Nelson
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Located 424 kms from Christchurch and 145 kms south west from Picton, Nelson (pop 46,437) is a major commercial centre for Golden Bay region.

Nelson is the second oldest settled city in New Zealand and the oldest in the South Island. Nelson is situated in a region often known as Nelson Tasman or the "Top of the South."

Being the fourth largest urban centre in the South Island, Nelson has a compact city commercial centre, dotted with art galleries, cafes and restaurants, attractions including historic homes, beautiful public gardens, etc.

The Nelson economy is based on the ‘big four’ industries; seafood, horticulture, tourism and forestry. Port Nelson is the biggest fishing port in Australasia. There are also a range of growth industries, including art and craft, aviation, engineering technology, and information technology.

As the major regional centre, the city offers many lodgings, restaurants, and unique speciality shopping such as at the Goldsmiths where "The One Ring" in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy was designed.

Nelson has a vibrant local music and arts scene and is known nationwide for its culturally idiosyncratic craftsmen and women. These include Potters, Glass Blowers, Fibre Spectrum Handweavers & Fibre Artists' Studio and dozens of Wood carvers using native New Zealand Southern beech and exotic macrocarpa.

Nelson is a popular visitor destination and year-round attracts both New Zealanders and international tourists due to is climate regularly tops the national statistics for sunshine hours, with an annual average total of over 2400 hours per year.

The Saturday Nelson Market is well known and you can buy direct from local artists. Music lovers may attend the biennial Nelson School of Music Winter Music Festival, the Adam New Zealand Festival of Chamber Music and the annual Jazz Festival.

The Taste Nelson festival at Founders Heritage Park highlights this region's gastronomy, the Festival of Opportunities features alternative health and lifestyle possibilities, while the Suter International Film Festival screens 20 non-Hollywood films in late May to June every year.

The Nelson Kite Festival takes advantage of the reliable sea breezes that blow inland from Tasman Bay across Neale Park each afternoon with kite lovers arriving from around New Zealand and from overseas.

Nelson is surrounded by mountains on three sides with Tasman Bay on the other and the region is the gateway to Abel Tasman National Park, Kahurangi National Park, Lakes Rotoiti and Rotoroa in the Nelson Lakes National Park. It is a centre for both ecotourism and adventure tourism and has a high reputation among caving enthusiasts due to several prominent cave systems around Takaka Hill and Mounts Owen and Arthur, which hold the largest and deepest explored caverns in the southern hemisphere.

Nelson is served by daily coach and bus services to and from Fox Glacier, Franz Josef, Greymouth, Christchurch, Blenheim and Picton and Air New Zealand Link provides regular air services from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

There are no passenger train or rail services from Nelson to Picton, Blenheim, Christchurch, Westport or Greymouth, except for the combined bus and train services from Nelson to Christchurch.