Its sheltered situation and long sunshine hours make Nelson an ideal cruising destination. Explore the lagoons and islands of the vast Tasman Bay or head west to Abel Tasman National Park, known for its golden beaches, emerald bushclad hills and native bird life. The three national parks in the region are surrounded by incredibly fertile soil where a variety of produce is grown. Grapes and hops thrive, so it’s not surprising that Nelson is home to some of New Zealand’s best wine and artisan beer producers. More than 350 working artists and craftspeople live in the region, and are no doubt inspired by its exceptional beauty. A private art tour will give you an opportunity to meet Nelson’s studio potters, artist studios and bead and glass galleries. Some of those artists were recruited to produce props for the Lord of the Rings movies, including the ‘one ring’, which was made by a Nelson jeweller!