Getting Here

Located at the Top of the South Island / Te Tau Ihu, the Nelson Tasman region is well connected to the rest of New Zealand.
Whether you prefer to take a scenic drive, relax on a bus, fly or catch a ferry from Wellington, there are a variety of transport options available to suit your travel needs.


Approximate flying times
Auckland to Nelson 85 minutes
Christchurch to Nelson 50 minutes
Palmerston North to Nelson 50 minutes
New Plymouth to Nelson 50 minutes
Paraparaumu to Nelson 45 minutes
Wellington to Nelson 35 minutes


Bus transport options to and from Nelson vary, so make sure to plan ahead. For more information, contact Nelson i-SITE on
03 548 2304 or email


Several inter-island crossing are available every day by two carriers (Bluebridge and Interislander) between Wellington and Picton then connect through to Nelson Tasman by coach, bike or car transport.


The Nelson Tasman region is accessible by road from Christchurch, Blenheim, Picton, the West Coast and Kaikoura.
A short drive over the Whangamoa Ranges links Nelson with Picton in the Marlborough Sounds – where passenger ferries arrive from the North Island.

Approximate driving times
Christchurch to Nelson City – 5 hours 40 minutes
Picton to Nelson City – 2 hours
Blenheim to Nelson City – 1 hr 40 minutes
Westport to Nelson City – 3 hours

Driving in New Zealand

If you’re from overseas, New Zealand roads are probably different to what you’re used to. Distances may seem short, but our roads can be narrower than you’re used to, cover hilly terrain, and vary from motorways to unsealed gravel roads.

Before you begin your journey, learn more about what’s different about driving in New Zealand:

  • driving on the left-hand side of the road
  • it’s easy to underestimate travelling times
  • the roads are narrower, more winding and sometimes steeper than you might expect
  • the roads are mostly two-way, with one lane in each direction – there are few motorways
  • not all railway crossings have active warnings
  • seat belts are compulsory for everyone in the vehicle
  • it is illegal to use a phone while driving