We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Havelock to Nelson - drive

Huntington Beach...
Level Contributor
121 posts
8 reviews
Save Topic
Havelock to Nelson - drive

Hello All!

We will be coming from Picton @ 6pm and I have dinner reservations in Havelock @ 7:30pm with the intention of driving to Nelson after dinner. THEN I read about how driving from Picton to Nelson is not recommended in the dark.

My question is - how is the drive from Havelock to Nelson? Is it do-able in the dark? It looks as if the sunset is at 8:19pm and I imagine we will be finishing up dinner at this time... Seeing as how we are already part of the way from Picton to Nelson, is it quite as dangerous to drive from Havelock to Nelson @ night vs. Picton to Nelson (since we would have already done some windy driving from Picton to Havelock) - we are doing the scenic route.

Also, about how long is the drive from Havelock to Nelson?

Ideally we'd like to stay our 2 nights in Nelson- but understand the danger..

Your thoughts are appreciated. Thank you!

6 replies to this topic
New Zealand
Level Contributor
1,862 posts
10 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Havelock to Nelson - drive

The road is not as twisty and winding from Havelock to Nelson as it is from Picton to Havelock but do remember that there will be no street lights. Twilight is quite long here compared to some other countries so it won't be pitch dark until up to about an hour after sunset. If you can be on the road no later than 8:30pm and preferably earlier then you should be fine.

Christchurch, New...
Destination Expert
for South Island
Level Contributor
9,352 posts
220 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Havelock to Nelson - drive

This is a good road as it carries a lot of traffic. Provided you are not tired I would not be too concerned. It does require concentration and generates that "are we there yet" mood.

Blenheim, New...
Level Contributor
888 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Havelock to Nelson - drive

Perfectly safe to drive in the dark, have done it many times. There is a couple of hills to drive over and many twists and turns but the road is in good condition.

I feel the Whangamoa hill (between Nelson and havelock) is just as twisty and turny as anything between Picton and Havelock.

Level Contributor
8,969 posts
470 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Havelock to Nelson - drive

the road from havelock to nelson goes over the rai saddle and the whangamoa saddle. both are easier to drive from havelock to nelson, rather than vice versa. The most winding area will be the long twisty drive down the whangamoas. Just dont drink and then drive. Any alcohol impairs your ability and to drive on unfamiliar roads at night you will need to fully concentrate. There are no street lights - allow 1 1/4 hours for the drive. You might even get to see the endangered bats at Pelorus!

Blenheim, New...
Level Contributor
8 posts
313 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Havelock to Nelson - drive

The road is better than most of the Queen Charlotte Drive you are taking between Picton and Havelock. The first half of that road is very narrow (still dual carriageway but tight in places). The Havelock to Nelson road is very well formed - it is wide and in places has overtaking lanes. It is a little twisty (sharp turns) coming down from the Whangamoa saddle, but then you are only 15 to 20 minutes from Nelson at that point in the journey.

You will need to be comfortable driving with headlights on but no street lights. Having said that the twilight is long in this part so you may find it is not pitch black conditions. Definately agree with the no alcohol before you drive it as it does require a good degree of attention on the driver's part.

Havelock, New...
Level Contributor
11 posts
64 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Havelock to Nelson - drive

It's an hours drive from Havelock to Nelson and the last half of the road is not an easy one if it is raining, dark or both unless you know the road really well.

Why not just stay in Havelock, so that you can enjoy the meal and relax afterwards without the rigors of tackling a tricky road at night. Hit the road first thing next day and you can still enjoy two days in Nelson (if you really have to.)

Reply to: Havelock to Nelson - drive
Get notified by e-mail when a reply is posted
Get answers to your questions about Havelock