Nelson - Tasman

Nelson-Tasman often tops New Zealand’s sunshine hours. It also boasts golden beaches and productive tourism, wine, horticulture and fishing industries.

Map showing Nelson - Tasman region

  1. Nelson - Tasman
Nelson - Tasman

Often known as ‘the top of the south’, Nelson Tasman takes up the northwestern corner of the South Island. The main centre, Nelson city (population 46,000) is a 5-hour drive from Christchurch. By air, Nelson is just 30 minutes from Wellington, 40 minutes from Christchurch, and about 1½ hours from Auckland.


Population (2018 Census)


% born outside NZ:


Average house price June 2020:

Nelson City: $650,331
Tasman: $620,815

Median Wage


There are many unique aspects to this region. Nowhere else in the world, for example, will you find three very distinctive national parks in a relatively small area, offering glistening waters, golden sands, spectacular native forests, lakes and mountain ranges, easily accessible year-round. 

Nelson’s coast is notable for two huge, shallow bays - Tasman Bay and Golden Bay. The interior is hilly and mountainous with attractive lakes and areas of limestone and marble which feature deep caves and sinkholes. Te Waikoropupu (Pupu) springs, said to produce the clearest freshwater in the world, is part of the southern hemisphere’s deepest known cave system.

With an ideal growing climate, Nelson produces all of New Zealand’s commercial hops and has consequently become the country’s craft brewing capital with 11 craft breweries, while the region’s 25 boutique wineries excel at producing aromatic wines and chardonnay. Other horticultural stand-outs include apples and berries, while the ocean’s produce has made Port Nelson the largest fishing port in Australasia.​


Nelson Tasman is known for its beautiful reserves and national parks which offer excellent walking and tramping. There are many outdoor recreation options, from kayaking in the Abel Tasman Park to walking the Heaphy Track, one of New Zealand’s nine ‘great walks’.

The coasts and lakes are ideal for swimming, boating, sailing, and fishing. Golden Bay particularly is famous for its unspoiled sandy beaches and is popular with alternative lifestylers for its fertile farmland and distance from mainstream society.

Nelson city is smart and well developed. Its thriving local arts and craft scene include some of New Zealand’s best visual artists, potters, glass blowers and woodcarvers, and the city offers a full range of amenities including excellent cafes and restaurants.

Economy and industry

The region’s economy has four main drivers - horticulture, fishing, forestry, and tourism.

Nelson’s port is the largest deep-sea fishing port in Australasia.

Horticulture includes apples, pears, kiwifruit, and hops. Viticulture and winemaking are developing strongly, with craft beer brewing becoming increasingly popular.


The Nelson Tasman region is known for its warm summers and cool winters. Average maximum summertime temperatures range from 21-24°C with the highest recorded reaching 36.3°C. Average winter maximums range around 13-14°C.

Winter can be stormy but generally, Nelson enjoys one of the best climates of all major New Zealand centres.

Top five migrant populations (2018 Census)

Many migrants have already made Nelson - Tasman home. The table below shows where these migrants are moving from and demonstrates the diverse population you can expect to find in Nelson - Tasman.

It can be comforting to know there are others, similar to you, who have experienced the move.

Region of origin and no.of migrants from each area

Country of origin

No. of migrants

UK and Ireland

4,579 (9%)


2,798 (5.5%)

Europe (excl. UK and Ireland) 1,476 (2.9%)
Australia 1,018 (2%)
Pacific Islands 763 (1.5%)

Now that you know about what Nelson - Tasman has to offer, have a read about everyday life in the region, and services and support you can access.

In this section

Upcoming events in your region

Events for new migrants are regularly held throughout the country. Gain local insight into finding a job and getting setup and settled in New Zealand.

Calendar illustration

Interested in coming to New Zealand?

Sign up to receive relevant job opportunities from New Zealand employers and practical advice on how to make your move to New Zealand a reality.