In our ‘Complete Guide’ series, we’re going to be visiting some of New Zealand’s most popular tourist destinations and getting the inside track from our GO Explore followers on the best places to stay, eat, drink, sunbathe and more. Instead of just finding out what the guidebooks tell you, find out what the locals and the travellers think when it comes to the best place to get an ice cream, the best fish and chips and the best cocktail you’ll ever taste! We’ll also give you some great tips on the best rental cars for your adventure so you can travel around the region in comfort and style!

The next in our series of Complete Guides takes us to the regions of Nelson and Marlborough at the northern tip of the South Island. Regarded by many as one of the most unspoilt regions of New Zealand, Nelson enjoys a year round sunshine and is known as one of the sunniest places in the country. The Abel Tasman National Park is without a doubt one of the most spectacular national parks in the country, renowned for its golden beaches, sculptured granite cliffs and world-famous coastal track. The top of the South Island is a stunning place to spend some time at any time of the year and our complete guide will give you the low down on the best places to stay, eat, drink as well as letting you in on some of the best activities and top places to visit here. Let’s get GOing!

Best accommodation in Nelson and Marlborough

Once you have decided which town you are going to base yourself in, it’s time to choose some accommodation. Whether you are looking for five star luxury hotels or a remote campground, you’re well catered for at the top of the South Island. With so many options to choose from, we asked our GO Explore fans for some of their top tips and this is what they came back with:

Best places to eat out at the top of the South Island

From Nelson to Blenheim there are tons of great restaurants at the top of the South Island to picking the top ten is not that easy! Thankfully we had some help from our GO Explore fans who told us some of their top tips – let us know if you have any better!

Best beaches at the top of the South Island

New Zealand is blessed with some of the world’s most beautiful beaches and the top of the South Island is where you will find some of the most spectacular. From golden sandy beaches to remote, unspoilt spits, Nelson and the Marlborough region really are spoilt for choice. Here are some of our favourites:

Rent the perfect car for your adventure

Recommended vehicle for exploring Nelson and Marlborough


3 year(s) old

Explore Nelson and Marlborough in style in the Toyota CHR featuring Bluetooth handsfree, 5-star ANCAP Safety Rating and steering mounted controls.

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5 Seats

1 large bag

1 small bag

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