Where to stay in: Nelson
Well named, this charming house, a five-star luxury lodge, sits in a secluded valley half an hour from Nelson, surrounded by three hectares of lovingly tended gardens filled with flowers, birds and trees. Bobbie and Peter welcome guests into two lodge suites and a private cottage, supremely comfortable and decorated with understated elegance. An artist’s studio is one of the features of this boutique hotel, and throughout the rooms are numerous examples of local artists’ work. Peter will gladly arrange visits to see more of the paintings, glass, ceramics, sculpture and jewellery that this beautiful region inspires. Within easy reach are world-famous vineyards and the glorious Abel Tasman National Park, which can be fully appreciated by road, sea and air, but gives perhaps its greatest rewards to those who venture out on foot, by kayak or on horseback to explore its stunning scenery.
Some, though, will find it impossible to tear themselves away from the glories of the Edenhouse garden and grounds, where native tui hang upside down feeding from flax flowers and ducks waddle complacently across the lawns. Afternoon tea, with freshly baked scones and cake, enjoyed in surroundings such as these, is a simple and timeless pleasure that’s hard to beat. From the accomplished chefs showcasing local produce to Jacqui the beauty and massage therapist, the Edenhouse team of 12 proud locals is focused on making your stay an effortlessly memorable one.
Other accommodation choices
Museum Art Hotel
Quirky, eclectic, individual – words to describe both this private central Wellington hotel and its owner, Chris Parkin, who has filled the hotel with artworks and classic motorcycles that have taken his fancy. No-one is ever stuck for a conversation starter in the in-house bar and restaurant, Hippopotamus.
Lodge at the Hills
Strikingly different, this lodge near Queenstown features an extensive collection of art, which includes a remarkable sculpture park alongside the private golf course: the perfect excuse for missing that putt.
A charming boutique hotel in a heritage Victorian villa close to the centre of Auckland, Mollies is well-known for its peaceful comfort and the contemporary art displayed in both the public rooms and its elegant suites.
St Mary’s Residence
Make this stylish residence your exclusive home in Auckland. With views from the terrace over the masts of Westhaven Marina to the Harbour Bridge and out towards Rangitoto Island, it’s the best address in the bay.
Things to see and do in Nelson
That’s what everyone says who enters this museum, but really it stands for World of Wearable Arts. Since 1987 the annual WOW show has inspired artists from around the world to create art that can be worn, and here are 60 literally fantastic creations. Plus classic cars, for balance.
The Suter Te Aratoi o Whakatu
From an extensive collection of 19th-century landscapes to modernist works and ceramics, Nelson’s art gallery has it covered. Even the windows of the excellent café frame fabulous works of nature.
Höglund Art Glass
Stunningly colourful, modern and individual works of hand-blown glass take the visitor’s breath away at the Höglund family’s showroom. Meanwhile, their breath is busy in the studio creating these beautiful pieces.
Yes, Jens made the One Ring for the Lord of the Rings movies (and you can buy a replica Precious) but most of the jewellery crafted in this workshop for more than 50 years is equally unique and individual – bespoke pieces of hand-forged beauty.
Nelson’s Saturday market
For more than 30 years, this vibrant market has taken place in the heart of the small city of Nelson. Up to 200 stall-holders sell, amongst much else, crafts and art works including jewellery, ceramics and mosaics that you won’t find anywhere else.
Nelson Arts Festival
The Nelson Arts Festival (14 – 26 October in 2015) has a line-up encompassing theatre, dance, comedy, music, literary events, visual arts and a Masked Parade & Carnivale.
Other regions to consider
Bay of Islands: northlandnz.com