Discover Marlborough’s garden delights. Places to go range from sprawling rural gardens to urban gems. Marlborough’s public parks and reserves offer visitors a chance to relax from the stunning Pollard Park in Blenheim to Wither Hills Farm Park on the outskirts of town. Delve into Marlborough’s hidden gems such as a park where visitors are invited to harvest the fruit from a heritage orchard. Find out what to do nearby with the Marlborough regional guide offering tips where to go and what to see.
MARLBOROUGH PARKS & RESERVES
Marlborough offers parks and reserves where families, couples intent on private spaces and kids needing a place to kick a ball have plenty of options. There are parks with rivers and swimming holes and places where massed daffodils welcome spring.
- BRAYSHAW PARK. Brayshaw Park provides a site for heritage and other activities in Blenheim. Named after the late Norm Brayshaw, a local historian. Brayshaw Park is home to a vintage museum and outdoor collection of memorabilia.
- THE QUAYS, RIVERSIDE PARK. Part of the original settlement area of Blenheim where scows and river boats used to ply their trade, the Riverside Park is part of the flood protection zone for the town. The shaded paths and garden areas are a local favourite meeting place.
- POLLARD PARK, MARLBOROUGH. Pollard Park is an extensive park in the north of Blenheim, covering 26.4 hectares, providing a popular venue for weddings, picnics and family gatherings. Pollard Park is a classic Victorian style garden with a contemporary playground. The park is the venue for outdoor concerts, festival events and market days. Events include a summer concert series, and the annual Marlborough Multicultural Festival (February or March) each year to commemorate Race Unity Day. The park is also used for “Christmas in the Park”, a Christmas concert. Facilities include: accessible for wheelchairs/prams, drinking water station, fitness stations, linkage between streets and tree information
- WITHER HILLS FARM PARK. The park is a working farm managed by the local government. The Wither Hills Farm Park offers a brilliant range of walking and mountain biking tracks on a 1,100ha working sheep and cattle farm just minutes from Blenheim’s CBD. Walking tracks lead to views of Blenheim and the Wairau Valley, and Cloudy Bay. There are short easy strolls along the base of the hills.
- Burleigh Park has picnic tables, a playground and numerous large trees for families to relax under.
- Harling Park is a Japanese style park, built as part of a sister city project to represent the relationship between Blenheim and Tendo and Otari in Japan. Seymour Square is a public space in the centre of town with War I and World War II memorials. The location is a favourite meeting spot due to its location.
- Liz Davidson Place is a pocket park within the Blenheim CBD with a paved area, public toilets, seating, trees and a raised grassed area.
TAYLOR DAM RESERVE, MARLBOROUGH
Taylor Dam is the largest earth flood protection structure in New Zealand and a popular Blenheim recreational reserve and wildlife habitat. Taylor River Reserve is a floodway and recreation reserve that runs from Taylor Dam to Riverside Park in Central Blenheim.
The Wither Hills park forms the southern boundary of the reserve. Bikers can ride to the park from Blenheim centre, using the Taylor River Trail to the Taylor Dam Reserve. Enjoy a short ride along part of the trail or pack a picnic and do the return 5km ride. The grade is low and there’s plenty of shady trees and lots of river spots to paddle in. It’s also a brilliant dog exercise area.
KAIPUPU WILDLIFE SANCTUARY, PICTON
Victoria Domain is an extensive reserve providing excellent views over Picton harbour and a number of walking tracks. Another public reserve in Picton is Kaipupu Point is a headland separating Picton harbour from Shakespeare Bay that has been transformed into a wildlife sanctuary. Kaipupu Wildlife Sanctuary is a community project which aims to restore a 40 hectare ‘mainland island’ in Picton harbour. The Sanctuary offers amazing wildlife viewing, engaging school or group visits and volunteering opportunities. Only ten minutes by boat from Picton, the Sanctuary can be accessed by private boat, water taxi or kayak. It is free to visit but donations are appreciated. Allow 1.5 – 2 hours to walk around the 2.7 km circular track.
LOCKMARA LODGE, PICTON
Lochmara Lodge – a Wildlife Recovery and Arts Centre.
Imagine your eyes glued to an underwater observatory observing marine animals in their natural environment. There are glow worm caves and a network of walks supplemented with information plaques describing the history of the area, geology and conservation projects. The walks pass a bee display with glimpses of the coast at every turn. The Lodge’s property is 11 acres.
KOROMIKO RESERVE, MARLBOROUGH
A former deer park is now a reserve. In 2002-2003 an ecological survey was conducted at the former Koromiko Deer Park, which is administered by Council. An ecological assessment found that the site is ecologically significant, as it is representative of the great historic forests of the alluvial flats in the valleys north of the Wairau Valley. The 4 ha reserve is also the best example of valley flat treelands in the Para Ecological District, if not the wider region, and contains a nationally endangered plant, the yellow mistletoe (Alepis flavida). Koromiko Forest Planting. This reserve is now being managed as a forest reserve with a revegetation programme. For more information Koromiko Forest Reserve – Marlborough District Council.
