All-Weather and Indoor Activities in Nelson – Perfect for a Rainy Day!
If you catch a rainy day in New Zealand’s sunniest city, you’re going to feel pretty cheated. Nevertheless, Nelson still has plenty of indoor activities to keep you entertained during your visit. Be cultured by the selection of art galleries and museums, tickle your tastebuds at the surrounding breweries and wineries, and connect with your travel buddies or family at indoor entertainment centres. Check it all out with this list of things to do in Nelson on a rainy day.
And when the weather clears, be sure to have our list of the 15 Best Things to Do in Nelson City at the ready.
1. Go On a Nelson Art Crawl
Nelson and the surrounding region is a hub for creativity. The art galleries in Nelson are a great excuse to get out of the rain, be inspired and pick up some authentic souvenirs. Visit The Suter Art Gallery located in the heart of Nelson. See glassblowing in action at the Hoglund Glassblowing Studio in Richmond. Or how about checking out the pottery at the Alchemy Arts Centre in Richmond? Find more galleries in the area with our 11 Nelson Art Galleries That Will Inspire You.
Location: The Suter Art Gallery – 208 Bridge Street, Nelson city centre. Hoglund Glassblowing Studio – 7081/52 Lansdowne Road, Appleby. Alchemy Arts Centre – 92 Bateup Road, Richmond.
2. Do Some Tastings at the Local Breweries
Yep, New Zealand loves its beer! Nelson locals, in particular, give beer brewing a go with several fantastic breweries to visit in the suburb of Richmond. Visit Eddyline Brewery & Pizzeria, the Sprig & Fern Brewery and much more listed in the 8 Craft Breweries in Nelson You Have to Try. Visit the breweries independently or book a brewery-hopping tour with Wine, Art & Wilderness (more info on Viator or Tripadvisor), Nelson Tours and Travel or Day Out.
Location: Eddyline Brewery & Pizzeria – 8 Champion Road, Richmond. Sprig & Fern Brewery – 53 Beach Road, Richmond.
3. Sample Wines From the Nelson Wine Region
If you’re more of a wine-o then keep out of the rain the best way possible: with a glass of fabulous New Zealand wine in hand. In the Richmond and Hope area, the landscape is awash with vines and wineries waiting for their creations to be sampled. Visit the cellar doors of Nelson’s wineries and for a great thing to do on a rainy day in Nelson! See your options in 23 Nelson Wineries on the Nelson Wine Trail or let your tour guides do the work on a wine tour. Nelson Tours and Travel, Bay Tours and Wine, Art & Wilderness (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor) all offer winery-hopping tours to make the most of the Nelson wine region.
Location: Richmond and Hope – see the above link for specific wintery locations.
4. Visit The Nelson Provincial Museum
Expand your knowledge of the Nelson region at this fantastic museum in the heart of the city. The Nelson Provincial Museum has interactive and informative displays going through the natural and social history of Nelson Tasman, suitable for any age group. See more affordable experiences like this in the 14 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Nelson.
Location: Corner Trafalgar Street and Hardy Street, Nelson city centre.
5. Go Quad Biking at Cable Bay Adventure Park
Adventure can still be found in Nelson even on a rainy day. Jump on a quad bike tour at the Cable Bay Adventure Park with the idea that, well, quad biking is so much more fun (and muddier) in the rain! No experience is required, as you’ll get full instruction before you set off on an exciting journey through native forest and farmland. The tour takes approximately 1h30mins. Find out more on Viator and Tripadvisor.
Location: 194 Cable Bay Road, approximately 16km (10 miles) from Nelson city centre.
6. Tour Pic’s Peanut Butter World
Yes, Nelson is also home to one of New Zealand’s most-loved peanut butter brands, Pic’s Peanut Butter. Their factory is the base for making the favourite morning spread, as well as their factory tours on weekdays only. You’ll get to tour the working factory, taste creative peanut butter blends, and even try your hand at making your own. It’s fun for the whole family, as featured in the 10 Things to Do in Nelson with Kids.
Location: 49 Saxton Road, Stoke, approximately 11km (7 miles) from Nelson city centre.
7. Visit the Nelson Classic Car Museum
Discover a collection of beautifully restored classic cars all in one place at the Nelson Classic Car Museum. This indoor attraction features more than 150 immaculate vintage cars, from a 1908 Renault AX to 1950s Vauxhalls, Triumphs and Cadillacs and much more. The museum is a must for petrolheads.
