Spend some time in Nelson, a city into the South Island of New Zealand that prides itself on its small town charm and its big time landscape.
Nelson Airport (NSN)
One of the busiest domestic airports in the country, Nelson Airport (NSN) sees around 1.2 million people travel through its port. Though Nelson Airport is small, it is fully formed. With access to an ATM, private lounges, free WiFi and a café to grab a bite to eat in, making it perfect for domestic transit.
Airlines to Nelson
Nelson only offers flights from a few airline carriers, and these are Air New Zealand, Sounds Air, air2there and Originair.
Getting into Nelson
Nelson City Taxis are the company that operate out of the airport, and these are located outside the terminal. The journey takes around 15-20 minutes and costs around 17NZD ($15.5).
The other option is to take the airport shuttles, which can take you door-to-door also, but if you are only one travelling adult, it is a fairly expensive option. However, if you are a large party not able to fit in a cab, this is a good choice, costing roughly 39NZD ($35.5) for six adults one-way.
Renting a car in New Zealand is a popular way to travel around the country, and Nelson Airport has many car hire companies on site that you can rent from. These are operated by Avis, Budget, Hertz, Thrift and NZ Rentacar.
What is there to do in Nelson?
Unlike its windy neighbour, Wellington, Nelson has one of the nicest climates in New Zealand, frequently likened to the Mediterranean for its sunny, seaside temperatures. However, visitors to the Nelson Tasman region are here for the pull of its outdoor activities, and with three national parks, and a coastline to die for, there’s plenty to sink your teeth into.
Considered the cycling capital of the country, biking enthusiasts from all over the world come to test their mettle against the Dun Mountain and Tasman’s Great Taste trails, tough mountain biking tracks that would put any cyclist to the test.
However, if you’d rather walk than ride, head out on the Heaphy Track in Kahurangi National Park, known for its changing topography. For water babies, you can’t go wrong in Nelson Lakes National Park where white water rafting, and jet-boating along the rivers and lakes are commonplace. Then there is the Abel Tasman National Park, found sprawling against Tasman Bay, where turquoise waters lap at pristine beaches.
Culturally, Nelson is a fascinating city; the home of eight indigenous tribes, and then settled by Europeans in the 18th century, Nelson brings that history to bear in its architecture, and in its flourishing art scene. The most popular showcasing event that takes place here is World of WearableArt (WOW for short), for jewellery and crafts. And within the city, the Hoglund Art Glass studio is a fixture of the town.
When should you go?
As Nelson is in the South Island, going in the winter months (June-July) will leave a very chilly impression with average lows hitting around 6°C. Summer (December-February) is warm and pleasant, with mean highs of 20-22°C.
What do you need to know?
Currency: New Zealand Dollar (NZD)
Visa: Some nationalities do not need a visa to travel through New Zealand in the short term, but most will need to apply for a visa. Find out if you are eligible for a visa-on-arrival, and how to apply for a visa in advance of your trip by checking the official government website for details.
Please note all information is current as of October 2015.
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