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Nelson Tasman

Nelson-Tasman often tops New Zealand’s sunshine hours. It also boasts golden beaches and productive tourism, wine, horticulture and fishing industries.

Often known as ‘the top of the south’, Nelson Tasman takes up the north eastern corner of the South Island. The main centre, Nelson city (population 46,000) is a 5 hour drive from Christchurch. By air, Nelson is just 30 minutes from Wellington, 40 minutes from Christchurch, and about 1½ hours from Auckland.

Nelson’s coast is notable for two huge, shallow bays - Tasman Bay and Golden Bay. The interior is hilly and mountainous with attractive lakes and areas of limestone and marble which feature deep caves and sinkholes. Te Waikoropupu (Pupu) springs, said to produce the clearest fresh water in the world, is part of the southern hemisphere’s deepest known cave system.

With its warm climate, spectacular scenery and access to various marine playgrounds, Nelson-Tasman is one of our fastest growing regions and popular as a retirement and lifestyle destination.


Nelson Tasman is known for its beautiful reserves and national parks which offer excellent walking and tramping. There are many outdoor recreation options, from kayaking in the Abel Tasman Park to walking the Heaphy Track, one of New Zealand’s nine ‘great walks’.

The coasts and lakes are ideal for swimming, boating, sailing and fishing. Golden Bay particularly is famous for its unspoilt sandy beaches and is popular with alternative lifestylers for its fertile farmland and distance from mainstream society.

Nelson city is smart and well developed. Its thriving local arts and craft scene includes some of New Zealand’s best visual artists, potters, glass blowers and wood carvers, and the city offers a full range of amenities including excellent cafes and restaurants.

Economy and industry

The region’s economy has four main drivers - horticulture, fishing, forestry and tourism.

Nelson’s port is the largest deep sea fishing port in Australasia.

Horticulture includes apples, pears, kiwifruit and hops. Viticulture and winemaking is developing strongly with craft beer brewing becoming increasingly popular.


The Nelson Tasman region is known for warm summers and cool winters. Average maximum summertime temperatures range from 21-24°C with the highest recorded reaching 36.3°C. Average winter maximums range around 13-14°C.

Winter can be stormy but generally Nelson enjoys one of the best climates of all major New Zealand centres.

Migrant population

Many migrants have already made Nelson Tasman home. The table below shows where these migrants are moving from and demonstrates the diverse population you can expect to find in Nelson Tasman.

It can be comforting to know there are others, similar to you, who have experienced the move.

Country of origin No. of migrants
UK and Ireland 2,856
Asia 909
Europe (excl. UK and Ireland) 738
Australia 681
Pacific Islands 516


Now that you know about what Nelson Tasman has to offer, have a read about everyday life in the region, and services and support you can access.




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