INTERESTING FACT – FREE FRUIT
MCKENDRY RESERVE, MARLBOROUGH
A gem of a public reserve with spring daffodil massed blooms and extensive heritage fruit tree plantings in a former commercial orchard in Springlands. The council online resource invites visitors to visit the former plum orchard bounded by Murphys Creek on one side and by walnut trees on the other three. The orchard has been under-planted with a large collection of daffodils. Please help yourself to the fruit. Check out McKendry Park – Marlborough District Council for details.
MOUNT RICHMOND FOREST PARK
Mount Richmond Forest Park is one of New Zealand’s largest parks at 166,000 hectares. The substantial beech forest covers the rugged mountain ranges. The park spans several regions and comprises most of the steep native forest-covered mountain country between Nelson and Blenheim. There are also areas of commercially forested pine plantations on public land. The mountainous landscape is a favourite advanced tramping destination. Check Mount Richmond Forest Park for details.
PELORUS RIVER SCENIC RESERVE
The Pelorus River Scenic Reserve is a protected area showcasing remnant podocarp forest. The reserve is a must-go top ten destination for Marlborough visitors. Check here for more information about Pelorus River Scenic Reserve.
PRIVATE GARDENS IN MARLBOROUGH
Marlborough with its temperate growing climate offers visitors heritage Victorian garden styles, clipped ornate gardens, wild gardens, native gardens and parks galore to linger in.
HORTENSIA HOUSE, MARLBOROUGH
Massed romantic glory in pastel shades is a homage to Monet inspired garden style. The massive blue hydrangeas lining the driveway are stunning. This is a spring and summer garden complete with a creek bisecting the property. The garden is open by appointment only and is a regular in the Garden Festival.
UPTON OAKS GARDEN & ACCOMMODATION, MARLBOROUGH
Laurella Cottage, a fully restored NZ 1850’s colonial cottage is nestled in a five star garden of national significance. What a place for a special celebration. There is a popular photo opportunity in the 17th century styled Knot Garden. Spring and summer offers visitors the chance to enjoy well tended herbaceous borders brimming with flower colour. Relax on a garden seat and view the ponds, the flowering beds and swaths of green lawn. In contrast is a wild olive grove with paths to large raised vegetable beds and espaliered fruit trees.
WELTON HOUSE AND ELIZA’S COTTAGE, MARLBOROUGH
Imagine a boutique cottage surrounded by the formal lines of a vineyard. It is rural charm at its best. Welton House Garden is contemporary with interesting botanical plants and clever use of space to highlight special corners. The cottage comes with its own private swimming pool. Highlights include unique and extensive topiary hedges which mirror the Richmond Ranges and powerful oversized wooden steps, platforms, and pergolas that settle the garden in its place. The vineyard and garden practice composting and return to nature principles. Picton.
WOODEND GARDENS, MARLBOROUGH
Wedding in the plans or a special occasion then Woodend Gardens & Vineyard seven acres of garden and a 10-acre vineyard of sauvignon blanc grapes is a popular choice. Large specimen trees add depth and character to the formal hedging and plantings. Look for the flowering chestnuts and magnolias in spring.
Open by appointment for groups and private tours.
WINTERHOME GARDEN, MARLBOROUGH
Sweeping 10 acres of structured formal garden and park-like grounds is a place to wander and relax. The formal hedged garden beds are home to massed peonies and other dramatic plantings. The dramatic garden lines are delineated by sculptural features. Visitors are welcome between October through to December. Prior arrangement is required and an admission fee applies.
LONGFIELD GARDEN, MARLBOROUGH
The venue is a garden bonanza highlight of the Rapaura Marlborough Garden Festival. The Garden Party at Longfield is indulgence. The garden is opulent, grand and theatrical. Longfield really understands what it means to party. Combined with Marlborough’s gourmet food treats, visitors soak up the atmosphere of the garden, sculptures, fountains and formal plantings.
BARWOOD GARDEN, MARLBOROUGH
One of New Zealand’s six star gardens of international significance is a must-go destination for lovers of cultivated spaces, gardens and parks. Barewood Garden is a semi-formal country garden style framed with mature trees. The original homestead with its wide verandahs, summer roses is a comfortable counterpoint to the deep herbaceous borders and sweeping lawns. A visitor favourite is the hawthorn walk guiding you through a grassed meadow to a pair of summerhouses and a secluded pond fringed with water plants, willows and silver birches.
Barewood Garden is open from 1st October through to 30th April. Please contact prior to your visit. There is an admission charged.
BHUDEVI GARDEN & VINEYARD, MARLBOROUGH
Discover a slice of Marlborough brilliance with 1.5 hectares of sculptured garden nestled within an organic vineyard. There is a native garden along the creek, a secluded rock and fern garden, and an elevated garden with views overlooking the vineyards across to the Richmond range. There is luxury accommodation on site. Pets are also welcome, by prior appointment.
BEST BITS TRAVEL GUIDE