Nelson Tasman is an extraordinary, vibrant region where art and businesses thrive together among a stunning natural landscape. Its sunny climate and central location make the area one of the holiday hotspots in New Zealand. Nelson township is a vibrant, bustling community that does not feel like a city—however, the title was bestowed upon it by royal charter in 1858, technically making it the second-oldest city in the country. It has a well-earned reputation for being a creative place that’s home to many different kinds of artists, such as glassblowers and visual artists. It’s also famous for its pottery scene—and for being the birthplace of the World of WearableArts show. It’s also home to lots of wineries and cafés with delicious menus to suit all palates and breathtaking natural landscapes.

With an aim to become New Zealand’s most sustainable tourist destination, Nelson locals love to show off the breathtaking beauty of the golden dunes, towering peaks, clear lakes, native forests and marine wonderland to visitors. Thanks to the variety of local businesses that prioritize sustainability in everything they do, it’s easy to travel sustainably and leave a light carbon footprint.

If you’re looking for a picturesque place to holiday this summer that’s full of activities, inspiration and sustainable efforts, then Nelson is for you. Here are five of our top picks that will make your holiday extra special.

Make sure you treat yourself to a coffee ice cream from Sublime. PHOTO | The Last Fashion Bible

Refresh: Sublime Coffee Ice Cream

Caffeine connoisseurs are spoilt for choice in Nelson; there is a café to suit everyone’s taste. But Sublime Coffee Roasters is my pick of the crop. Founded in 2005 by Dan and Emma Henna, sustainability is at the core of the family-owned and operated coffee company, from using compostable lids, cups and packaging, to sourcing ethical and organic beans. Sublime has built something of an empire, with three cafés in Nelson to choose from. Head to their New Street location and treat yourself to one of their exquisite coffee ice creams. Deliciously creamy with a coffee kick, this frozen treat is the perfect pick-me-up on a hot summer’s day.

A glass of organic wine amongst the tranquil vineyards at Neudorf is a must. PHOTO | Neudorf Winery

Unwind: Neudorf Winery

If sipping delicious organic wine at a cellar door with unmatched vistas and atmosphere is something you are interested in experiencing, you absolutely need to visit Neudorf winery on your itinerary. Sitting in the vineyard garden, I enjoyed the best rosé I have ever experienced while taking in the fresh air and breathtaking views and learning more about the winery’s history from owners Tim and Judy Finn. The Finns planted their first vines at Neudorf in the late Seventies; a time of rejuvenation and renaissance in New Zealand’s burgeoning wine industry. It’s a family affair, with daughter Rosie running sales and marketing. As well as several other premium white wines, including Pinot Gris and classy Riesling, Neudorf produces a range of elegant Pinot Noirs, the best of these being Tim’s Block and the Moutere Pinot Noir.

The Cupid Fountain is nestled amongst the roses in Queens Gardens. PHOTO | The Last Fashion Bible

See: Queens Gardens

Queens Gardens in the heart of Nelson is a beautiful botanical park that’s filled with diverse trees and flowers. The gardens formally opened in 1892 to celebrate the Jubilee of Queen Victoria. Take a moment to stroll around and enjoy the park’s many sculptures, including the Cupid Fountain, the Water Wheel, the Boer War memorial, Sentinel, and fine memorial gates at both main entrances. I’m something of a fountain nerd, so I was thrilled to learn about the Cupid Fountain. The classically inspired fountain was installed in 1894 by stonemason Johann Belcher, and features Priapus, god of beekeepers, gardens herbs, fishermen, sailors and procreation. The fountain was donated to the city by a group of women led by former mayoress, Emily Trask, whose husband Francis conceived the idea of the Queens Garden. Bring your ice cream from Supreme or a picnic lunch and enjoy the peace and tranquility of the garden. Make sure you take your rubbish with you when you leave.

Pop into the RED Art Gallery for a glorious mix of art and shopping. PHOTO | The Last Fashion Bible

Shop: RED Art Gallery

Housed in a beautiful heritage building dating back to the 1800s, the RED Art Gallery is home to exquisite pieces of art and covetable design items from local and international artists. Owners Suzi and Ant Stevens have created a space that is warm and welcoming and filled with gorgeous pieces and keepsakes, including art, ceramics, glass, jewellery and more. And there’s a café that’s bursting with delectable treats. By shopping here, you’re supporting local artists which, in turn, supports the local community.

The breathtaking view from Aqua Heights apartment. PHOTO | The Last Fashion Bible

Stay: Aqua Heights Apartment

One thing that makes Nelson such a hot spot holiday destination is the unparalleled natural beauty. The views offered by Aqua Heights make this beautiful apartment an excellent accommodation option. Located a few minutes drive from Nelson CBD, this gorgeous fully self-contained studio-style apartment is situated beneath a luxury home and is clean and contemporary with all the mod-cons you would expect. And the beauty isn’t just the views; the apartment itself has been thoughtfully designed and decorated. The stunning turquoise tones of the glittering Tasman Sea are mirrored inside, from the soft furnishings to the kitchen splashback. Aqua Heights has taken steps to encourage you to have a more sustainable stay, from easy recycling to using energy-efficient appliances.

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