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WorldNew ZealandNelson

Nelson, New Zealand (Port of Entry)

Nelson nz.pngNelson, New Zealand
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41°16.5′S, 173°17.1′E
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Local chartlet

Nelson is a city on the eastern shores of Tasman Bay, and is the economic and cultural centre of the Nelson region. Established in 1841, it is the second-oldest settled city in New Zealand and the oldest in the South Island and was proclaimed a city by royal charter in 1858.


When you arrive in NZ and get to the South Island I am sure you will enjoy Nelson. It is a delightful place to hole up for a while. It has a fine marina, good facilities for lift-out and boat repairs. The people are nice, the food supply excellent and they grow a lot of good wine, veggies and fruit. Shops are 2km away. The Nelson Marina will certainly pencil you in if they are aware you are coming, which makes a difference. They do not communicate on VHF or SSB. Ring on the phone, email or snail-mail giving LOA and proposed length of stay, is the best way. There is a substantial fishing industry so there are good engineers, engineering repairs and supplies.

Cruising the region

Also see the following nearby cruising grounds:


Chart Source NZ Chart Catalogue
Chart No NZ61 Southern Pacific Ocean Western Portion.
Chart No NZ614 Tasman Bay.
Chart No NZ6144 Abel Tasman.
Chart No NZ6142 Nelson Harbour and Entrance.


It has the best weather in New Zealand. Like porridge - not too hot; not too cold - just right. And no bugs, sharks, blue ringed octopus, stingers, stone fish, flies, sand flies, cockroaches, snakes or nasty poisonous spiders. Big blue skies, calm in the morning but good NE sea breeze for sailing in the afternoon, except of course when the weather is grotty.

Sources for Weather forecasts:

  • See the Climate and Weather section of the New Zealand page, paying attention to the information there about the accuracy or lack thereof of the weather forecasts. Nelson is in the Abel weather zone.


List popular passages/routes, timing, etc.




Also see World Cruiser's Nets.


Nelson Marina is at the end of a large S-shaped navigation channel. The channel is wide and deep but there are occasional large ship movements.

Following the directions available on your charts, approach the channel from the north and maintain the buoys on the correct side until you are clear of the container terminal, the fishing wharves, and the marina itself will be ahead of you occupying most of the remainder of the entry channel.


Nelson is a port of entry to New Zealand. Follow the normal procedures including advance notification, as detailed on the New Zealand page. Customs will direct you to their berth which is opposite wharf F at the Nelson Marina.

Nelson is a port of entry for customs and quarantine but they have no facilities at this port for clearing animals into the country. Most likely you will be advised to proceed to Wellington. After exchanging a few emails with quarantine services I was able to clear the vessel in at Nelson and then proceed to Lyttelton to clear in my cat. The quarantine people at Nelson gave me a bond form which I had to present at Lyttelton with advice that the cat had not left the vessel between the two ports.


Nelson Marina is pretty much the only berthing option in Nelson. There is no anchoring space in the main harbour.

Outside the main harbour but inside the breakwater there is some anchoring room, but it's a long distance from any useful part of the town.

Marinas & Yacht Clubs

  • Nelson Marina - Nelson Marina, Nelson City Council managed.
  • Bill Mannix, Marina Manager, Ph +64 (0)3 546 7768 Email
  • Tasman Bay Cruising Club. (The Red Shed) situated in the marina. Phone: +64 (0)3 546 8251
  • Nelson Yacht Club, (dinghy sail racing club) Phone: 03 548 7501


There are no useful anchorages inside the harbour at Nelson. See Nelson Bays for nearby anchorages.

Yacht Repairs and Services

Marine Stores

  • Burnsco have a large store easily visible from the marina. They have a good range of products and are well stocked. Remember to take your Temporary Import Permit and acquire a Burnsco card which will give you GST exemption as well as a discount on some items


  • Dickson Marine have a haul out and repair facility at the Marina. I have not enquired about pricing

Fuel, Water, & Electricity

Fuel seems to be difficult to obtain in Nelson. Enquiries revealed that it may be able to be purchased at the fishing wharves but a special card is required.
Water is available to all berth holders at the marina.
Electricity is available to all berth holders at the marina, but a current NZ electrical warrant of fitness is required and a special cable (only available at the time a WoF is purchased) must be obtained.

Things to do Ashore


List places of interest, tours, etc.

Grocery & Supply Stores

  • There are two large supermarkets in the centre of Nelson City, only a 20 minute or so walk from the marina. Ask at the marina office for directions
  • Numerous other specialty shops are also in the city centre


  • There are numerous cafes and other eateries in the Nelson city centre.
  • Both MacDonalds and Burger King have outlets, the latter with free wifi.


  • Free wifi is available at Burger King.
  • Most Telecom phone boxes in New Zealand now operate a wifi system. It is free for certain Telecom customers, other users can pay approximately $NZ10 per month for up to 1GB of data per day


  • There is a laundry facility at the marina, with 2 coin operated washing machines and 2 dryers of commercial quality

Motorbike & Car Rentals

Garbage Disposal

Garbage and recyclables can be disposed of in the appropriate bins at the marina.


List transportation (local and/or international.)


Contact details of "Cruiser's Friends" that can be contacted for local information or assistance.


List links to discussion threads on partnering forums. (see link for requirements)



  • A copy of the "New Zealand Cruising Guide Central Area" can be obtained at chandleries and some bookshops in the area. Although I consider it somewhat overpriced for the information it contains, it does have a useful set of guides to some of the nearby anchorages
  • It may be useful to consider purchasing "The New Zealand Nautical Almanac and Tide Tables", and also "The New Zealand Pilot" especially if you are considering such things as a transit of French Pass and/or Cook Strait


We welcome users' contributions to the Wiki. Please click on Comments to view other users' comments, add your own personal experiences or recommend any changes to this page following your visit.

  • Delatbabel - Myself and crew had a pleasant 3 day stop in Nelson after crossing the Tasman. I would recommend it as a port of entry, the approach is easy and the shelter is excellent. It is not the cheapest marina in New Zealand but the facilities are excellent.

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Names: Delatbabel

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