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Family weekend escape to Marlborough

An awesome journey with exceptional savings in accommodation while splurging on guided kayaking tours, an family friendly way to participate in the Queen Charlotte Track great walk and having fun at a heritage aviation museum. Marlborough is often overlooked by visitors and New Zealanders alike intent on getting to Nelson.

5 days
4 nights

Trip Overview

Start Blenheim
Finish Picton

Marlborough is worth a detour with its wide open spaces, iconic Queen Charlotte Sounds and surprises around every corner. Marlborough is New Zealand’s great outdoors, with a vineyard tucked around the corner for a special treat. A perfect mix of adventure and luxury rolled up as a Marlborough holiday.

NOTE: You will need a vehicle for this journey.

Best time to visit: Year round

Must do highlights:

  • Omaka Aviation Centre interactive centre appealing to all age groups
  • Brancott Estate Kareara or native falcon
  • Queen Charlotte Sound mail boat cruise
  • Walk or cycle Marlborough’s tracks through vineyards & coastal sounds
  • Pelorus River kayaking adventure for all age groups
Start Blenheim
Finish Picton

Route map

Day 1

Arrive in Blenheim: Omaka Aviation Centre

Omaka Air Show, Blenheim, New Zealand @Tim Cuff
Omaka Air Show @Tim Cuff

Half day to relax, unwind from the week day bustle and get into the family holiday spirit. Get the food supplies stocked and get ready to visit Omaka Aviation Centre. Let’s get into the fun stuff straight away. Omaka Aviation Museum is stunning. Interactive exhibits and movement immerses visitors into the world of heritage aircraft. The role of the World War I vintage planes is imaginatively narrated with visitors fascinated by the fragile nature of the craft, the small size of the plane and the courage of those early pilots. For many visitors it is a repeat visit due to the popularity of the venue. This is an indoor activity.

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Stay

Blenheim TOP 10 Holiday Park, New Zealand @Booking
Blenheim TOP 10 Holiday Park @Booking

Blenheim TOP 10 Holiday Park Marlborough | TOP 10 for three nights. This camping ground has been recommended for its location, the facilities to keep younger children entertained with a playground and the space to kick a ball. There are areas where a river is unfenced. Supervision of smaller children would be necessary.

Holiday top ten is functional comfortable accommodation options include Self Contained Units, Studio/Disabled Access Units, Park Motels, Kitchen Units and Standard Cabins.

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Day 2

Morning: A flat easy boardwalk

Wairau Lagoon Boardwalk, New Zealand
Wairau Lagoon Boardwalk

The family is off to find a rusting shipwreck without getting your feet wet. A flat easy boardwalk introduces family members to the habitat of the Wairau Lagoon as well as the rusting hulk of the Waverley wreck sitting on the estuary mud. The lagoon has witnessed people seafood gathering for over 800 years. Today it is a rich feeding ground for numerous birds and fish. This is a free DOC walkway.

Getting there

The main access point is from the end of Hardings Road, which leaves State Highway 1, 5 km south of Blenheim. There is a carpark and information.

Duration 3 hours return flat boardwalk.

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Afternoon

Vineyard Tours

Vineyards near Blenheim, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand
Vineyards near Blenheim

You will have worked up an appetite from the walk. Blenheim has a variety of cafes and takeaway outlets on its main street. Check out what is available or return to your accommodation for a refresh and a bit to eat. Your next call is to find out more about the falcon on your $20.00 note. The Karearea, native falcon is under threat due to loss of habitat. The New Zealand falcon is one of the fastest birds in the world. Visitors are introduced to one of the fastest birds in the world. The birds are bred and raised to ensure their continued safety. The falcon is the country’s most threatened bird of prey, with only around 3000–5000 breeding pairs remaining.

NOTE: Forward bookings are essential for falcon viewing.

