The Top Places to Visit Near Nelson
Sure, the sunny city of Nelson can be hard to leave. Considering the amazing surrounding attractions, however, there are plenty of reasons to make Nelson your base for day trips. There are three national parks surrounding the city, while the nearby wine region is another enticing place to visit. Plan your next road trip using this guide to the best day trips from Nelson. Plus, we mention some day tours from Nelson should you want to ditch the car.
For more trip-planning wisdom, take a look at The Complete Guide to Nelson.
5 Best Day Tours from Nelson
Don’t want the hassle of a self-drive day trip from Nelson? Check out this quick list of day tours from Nelson instead.
Guided Day Tours from Nelson
- Full-Day Abel Tasman National Park Hiking Tour with Cruise with Wine, Art & Wilderness (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Self-Guided Nelson to Mapua Cycle Adventure with Kiwi Journeys (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Golden Bay in a Day with Wine, Art & Wilderness (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Nelson Wine Tour with Nelson Tours and Travel
- Nelson in a Nutshell with Sunny Nelson Tours.
Abel Tasman National Park
The Best Day Trip from Nelson for Luxury Travellers
Experience the golden-sand beaches and lush native forest of the Abel Tasman National Park with many different options. Water taxis, kayaking, hiking and sailing tours depart from Kaiteriteri and Marahau, each offering different ways to experience Abel Tasman in a day.
Plan more of your day trip from Nelson using the 10 Amazing Things to Do in the Abel Tasman National Park.
The Best Day Trip from Nelson for Foodies
Travel time by car: 45 minutes one-way
From foodie delights such as wineries to adrenaline adventures such as skydiving, Motueka offers real variety for day-trippers. The town marks one end of the Great Taste Trail thanks to its productive orchards and vineyards. In addition, canyoning, walking to the Riuwaka Resurgence, and skydiving are all on the activity menu.
See the 10 Amazing Things to Do in Motueka for more activities to add to this Nelson day trip.
The Best Day Trip from Nelson for Families
Travel time by car: 1h15mins one-way
Swap beaches for alpine landscapes by visiting St Arnaud. The village sits on the shores of Lake Rotoiti, the iconic lake of the Nelson Lakes National Park. Enjoy a picnic by the lake surrounded by mountains and some of its short walking trails.
Learn more about what to do in the 7 Fun Things to Do in St Arnaud.
The Best Day Trip from Nelson for Couples
Travel time by car: 1 hour one-way
Travel to the “Greenshell Mussel Capital”, Havelock, and see what all of the fuss is about on the greenshell mussel cruise (more info on Viator, Tripadvisor and Klook). There’s also the stunning river landscape of the Pelorus Bridge Scenic Reserve with its array of hiking trails and kayaking tours (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor).
Add more activities to this day trip from Nelson using the 9 Fun Things to Do in Havelock.
Kahurangi National Park
The Best Day Trip from Nelson for Budget Travellers
Travel time by car: 1h20mins one-way
Yes, another national park is within a day trip from Nelson and the Kahurangi National Park. This one is definitely for active travellers with a sense of adventure. A popular trip from Nelson is to the Mt Arthur Hut Tracks encapsulating lush beech forest. The Lodestone Summit is also an excellent day hike with rewarding vistas.