TBT: Vintage Places to Visit in Nelson

Where to stay, shop, eat and explore while in Nelson


Broadgreen Park in Nelson. Picture / Supplied.

Nelson's not just a wine, beach and art lover's paradise, it's worth visiting for its heritage buildings, classic museums, and great vintage shops. Here, some options worth checking out on your next visit to the city and surrounds.

Stay... at the Honest Lawyer on Monaco Peninsula, or the Moutere Inn, on the back road between Richmond and Motueka. While The Honest Lawyer, set tranquilly on the water, is fitted out in an antique manner, it was actually built in 1995. The charming Moutere Inn however, with just two rooms, lays claim to being New Zealand's oldest pub (though so do a couple of other pubs). Visiting the inn provides a great excuse to explore the surrounding countryside.

Visit... the World of WearableArt and Classic Cars Museum, where entries from the World of WearableArt competition are displayed alongside one of Australasia's largest collections of cars. If you are in Nelson this month, make sure you also stop at NZ Classic Motorcycles before it closes. Its collection of more than 260 motorcycles, dating as far back as 1902, is impressive.

Shop... at the vast selection of vintage shops in the Tasman region. Worth checking out is the Eclectic Antique Centre on Hardy St, with lots of stock sourced from the US. Further out of town, there is the Beacon Hill Country Store in Hope, open Thursdays and Fridays. There, you'll find “shabby chic” furnishings, homeware and clothing housed in the barn of a 164-year old homestead. Serious rummagers will love the Nelson Reuse and Recycle Centre and Motueka Resource Recovery Centre, arguably the best reuse shops in the country.

Watch... a movie at the beautiful State Cinemas. The original art deco theatre has been screening movies since 1936 and occasionally shows classics, in keeping with its heritage. Later this month the original King Kong, filmed in 1933, is scheduled.

Explore... the local heritage icons. Peek inside Broadgreen Historic House, one of Nelson's oldest residential buildings, or wander the adjacent Samuels Rose Garden. For a fun day out, Founders Park provides an insight into the lives of early settlers, and has a bar and brewery onsite. Or, take a self-tour around the city with one of the Council's heritage walks.

Dine... on tea and scones at Melrose Cafe, in the historic Melrose House. High tea is the cafe's specialty, but they have a full lunch and brunch menu too. Or, indulge over the ocean at the Boat Shed Cafe, near Nelson's port. Chef Daniel Monopoli has also recently opened the Boat Shed in Mapua, which is another region worth a day trip. On the way home, check out The Playhouse Cafe and Theatre Restaurant and enjoy a show inside the kitschy cave-like interior, or eat outside in the lush grounds.

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