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Nelson City Guide

Whether Nelson is your intended destination or just a brief stopover on the way to your new home, we have compiled this guide to help you get your bearings on arrival. To obtain more details about the city check out the websites listed at the end of this profile.



The population of Nelson is around 47,000, which is about 1% of New Zealand’s population. There is an increasing number of immigrants especially from the UK, Germany and the United States.


Nelson is the geographic centre of New Zealand. Situated at the top of the South Island, Nelson is approximately 2 hours drive from Picton which is a main port in the South Island and provides passenger connection by sea between the North and South Islands.


Nelson has a diverse industry base, the four main areas, farming, tourism, seafood and forestry provide much of the regions employment and provide a steady and growing economy for the area.

Dining Out

Nelson is at the centre of many fresh foods giving restaurants a vast selection of fresh farm vegetables, seafood and vine ripened fruit which provide a fine culinary experience at any restaurant table.Nelson is famous for its Tasman Bay Scallops and is the largest fishing port in Australiasia.

Local Transport

Nelson is a relatively small city and most commute by car which can cause a lot of congestion during peak times. There is a limited bus service for the 4 routes that cover the main surrounding areas of the city.

Performing Arts

Nelson is well known as a performing arts centre of New Zealand. Nelson is home to the Wearable Arts Museum where many of the entries to the annual competition are stored. Music is also a lively part of this small city and the Nelson School of Music is well know for its contemporary music programme in which has been the birth place of many of New Zealand’s finest musicians. The school has contributed to the energetic music scene in Nelson for over 100 years

Recreation and Sport

There is so much going on in Nelson in terms of recreation. Of course you are near a large port which allows for boating and fishing expeditions and then the nearby national parks like Nelson Lakes district provide ample opportunity to explore and enjoy your favourite activities.

If you are a sports enthusiast there are many annual sporting events that you can participate in also centered around cycling, mountain biking and running. These competitions usually involve scenic routes, so as well as getting fit you can enjoy what Nelson has to offer.


Temperatures range from 2 degrees C – 22 degrees celcius. The snow fall contributes to the colder temperatures however it is uncommon for the snow to fall in the lowlands.

Nelson on the net

Nelson City Council

Tourism Nelson

Nelson Regional Economic Development Agency


GMT +12 Standard NZ time.From September to March one hour of daylight saving time applies.




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