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Nelson Region

Nelson, the geographical centre of New Zealand, is a region renowned for warm sunshine, fine beaches, lakes, mountains and native forests. The City of Nelson is large enough to offer all the services and amenities of a large city yet is small enough to be intimate, welcoming and friendly. It is New Zealand's largest fishing port and the gateway to a major forestry and horticulture industry. Add to this the attraction of fine foods, superb wines, an innovative craft industry, spectacular scenery and traditional "Kiwi" hospitality and you can understand why Nelson is a place to which holiday makers flock all year round.

The journey from the city of Nelson into the western region of Golden Bay and the Abel Tasman National Park is truly spectacular. Here the beautiful coastline is famous for clear blue waters and pristine golden sand beaches. The Abel Tasman national Park can be explored by guided walks, sea kayak, cruise boat, water taxi or freedom walking - you will experience penguins, seals, dolphins and native birds all set in lush native forest that has a semi tropical appearance.

Don't forget to visit the crystal clear Waikoropupu (Pupu) Springs, or the 360 metres deep Harwoods Hole (deepest in New Zealand) or explore the intricate network of limestone caves in this area. Farther west is the unique Farewell Spit. Over 100 species of birds visit this area each year, some from as far afield as the Artic lands of the northern hemisphere - four wheel safaris into this area are becoming increasingly popular. Inland Nelson is a wonderland of water adventure, including kayaking, rafting, boating and for those who prefer fishing, the Nelson Lakes area provides some of the best trout fishing in the world. And for those who enjoy their water as snow, skiing and even ice skating make the Nelson Lakes a popular winter destination as well. The area is well served by some exquisite luxury lodges hidden away among mountains, lakes and exotic settings of native bush.

Because of its mild climate, Nelson is a region of great diversity, a microcosm of New Zealand in one district. There is extensive horticulture, including vineyard, fruit and the more traditional farming scenery of sheep and cattle that New Zealand is famous for. The people of Nelson are well known for being skilled and innovative artisans, especially in pottery, glass making, bone carving, knitting, basket making and jewellery. Local restaurants can tempt the most discerning palate with their superb seafood including: mussels, scallops, oysters, seasonal whitebait, geoduck and many fish varieties. The Taste Nelson festival is held each year to celebrate these culinary delights. Another annual Nelson festival which has become internationally acclaimed is the New Zealand Wearable Art Awards - this is a celebration of local creativity when artisans produce and wear their own wearable art creations.

Nelson, blessed by nature as a destination which offers almost everything, is not to be missed in any tour of New Zealand. The region is easily accessible being one and half hours drive from Picton, the gateway to the South Island via Cook Strait, or 5 hours drive from Canterbury and is served by regular flights from all over New Zealand

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