Location: 1 Cadillac Way, Annesbrook, approximately 7km (4 miles) from Nelson city centre.
8. Get Competitive at the Action Centre
A fantastic place to blow off some steam and have fun with your mates or family, the Action Centre in Richmond offers a wealth of indoor sports activities. Have a go at tenpin bowling, play mini golf or experience virtual reality golf, play on the arcade games or let the kids loose at “Inflatable World”.
Location: 30 McPherson Street, Richmond.
9. Indulge in a Spa Day
Make the day that the weather isn’t playing ball the day you treat yourself to a spa day. In Nelson city, indulge in one of the massages, facials or beauty treatments with the Erban Spa Nelson, who also offer spa-and-dine packages with the city’s fine dining and high tea establishments. Woman Beauty Day Spa is another popular choice with treatments for both women and men, while Kimi Ora Eco Retreat in Kaiteriteri is well worth seeking out before or after your adventures in the Abel Tasman National Park. See more experiences like this in the 8 Luxury Activities in Nelson.
Location: Erban Spa Nelson – 14 Nile Street. Woman Beauty Day Spa – 26 New Street. Kimi Ora Eco Retreat – 99 Martin Farm Road, Kaiteriteri, approximately 61km (38 miles) from Nelson city centre.
10. Play Indoor Mini Golf
Mini golf is always fun, right? Play a game while keeping out of the rain at the Road Hogs Mini Golf. Play 18 holes with a road trip theme and a glow-in-the-dark section! The centre also has a virtual reality experience and other ever-changing indoor attractions.
Location: 15 Selwyn Place, Nelson city centre.
11. Go for a Jump at Flip Out
Exhaust the kids while staying out of the rain at Nelson’s indoor trampoline park. Flip Out has tons to keep the kids entertained between the foam pits, tumble track, parkour area, wall trampolines and climbing wall.
Location: 14 Pascoe Street, Annesbrook, approximately 6km (4 miles) from Nelson city centre.
12. Take a Look Around the Christ Church Cathedral
One of Nelson’s most iconic buildings, Christ Church Cathedral is open for visitors all day from 9am. Take a look around this grand Anglican cathedral, built in 1925, using materials from around the region.
Location: Trafalgar Square, Nelson city centre.
13. Check Out the One Ring
If you are a fan of The Lord of the Rings, not only should you be looking at 23 Lord of the Rings Locations You Can’t Miss in New Zealand, you should get down to Jens Hansen – The Ringmaker to see some of the real One Rings used in the movies. Just ask at the counter and the staff are usually happy to tell you more.
Location: Corner of Church Street and Selwyn Place, Nelson city centre.
14. Have an Extended Lunch or Dinner at Nelson’s Restaurants and Cafes
And if all else fails, simply sit down and dine at one of Nelson’s exquisite restaurants. We’ve already listed fine dining in The Luxury Guide to Nelson, romantic dining in The Honeymoon Guide to Nelson and street eats in Cheap Eats in Nelson. Even with that, there’s much more on the menu, such as Urban Eatery specialising in fresh local produce, especially oysters. We also love The Styx for their seasonal menu with everything cooked from scratch. Bistro 276, previously called Ford’s, serves up contemporary New Zealand cuisine that’s suited from vegans to carnivores, while The Indian Cafe is Nelson’s favourite Indian restaurant with three locations across the city. Finally, anyone open to tasty wholesome food should check out East St. offering a groovy atmosphere, vegetarian eats and sometimes live music.
Locations: Urban Eatery – 278 Hardy Street. The Styx – 272 Wakefield Quay. Bistro 276 – 276 Trafalgar Street. The Indian Cafe – 94 Collingwood Street. East St. – 8 Church Street.
15. Binge-Watch 365 Days, 365 Activities in New Zealand
Get some inspiration for your next epic New Zealand activity by watching New Zealand’s Biggest Gap Year on YouTube! Watch as this intrepid pair take on 365 Days: 365 Activities in New Zealand! Make sure to subscribe.
More Things to Do in Nelson
That’s it for our list of things to do in Nelson on a rainy day. For more activity inspiration, check out the following guides: