintage pieces and big windows — as well as an inviting terrace. The friendly owners offer generous breakfasts and specialise in organising superb small weddings! See More

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  • The Wheelhouse Inn Nelson 10 rooms from £106

    Families  -  The two-bedroom Crow’s Nest, Captain's Quarters & Chart House Upper Deck are great for families or groups
    Value chic  -  A great value choice for longer stays or those keen to self-cater, the houses have well-equipped kitchens
    Local markets  -  The Saturday Market in Montgomery Car Park showcases some of Nelson's best arts, crafts and food
    Views  -  Panoramic views over Tasman Bay from Nelson's Port Hills
    Air conditioningGardenViewsParking

    A collection of five nautically decorated houses and apartments in Nelson's Port Hills. Mesmerising Tasman Bay views are a highlight. Expect well-equipped kitchens, blue-and-yellow sitting rooms and private terraces, as well as additional beds for little ones. For families or groups. See More

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  • Retiro Park Lodge Nelson 2 rooms from £173

    Country Escape  -  A charming rural house covered in wisteria and set in 90 acres of farmland filled with miniture ponies and alpacas - idyllic
    Groups  -  With just two rooms this is the perfect property for two couples or a small group of friends
    Kayaking  -  Explore the coastline from Cable Bay Beach
    Swimming Pool  -  A tranquil and inviting outdoor pool
    Swimming PoolGardenViewsParkingNo pets

    A charming little lodge set in 90 acres of picturesque and rugged farmland with miniature ponies and alpacas dotted across it. The two rooms are spacious and traditionally styled with antiques, wooden floors and lovely views. An idyllic rural hideaway well suited for couples or small groups. See More

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  • Accent House B&B Nelson (Mapua Village) 4 rooms from £192

    Other Activities  -  The creative arts centre of NZ, this area is home to 300+ working artists — visit galleries & studios or attend workshops
    Local exploring  -  Ideal for exploring the arts & crafts hub that is the Nelson area, as well as taking day trips to National Parks
    Great walks  -  Follow hiking & cycling trails in the the Abel Tasman National Park, Kahurangi National Park & Nelson Lakes National Park
    Fishing  -  Enjoy world-class fly fishing in crystal clear river waters
    Air conditioningGardenDisabled accessViewsParkingNo pets

    Set in friendly coastal Mapua, this relaxing B&B is ideal for couples, friends or families with teenagers looking to cycle, hike & follow the area's impressive art trail. Three modern rooms & one two-bedroom suite have garden views. There's bike storage & an inviting hot tub overlooking the lagoon. See More

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  • Te Koi Lodge Nelson (Mapua) 5 rooms from £500

    Foodies  -  Experienced chef Ali & sommelier Ian Metcalfe create delectable dishes using regional produce paired with South Island wines
    Romantic Break  -  Stunning luxury rooms and suites offer expansive views from private decks - an idyllic romantic escape
    Trekking  -  Nature trails, bird watching and wildlife spotting abound in Abel Tasman National Park
    Restaurant  -  Three-course gourmet dinners showcase the best local produce and seasonal delicacies
    Air conditioningTennisRestaurantSwimming PoolGardenViews

    Luxury suites and villas set on Nelson's Bronte Peninsula with views across Waimea Estuary. Chic, modern and elegant rooms with private terraces and verandas. With a heated outdoor swimming pool amid lovely landscaped gardens, and gourmet dining plus award winning wines. Luxurious and indulgent! See More

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