Situated right up in the north of the South Island, Nelson is known as the sunniest city in New Zealand. The weather here is beautiful, especially in the summer, when it draws its biggest crowds.
Tahunanui Beach, which is a short drive from the town centre, is popular with locals and tourists, families, and kite-surfers. Between the beach and Nelson's natural harbour are several trendy bistros that are known for their fine cuisine.
The city centre can satisfy the appetites of all sorts of travelers. For the arty one, there are museums and art galleries. For the music lover, there are annual music festivals held in Nelson and nearby towns. A foodie will love hanging out in Nelson, checking out its various restaurants, cafes, and pubs -- and be spoilt for choice. And if you just want to do some shopping, the city centre can offer you just about whatever you need.
Nelson is a good starting point for travelers heading to the famous Abel Tasman National Park. It is a place you have to visit if you are in the region. Whether you decide to hike or kayak, you will be rewarded with breathtaking views of the Tasman region and if you are lucky, you might get a close encounter with a playful seal cub. Nelson is also home to the geographical centre of New Zealand. It is situated on Botanical Hill and is one of the most popular walks. It takes about thirty minutes for the uphill climb and, while it may be tough for some, no one ever regrets the walk when they see Nelson from the top of the hill.
Finally, there is no lack of Nelson hostels for the budget traveler. You want to stay right in town? By the beach? In a quiet neighbourhood? No problem -- there are hostels everywhere (they are some of the highest rated ones under BBH, New Zealand's hostel network, and there is a very good reason for that).