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Nelson has the highest amount of sunshine hours in New Zealand, but there’s so much more to this area than beautiful weather!

This seaside town has a population of 51,000 and is known for its friendly and welcoming atmosphere.

Living in Nelson as a student

Nelson has a college town feel, complete with tree-lined streets and a convenient town centre with shops, cafes, and restaurants. Nelson residents love chatting with visitors, so you can practise your English while planning what to do with your time outside of the classroom.

Nelson English Centre is located in the centre of Nelson and has many homestay families within walking or biking distance of the school.

What to do in Nelson

Nelson offers the perfect mix of arts, culture, and nature. Home to painters, sculptors, and potters, you’ll find a range of art galleries and shops selling artisan products. Make sure you visit the Nelson Market on Saturday mornings for local food and unique jewellery, art, and clothes.

If you love the outdoors, take a stroll along the Maitai River Walkway, visit the Miyazu Japanese Gardens, or have a refreshing swim at Tahunanui Beach.

Learn about Nelson’s history at the Nelson Provincial Museum, and walk through the historic streets at Founders Heritage Park.

Music lovers shouldn’t miss Bay Dreams, New Zealand’s largest summer music festival.

Eating and drinking in Nelson

Nelson offers award-winning restaurants and craft beers, and the Nelson region produces some of the best wines in New Zealand.

Visit the top of Trafalgar Street in the city centre for delicious fresh seafood at Mama Cod or burgers and donuts from Burger Culture.

The Boat Shed Café is on Nelson’s waterfront and boasts beautiful views of the harbour, while the Workshop Bar and Brewery has a fantastic selection of craft beers.

What to see and do in the Nelson region

Nelson is the perfect base for nature lovers, with plenty of day trip options. You can explore long golden beaches, forests, and mountains at three beautiful National Parks, all within 90 minutes of Nelson.

At the Abel Tasman National Park, you can hike a world-famous track, explore stunning beaches and islands in a kayak, and even swim with seals!

Have a picnic at Rabbit Island, view the breathtaking scenery of the Cable Bay Walkway, or visit the Brook Sanctuary, a nature reserve for endangered plants and animals. You’ll love listening to native birdsong as you walk through the forest.

If you travel to Golden Bay, make sure you stop at the Mussel Inn for great food and live music.

Why learn English in Nelson?

Choose Nelson if you want to learn English in a friendly city with easy access to New Zealand’s spectacular National Parks.

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See our schools in Nelson

Nelson English Centre
Located at the top of the South Island, the beautiful city of Nelson is well-known as being the sunshine capital of NZ it is the perfect place to “study where kiwis love to live”. Student life at NEC is different to other schools. The student zone is specially designed so...