Play in Nelson - The Gateway to the Outdoors
Nelson is a great place to base yourself to enjoy some of New Zealand's most spectacular outdoor activities.
Our Hostel is right in the centre of town and all of the Local Tourism operators and buses will pick you up from our door. Our lovely staff will be happy to help you organise your adventures and make suggestions as to how you can make the most of your time in this great region.
Three stunning National Parks
There are so many options it can be confusing – let us help you decide the best way to spend a day or longer in our beautiful National Parks. We can arrange pick ups from our Hostel door.
Relax on golden sand beaches, swim in crystal clear waters, kayak, check out the seals, go for a boat cruise or walk and explore. Great on a sunny winter’s day too! Even if you only have limited time you can’t visit Nelson without at least a short venture into this park.
We can help you plan your trip to the Abel Tasman, either as a Day Trip from Nelson or if have the luxury of time to walk the 3-5 day Coastal Track and stay overnight in the Park
Best known for it's lakes, the park offers tranquil beech forest, craggy mountains, clear streams, open tussock lands & river edge clearings.
The gateway to the park is St Arnaud, a 75minute drive from Nelson. There is a great DOC information centre there which is well worth stopping at. Camping is available at Kerr Bay beside the Lake... just take some insect repellent with you and look out for the friendly Weka around the campsite.
Kahurangi is New Zealand's second largest national park. Weaving through the park, is a network of tracks from easy day walks to the very challenging, including the famous Heaphy Track. If you are planning to walk the Heaphy track The Heaphy Bus will pick you up from our Hostel and bring you back afterward. The Heaphy is open to experienced mountain bikers from May to September
Biking - a great choice
Bike rides in and around Nelson are varied and cater for all levels of recreational and mountain bike riders.
Our friend Dave, from Biking Nelson, has the latest Mountain Bikes and Hybrids which you can hire for 2 hours, Half day or Full day. We have his Bikes here at our hostel, complete with helmets, gloves and break down kit. We have trail maps and can give you suggestions depending on your ability and the amount of time you have available. Dave can also provide Guided mountain bike trips if you prefer.
Nelson to Kaiteriteri (1-4 days, 38-175km)
Tasman’s Great Taste Trail starts from the Nelson i-SITE and offers panoramic coastal views over Tasman Bay, Waimea Estuary and the Western Ranges. This trail will eventually be a loop trail.
It is an easy cycling trail where you pass vineyards, breweries, orchards and no end of places to stop and enjoy some of Nelson's finest cuisine. As a loop the trail is 174km long, but it can easily be broken down into bite sized portions just right for short morning rides and gentle afternoon cruises.
Nelson's mountain bike trails have received a gold ranking from the US-based International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA)..... and Nelson is a worthy contender for the mountain bike capital of New Zealand.
Dun Mountain is one of the most accessible back-country alpine cycle trails in the country, it requires a good fitness level and all riders should be competent mountain bikers - a great days ride.
Codgers Mountain Bike Park is at the first section of the Dun Mountain trail, this bike park has a variety of tracks ranging from wide, flat beginner tracks to extreme downhill trails for the experts. There are also mountain bike parks at Silvan Forest in Richmond and Kaiteriteri MTB Park.
It is also possible to mountain bike the Heaphy Track in the winter months.
Nelson - Adventure and Adrenaline
Feel like a rush of adrenalin?........get your feet off the ground and see Nelson from the air. Our great climate and beautiful scenery make the following a great option while you are in town....
Free-falling from 16,500ft is just stunning, taking in views of both the North and South Islands of NZ.
If you are going to do a skydive…. this is the one to do! The only skydive company that goes to 16,500ft in the South Island with views of the Abel Tasman National Park, mountains and ocean. If this is just too much ...why not try 13,000ft or 9,000ft first.
Free Pick up from our hostel, Book at reception.
No experience necessary to do Tandem Hang Gliding. You may even get the chance to have a go at flying the glider yourself if you're keen.
The Tandem paragliding flights are longer than at other more crowded sites in NZ and the views out toward the Abel Tasman and Kahurangi National Parks and Tasman Bay are amazing.
Fly with Stew Karstens, the NZ tandem distance record holder or sign up for Lessons and learn how to harness the wind yourself. The winds are usually good on Barnicoat Hill, but ask at Reception and we can check the conditions and Book you in.
Nelson - Water Sports heaven
With rivers, lakes and the sea on our doorstep we are surrounded by water in Nelson. As a result there are plenty of water sports to enjoy...
Sea Kayaking in the Abel Tasman National Park is spectacular. There are several Kayaking companies that will pick you up from our hostel and offer day trips of various lengths, some include a mix of walking the coastal track and kayaking the gorgeous coastline. If you prefer you can rent kayaks independently. Multiday trips offer you the chance to stay within the park at campsites, huts or lodges.
Cable Bay Kayaks offers half and full day eco sea kayak tours just 20 minutes from Nelson. Clear coastal waters rich in marine life and unique cave formations navigable only by kayak. Snorkelling gear is provided.
Half, full and multiple day options are available in Nelson and around the Abel Tasman National Park with Abel Tasman Sailing Adventures. Book at Reception.
Also popular is the Wednesday night racing organised by the Tasman Bay Cruising Club at Nelson Marina. Walk down to the marina and invite yourself onto a boat as crew. If you want to learn to sail, Sail Nelson is a registered RYA sailing school offering accredited courses to suit your sailing skills and experience.
Kite Surfing & SUPs
Tahunanui Beach, is Nelson's city beach and one of the best places in the country to learn to Stand Up Paddle board or Kite Surf.
Stand Up Paddle boarding (SUP) is an exciting way to explore the water and beaches, even catch some waves. It's a fun work-out!
Mornings are generally ideal conditions for SUP. Afternoons when the wind picks up is perfect for kite surfing. Kite surfing Course options range from an exciting 1 Day Introduction to the 6 day long Zero to Hero course.
Nelson - Tramping Mecca
From easy urban walks to tramping along stunning coastal tracks and through sub tropical forests and mountain passes - Nelson has it all....
From our hostel there are City walks and bush and river walks to suit all ages and fitness levels.
The Centre of New Zealand on Botanical Hill is one of Nelson’s most popular urban walks. The starting point is the Botanical Reserve, at the end of Hardy Street, or you can start at the Nelson Visitor Information Centre and follow the Maitai Walkway to the Hardy Street footbridge.
In 1870 the first rugby match in New Zealand was played at Botanics Reserve. So it has great historical significance to our rugby crazy nation! From the Reserve to the top of the hill the walk will take between 15-30 minutes and gives you a great view out over Nelson from the summit. There are several routes you can take on your way back down the hill, one heads along Sir Stanley Whitehead walk and down to Founders Brewery where you can sample a local brew.
There are nine Great Walks in New Zealand and the Nelson Region is lucky to have 2 of them, The Heaphy Track and the Abel Tasman Coastal Track. These are premier tracks that pass through diverse and spectacular scenery.
Transport to the start of these walks is easily arranged from our Hostel, so ask our Reception staff. Stock up on tramping supplies from the many outdoor stores in Nelson before you leave. We also have cookers and utensils for hire. Ask us about free gas canisters.
Other favourite walks in the region are the Queen Charlotte Track and Farewell Spit in Golden Bay.