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Indoors alternative

Queen Charlotte Sounds

Queen Charlotte Sound, New Zealand @Marlborough Marinas
Queen Charlotte Sound @Marlborough Marinas

Observe the mail being delivered to communities whose only access is by water. You will be involved in the lives of people who live and work in remote homes where the postal service is a vital link to the outside world.
Designed to take you off the beaten tourist path so you can experience the real Queen Charlotte Sounds / Tōtaranui. Forward bookings recommended.

The Mail has been delivered by boat for over 150 years in the Queen Charlotte Sounds and we are proud to uphold that service! We are the only official licensed New Zealand Post Rural Delivery Service by water in the Queen Charlotte Sound / Tōtaranui making this a truly unique and interesting tour. To book click HERE.

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Day 3

Picton Queen Charlotte Track

Marlborough Sounds as viewed from the Queen Charlotte Track hiking trail through lush tropical greenery in South Island of New Zealand
Marlborough Sounds as viewed from the Queen Charlotte Track

Time to pack the bags and move to Picton for the Queen Charlotte Track adventure, a Rai River Rafting experience and some free time to perhaps revisit Omaka Aviation Centre or spend time in the local museum. You have a handy travel guide for inspiration on what to see and do.

Activity 1: Queen Charlotte Sounds Walk

Queen Charlotte Sounds Track is one of New Zealand’s great walks. Walks range from easy half hour strolls to multiple day treks. The Queen Charlotte track stretches 70km from Ship Cove to Anakiwa and is an intermediate to advanced grade. You will be rewarded with skyline views of Queen Charlotte and Kenepuru Sounds. You meet the locals, native birds such as the fantail and weka.

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Stay

@Picton TOP 10 Holiday Park
@Picton TOP 10 Holiday Park

Picton TOP 10 Holiday Park: Welcome to Picton TOP 10.

Motels, villas, cabins to chalets, powered camping sites to unpowered sites there is a place for all preferences. Located just ten minutes to the town centre and across the road from the freshly redeveloped Picton Marina, our park offers a range of accommodation for couples, families and groups, along with all the communal facilities you need for a fun, relaxing holiday.

To book click HERE.

TWO NIGHTS

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Day 4

Morning: Picton to Havelock

aerial view of Picton town and Marlborough Sounds in New Zealand
Picton Harbour and town centre

Free time to explore Picton before your 1 hour road trip to Havelock. Remember to check our travel guide for inspiration.

TIP: While you could travel to Havelock on the Queen Charlotte Sounds road with its panoramic views it is winding and narrow. If children are prone to car sickness then it could be triggered by this journey.

Havelock has a Big Thing ‘Mussels’ and is known as the mussel capital. For instagrammers a favourite spot to pose against the gigantic mussel sculpture. For lovers of seafood it is a compulsory stop on the road between Picton and Havelock. The SH 1 route passes the historic settlement of Spring Creek with its nineteenth century hotel and then you are on the diversion bypassing Blenheim.

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Afternoon

Kayaking

Pelorus River, New Zealand
Pelorus River

Another highlight of your Marlborough holiday, Rai River rafting. You are kayaking through a movie set. To book CLICK Kayak New Zealand’s Most Beautiful River. on a guided rafting tour through the location of the dwarves in the barrels scene of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug on Marlborough’s stunning Pelorus River will be highlighted for the adventurous soul in all of us.

This highlight is a great family day trip with family photos, kayak in a safe controlled environment, with experienced guides, on an easy exciting journey down the Pelorus river.

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Day 5

Checkout Return

Air NZ over Marlborough, New Zealand
Air NZ over Marlborough

An awesome journey with exceptional savings in accommodation while splurging on guided kayaking tours, an family friendly way to participate in the Queen Charlotte Track great walk and having fun at a heritage aviation museum. Marlborough is often overlooked by visitors and New Zealanders alike intent on getting to Nelson.

Marlborough is worth a detour with its wide open spaces, iconic Queen Charlotte Sounds and surprises around every corner. Marlborough is New Zealand’s great outdoors, with a vineyard tucked around the corner for a special treat. A perfect mix of adventure and luxury rolled up as a Marlborough holiday.

NOTE: You will need a vehicle for this journey.

Read more

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