Nelson is an experience, not a city. At the top of the South Island, facing Tasman Bay it's known for local arts and crafts and art galleries. It's also a popular base for nearby caving sites, vineyards and the Abel Tasman National Park. Established by English settlers in 1841, the city's history is showcased at Founders Heritage Park, a living museum with a vintage railway. Its diverse geography encompasses everything from long golden beaches to untouched forests and rugged mountains. And it's the sunniest place in New Zealand. Its wine roots were planted in the 1800's by German settlers and as a boutique wine region next to its massive Marlborough cousin, it more than holds its own. The compact size of the region means visitors can get around most wineries in a day, many doing so by bicycle.