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Nelson, New Zealand

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I plan to visit the north of the South Island next year. I have 5 days to walk the Queen Charlotte Track and another 5 days to visit Nelson, Abel Tasman National Park and the vineyards around Renwick. Not much time but hopefully enough to enjoy the area.

I can hire a car but this can get a bit expensive for a solo traveller. After lots of internet searching, I have come to the conclusion that I can see something of Abel Tasman using a day tour (cruise and walk) and do a vineyard tour from Picton, supported by the Intercity buses where needed. I don't need a car while hiking and probably shouldn't be driving while sipping! However, how practical is it to explore Nelson and surrounds for a day or two without a car and still visit places like Hoglund art studio and the museum of wearable art.

Would I have a better time if I just hired a car for the time I'm there? Is this the sort of place where you miss out if you don't have wheels? I'm happy to hire one if that's the case. Also, the hire car companies list their pickup/dropoff as the airport. Do you know if they fine to do this is Nelson city? Lastly, if I can I will try to visit Nelson on a Saturday market day. Any advice? Thank you!

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