A great part of Nelson’s charm lies on its doorstep, particularly the excellent wineries to the west. Here the vines appreciate the combination of New Zealand’s sunniest climate and either the free-draining alluvial gravels of the Waimea Plains or the clay gravels of the Moutere Hills. Wineries are interspersed with the studios of a number of contemporary artists working in the Nelson region, many of whom exhibit in their own small galleries, showcasing ceramics, glass-blowing, woodturning, textiles, sculpture, installations and painting.

Almost everywhere of interest is located on or just off the much straightened SH60, which runs north from Richmond towards Motueka through rural scenery and sea views. A couple of kilometres north along SH60, the Moutere Highway cuts left for Upper Moutere, while Redwood Road turns right past the Seifried winery and on to the picture-book-pretty Rabbit Island, one of Nelson’s most popular beaches.

You can sample the best of the region on an extended drive from Nelson to Motueka, but there’s enough on offer to warrant spending a couple of leisurely days. Equip yourself with the Nelson Wine Guide, Nelson Great Beer Trail, Nelson’s Creative Pathways and Nelson Potters leaflets, all free and available from visitor centres. A few kilometres further north, Motueka is the most practical base and provides the easiest access for trips into the Abel Tasman National Park.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

New Zealand features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Quiz: where should you go for an adventure in New Zealand?

Quiz: where should you go for an adventure in New Zealand?

With spectacular mountains, incredible lakes and sprawling national parks, New Zealand makes for the adventure of a lifetime. The locals call it “Godzone” (…

15 Dec 2017 • Aimee White help Quiz
Everything you need to know about backpacking New Zealand

Everything you need to know about backpacking New Zealand

New Zealand’s craggy coastline and beautiful national parks beg to be explored. The scenery gets more spectacular around every corner, with beaches, vineyards…

21 Nov 2017 • Rachel Mills insert_drive_file Article
The most beautiful country in the world – as voted by you

The most beautiful country in the world – as voted by you

There's nothing like an amazing view to inspire you to book your next trip, whether you're drawn by rolling countryside, isolated islands or soaring mountain …

30 Aug 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right