The Nelson Marlborough region includes Abel Tasman, Kahurangi, and Nelson Lakes national parks, Mt Richmond Forest Park, Molesworth Station and important nature reserves such as Stephens Island and Farewell Spit. The Marlborough Sounds and the Kaikoura Ranges offer many opportunities for recreation on public conservation land. There are four marine reserves in the region: Long Island, West Haven, Tonga Island and Horoirangi.
There are a full range of historic sites including Maori archaeological sites, historic backcountry huts, the Perano whaling station in Queen Charlotte Sound and cob cottages in South Marlborough. Species protection programmes cover blue duck, land snails, tuātara, native frogs, kākā, takahē, mohua and plants endemic to Nelson Marlborough. The region includes the Abel Tasman Coast Track, Heaphy Track, and Queen Charlotte Track. There are over 300 other walks and tracks to explore, totalling more than 1900 kilometres.