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Outdoors

Top 10 things to do in Marlborough

  • 4 minutes

Uncover your summer holiday Downunder in Marlborough, New Zealand. The top of the South Island is sunshine, fabulous coastal spots for a beach towel and abundant produce particularly grapes producing world class wine. The bounty of the land and sea supports a farm to plate cuisine rich in seafood, fresh produce and New Zealand lamb. Outstanding natural scenery is a drawcard with the Marlborough Sounds offering visitors on water experiences and lodges nestled in beautiful bush to rest at night.

Pelorus Mail Boat, New Zealand @Discover Pelorus
Pelorus Mail Boat @Discover Pelorus

1.

MAIL BOAT CRUISE – MARLBOROUGH SOUNDS

Delve into the daily lives of locals. From Picton or Havelock, wharf catch the mail boat and enjoy visiting places only accessible by boat. Be part of the day dropping off supplies and collecting the mail. Listen to commentary about the lives of people living on the water’s edge as you look out for dolphins and other marine life. There are limited capacity numbers on the mail boat creating a personal experience for lucky ticket holders. This very popular excursion is often fully booked out weeks in advance. Plan accordingly.

2.

AVIATION CENTRE OMAKA & CLASSIC FIGHTER SHOW

Delve into the world of vintage and heritage aircraft. Discover the magic created by Peter Jackson, Hollywood director, New Zealand local whose passion for vintage airplanes has evolved into an amazing exhibition space. Plan your trip with the Marlborough Yealand Classic Fighter Show in mind. Enjoy an action packed family friendly event where it mostly happens sky high… Read more about Top Attractions for families in Marlborough.

Omaka Vintage planes, Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawk aircraft Royal New Zealand air force, Marlborough, New Zealand
Omaka Vintage planes
@Renwick Marlborough, NZ
@Renwick Marlborough, NZ

3.

MARLBOROUGH WINE TRAIL

A classic wine trail experience more than matching any European equivalent. The rural views, the quiet backwaters where vineyards flourish and the sense of getting away from it all makes the Marlborough wine trail brilliant. Who needs a medieval castle to gawp at when you have snow capped mountains framing the fertile plains of Marlborough. Get on the road, the shared cycle trail and find a vineyard (or two). Sip a glass of award-winning Sauvignon Blanc chilled wine as you chat to planters and growers of the region. Flat easy trails led to family owned boutique wineries where passionate locals tell their stories. Take a wine tour by bike or hire your own and do a self-guided tour around the 120 wineries and 30 cellar doors in the region. Download the wine trail from the travel pack section and check online Wine Marlborough for the official trail info.

4.

HAVELOCK MUSSEL AND SEAFOOD FESTIVAL

Foodie buffs delight, ocean to plate experience where you mingle with the locals. Live music, entertainment, and pop-up stalls offering deli treats, snacks, creative goodies add to the carnival atmosphere. Havelock is an unpreposing small town readily identifiable with a slightly faded truly enormous mussel as the town’s symbol. Yet the area has plenty to offer discerning visitors with the western end of the Marlborough Sounds worth a further exploration … read more about what to see and do … What’s so great about Havelock?

@musselfestival
@musselfestival
@MarlboroughTourCompany
@MarlboroughTourCompany

5.

VISIT A MUSSEL FARM IN MARLBOROUGH SOUNDS

Find out about the marine world of the greenshell mussel. Enjoy a day cruising out to the mussel farms with the chance of dolphins and take in the stunning scenery of the Marlborough Sounds. New Zealand’s original and longest-running Greenshell Mussel cruise features freshly steamed mussels paired with a glass of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc for the ultimate wine/food match.

6.

ROYAL SPOONBILLS MAJESTIC PLUMAGE DISPLAYS IN WAIRAU LAGOON

A natural place where people have trod lightly is now a protected estuarine environment. Walk or kayak the saline lagoons enjoying the sight of over 70 bird species who nest and forage in the channel networks. The spectacular royal spoonbill is a frequent visitor and attracts birding fans from all over the world to the Marlborough Wairau Lagoon bird hides. For lovers of moody sunset photos the Wairau Lagoon is home to a rusting wreck. TIP insect repellant is very useful in the twilight as the sandflies come out to play. The lagoon is part of the Wairau River flow to the sea where the Wairau Bar is home to archeological finds such as artifacts identifying the ancestral origins of early East Polynesian navigators. For heritage lovers check out Marlborough culture and heritage trails for further information.

Royal Spoonbill New Zealand bird resident Wairau Lagoon
Royal Spoonbill New Zealand bird resident Wairau Lagoon
Picton, Queen Charlotte Sounds, Marlborough, New Zealand
Picton, Queen Charlotte Sounds

7.

QUEEN CHARLOTTE SOUNDS & TRACK

An underrated brilliant multiple-day walking track along the ridges, the beaches, and valleys of the Marlborough Sounds. Discover striking scenery from rolling farmland framed by coastal views, quiet beaches where access is either by boat or walking in, and panoramic views of the Marlborough Sounds. The best bit is absolutely brilliant for nature lovers who do not want to tramp long distances. Due to shared ownership between private property owners and the state there are a number of comfortable lodges dotted along the walk. Kayak, boat or simply relax in one of the lodges watching the world go by.

8.

SET SAIL IN THE MARLBOROUGH SOUNDS

Within a labyrinth of waterways, there are many secluded bays and inlets to explore from the comfort of a luxury 32ft Beneteau yacht. Whether you’ve been sailing for years, or are a first-timer, indulge in a chance to sail the Marlborough Sounds. Both skippered and self-drive charters are available. Sounds By Sail – is managed by locals providing a uniquely personal experience. This is a brilliant way to view the Sounds, from the water and the bonus is the marine life that, hopefully, comes to visit. Chat to the tour operator about the option of swimming with the dolphins remembering that marine life sets the rules of behaviour.

TIP

Swim with the dolphins

@MarlboroughSounds
@MarlboroughSounds
Beautiful green and clear pelorus river, known from the movie hobit. South Island, New Zealand
Pelorus Bridge

9.

PELORUS RIVER SCENIC RESERVE

Discover a reserve of towering podocarp forest. The Pelorus Bridge Scenic Reserve offers visitors the opportunity to relax and enjoy forest and river scenery, in one of the last stands of river flat forest in Marlborough. Swim in the deep cool green water of the Pelorus River and walk the Nydia track. A truly beautiful part of Marlborough with an accessible river gorge surrounded by ancient forest. “Pelorus Bridge is a tiny locality in Marlborough, New Zealand where the Rai River meets Pelorus River. The reserve is on State Highway 62.” Pelorus Bridge – Wikipedia… Read more about Pelorus River Scenic Reserve

10.

MOLESWORTH STATION

Remote high country tussock landscape is a complete contrast to the vineyards and Marlborough Sounds. The sweep of mountainous ranges is where the intrepid pastorals farmed the merino sheep renowned for their finely spun wool. The Awatere Valley is starkly beautiful and the setting for the Molesworth Station. The heritage of farming in remote isolated corners of the country is described in Marlborough Culture & Heritage trails together with details about how to join a tour to explore one of New Zealand’s hidden gems.

TIP

For further information about Marlborough’s charms check out Marlborough guide things to do.

Misty morning at Sedgemere Lakes, Molesworth Station, South Island, New Zealand
Molesworth Station

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