Nelson Bays

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Nelson Bays

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Nelson Bays is a region at the top of the South Island of New Zealand. The region is famed for sunshine, art and craft and alternative lifestyles but the region has a rugged farming backbone. The region is bounded by the Richmond Ranges, Kahurangi National Park and the Nelson Lakes National Park. The Abel Tasman National Park is on the northern coast between Motueka and Golden Bay.


  • Golden Bay over the Takaka Hill and a world away. Beautiful golden sand beaches, native bush and solice.


  • Nelson - with its cathedral is the region's only city

Other Destinations


Get in

By car

From the east, State Highway 6 is the main route leading from Blenheim (and Picton) through Renwick, Havelock and the Rai Valley before reaching Nelson. State Highway 6 continues south through Richmond, Wakefield, Murchison and on to Westport and the West Coast. State Highway 63 starts at Renwick and leads to St Arnaud before rejoining State Highway 6 at Kawatiri Junction.

By bus

Buses[6] and Shuttles[7][8] in and out of the region in the main follow State Highway 6. Southern Link K Bus travel Christchurch - Murchison - St Arnaud - Wakefield - Richmond - Nelson. Nelson Lakes Shuttles[9] specialise in providing transport for trampers, hikers, climbers, mountain bikers and skiers. They run on demand and scheduled services to St Arnaud and between Picton, Blenheim, Murchison as well as other tramping destinations further afield.

By plane

  • Nelson Airport[10] is one of the busier in the country with Air New Zealand[11] and Air2There[12] providing scheduled services. Flight Corporation[13] offer scenic flights including flights to Abel Tasman National Park, to airstrips in Golden Bay and to Karamea, the end of the Heaphy Track.
  • Abel Tasman Air[14] flies from Motueka Airport and offers charter flights around the region.
  • The Takaka airstrip has scheduled flights from Wellington on Capital Air[15] as well as charter airlines[16].

Get around

For those without transport, there is reasonable bus transport around the region.

Scheduled Services

On Demand Services

  • Trek Express, 03 540 2042 or 0800 128 735 (, fax: 03 540 2289), [1]. Specalising in transport to hiking tracks.
  • Nelson Lakes Shuttles, 03 521 1900 or 021 490 095 (), [2].
  • Tasman Helicopters, 03 528 8075 (, fax: 03 528 8078), [3].
  • Flight Corporation Ltd, 0800 359 464 or 03 547 8175, [4].
  • Abel Tasman Air, 03 528 8290 or 0800 304560, [5].






Stay safe

Sunburn and sun stroke might be the greatest dangers in the region.

Get out

For those heading south to Christchurch, there are two options which take roughly the same length of time. State Highway 6 branches just after Murchison lending to Springs Junction. Turning east leads soon to the hot springs complex of Maruia Springs before steadily climbing up the Lewis Pass on the Main Divide of the Southern Alps. Beyond too long the turn-off to the spa town of Hamner Springs is reached, 1 1/2 hours from Christchurch. The alternative it to travel to Blenheim and then south on State Highway 1 through the whale watching town of Kaikoura. Both routes take approximately 6 hours.

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