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According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Nelson has the clearest water in the whole world. Established in 1841, Nelson sits on the South Island of New Zealand overlooking Tasman Bay and is the 2nd oldest city in New Zealand. Home to the oldest Yacht Club and Rugby Club; it is the only major city with no rail connection. A local jeweler, Jens Hansen handcrafted the "ring" for the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy and copies can actually be bought from his store in Nelson. Pioneers in architecture and alternative building such as laminated veneer lumber used in the construction of the new NMIT Arts & Media Building and the world's first rugby playing field made of glass, Nelson is also the biggest fishing port in Australasia.
This is definitely the place to be if you are into flying kites, as there is an annual kite festival where you can mingle with like-minded enthusiasts. There are 3 amazing national parks close to Nelson. Abel Tasman National Park for the kayaking adrenalin rush or to check out the seal colony at the Tonga Island Marine Reserve. Kahurangi National Park with the largest and deepest caverns in the southern hemisphere for those that like to go caving. Plus Nelson Lakes National Park, which includes Lakes Rotoiti and Lake Rotoroa to get into some water activities. You can take the short coastal trek along the track between Bark Bay and Torrent Bay in Abel Tasman National Park, if you are not into a lot of personal trekking pain. Mt Robert and St Arnaud Ski Fields are close to the city for a quick snowboard or ski adventure.
The Founders Heritage Park is a living museum with a vintage railway and the Queens Gardens opened in 1892 are a stunning example of classical Victorian landscaping. Take a walk around the historical center of Nelson or head out to one of the vineyards dotted around the city for a few local wine tastings of some of New Zealand's best wines. There is a dynamic cafe culture and restaurant scene to be enjoyed where sitting outdoors is a people watcher's paradise.
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