You’re in one of New Zealand’s sunshine cities, perhaps its sunniest. It’s the northernmost South Island city, and one which typically offers its visitors and residents a sunny disposition that can be hard to resist. “Sunny Nelson”, it’s often called. And so it was, once again, a sunshine extravaganza for this visit to the South Island’s oldest city…
Many think of Nelson as the doorstep for amazing coastal and rural attractions. Nearby there’s beautiful beaches and coastline, forests and native bush offering outstanding walks and tramps, vineyards and breweries - all in surrounding regions, only short distances from the main centre. But the city itself is a thoroughly pleasing venue, if art and good food, among other things, are on your mind.
Trafalgar Street treats
Named after Admiral Horatio Nelson, famous for defeating the French and Spanish fleets in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, you’ll spot a number of roads and places in the city referencing back to that battle. The most obvious - Trafalgar Street, now happily well known as a cafe and restaurant hub, pedestrian traffic only at the Church Hill end. There’s plenty on offer in just this one spot, but if you have the urge to wander further afield, you won’t be disappointed. There’s plenty of stunning local food and charm on offer in its grid format of streets.
Perhaps it’s the sunshine, perhaps it’s the gorgeous neighbouring countryside and coastline… who knows… but you won’t be able to miss that this city is a creative magnet. All you New Zealanders reading this, let’s not forget it was the original home of the now ever so famous World of Wearable Art Festival. Here’s where, for us, its Māori name, Whakatū, resonates - to build, to raise, to establish. That sunshine, and that creative heart, certainly inspires just that.
All that local food, full of sunshine
With the port right there, it’s no surprise the role seafood plays around these parts. And the surrounding farmlands are loaded with orchards - with the Appleby settlement just up the road, the area is also known as one of New Zealand’s “apple centrals” - and so too horticulture plays a big part in Nelson life.
And with all that creativity comes some stunning food artisans. There are now very well known artisan brands that proudly call Nelson home. Some stunning wines and ciders… A wonderful peanut butter entrepreneur taking on the world… Proper crisps and half popped popcorn that are addictively good… Fruits and berry orchards bursting full in summertime… Delicious local cheeses…. Excellent bakeries… And Nelson’s wonderful markets provide the platform for its fabulous food culture to shine, where clever food artisans can start, dream, work hard and grow.
Thank you Nelson, and thank you to the wonderful food artisans that call this city home. And for a simple and tasty idea of what to do with some of the region’s finest - those apples that are coming on new season around now - click here to check out our apple slaw idea.