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Family fun

Marlborough family friendly top sights

  • 3 minutes

Omaka, Marlborough

Marlborough is one of New Zealand’s great family holiday destinations. There is not a shopping mall in sight however for families who enjoy the outdoors, walking Queen Charlotte track, swimming with dolphins, extraordinary Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre Marlborough is brilliant.


Best things to do, 6 highlights for a Marlborough family holiday

Beautiful green and clear pelorus river, known from the movie hobit. South Island, New Zealand
Beautiful green and clear pelorus river, known from the movie hobit. South Island, New Zealand
  • Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre where kids (of all ages) will be intrigued by the sheer scale of the immersive experience. Adventure doesn’t come any better than rafting the Pelorus River.
  • Discover why Sir Peter Jackson used the Pelorus River as a film location for Lord of the Rings movies.
  • Marlborough Sounds swim with dolphins, join a Mail Boat cruise and explore Meretoto Ship Cove on the Queen Charlotte track.
  • Cruise to a conservation reserve will resonate with kids and family members connected to the climate change dynamic
  • Try your hand at camping in an idyllic coastal setting with native bush and Marlborough Sounds as a backdrop
  • Relax in brilliant Marlborough and explore weekend Farmers Markets for easy, fresh snacks and fruit bites.

Find adventures where the imagination soars

  • Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre with interactive video exhibits, actual planes that continue to fly in airshows, fascinating stories of the importance of planes in the history of New Zealand and elsewhere. Vintage planes that look as though they are made of cardboard with open cockpits intrigue kids and the magic of the annual airshow with fighter planes. There is not a glass window in sight as you stand next to gunners intent on downing a German plane
Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, Blenheim, New Zealand
Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre
Wither Hills, working farm, open to public, Marlborough, New Zealand
Wither Hills
  • Wither Hills Farm park animals and walks is a classic urban kid introduction to nature with panoramic views of Marlborough
  • Go cycling as a family around the local cycle trails in Blenheim along the The Quay, Riverside shared pathway. Explore Motuweka Havelock boardwalk and Link Pathway near Havelock.
  • Raft the Pelorus River and find out where Peter Jackson, movie magician, created the movie scene for the film Lord of the Rings. Enjoy rapids suitable for most age groups and jump into the Pelorus River for a dip afterwards. Pelorus Scenic Reserve has several attractive short walks with suspension bridges, native bush and a dinky camping ground.

Relax, beach and summer things to do for kids in Marlborough

  • Go water bombing off the jetty, find a wharf to drop a line to catch your next meal. Check where it is safe to swim in the Marlborough Sounds. The areas are defined by yellow buoys and are reserved for swimming only between Labour Weekend and Easter of the following year. There are swimming rafts associated with the Waikawa Bay and Picton Foreshore areas.
  • Picnic on the Picton foreshore next to the enormous shady palms and watch the interisland ferry dock at the Picton terminal. Find out the Top 12 family friendly attractions, things to do in Picton – Best Bits.
Picton waterfront playground, South Island, New Zealand
Picton waterfront playground, South Island

There is a very good water splash playground in the vicinity, Check out Swim, picnic and outdoors guide for places to go in Marlborough.

  • Go mountain biking on the Queen Charlotte Track. The trail is a designated ‘Great Ride.’ Scroll through Meretoto Ship Cove review and find out how to enjoy the trail (with the kids) without the hard slog for smaller people

Check out Best 10 short walks in Marlborough.

Royal Spoonbill New Zealand bird resident Wairau Lagoon
Royal Spoonbill New Zealand bird resident Wairau Lagoon

Nature and outdoors

  • Observe Royal Spoonbills in Wairau Lagoon and find a rusting shipwreck, The Waverley as you peer under the boardwalk for eels and local fish. While this is a superb walking trail for kids it is not a short walk. Wairau Lagoon is approximately 15 drive from Blenheim town centre
  • Cruise and explore Queen Charlotte Sound short walks where, in the 18th century Captain James Cook landed in the South Island. Picnic, walk and relax before boarding your boat for a return to Picton. Captain Cook returned three times to Ship Cove, over 100 days in total at anchor in Meretoto Ship Cove
Dolphins in playful mood in Queen Charlotte Sound, South Island, New Zealand
Dolphins in playful mood in Queen Charlotte Sound, South Island, New Zealand
Remains of the nineteenth century ship `Edwin Fox`, preserved in Picton, New Zealand
Remains of the nineteenth century ship `Edwin Fox`, preserved in Picton, New Zealand

Discover culture and heritage

  • Find a resorted ship Edwin Fox and hear stories of how a former slave ship ended up in Picton and visit the Picton heritage and whaling museum to hear stories about whalers and the harsh living conditions surrounding the whaling industry. Discover the story of the Perano Whaling Station.




Arapawa Island is where whalers spotted whales on their annual migration from lookouts. Perano Head, is where Australian ex-convict John Guard set up Te Awaiti whaling station on Arapawa Island. An easy way to get to Arapawa Island is with E-Ko tours on a whale experience tour.


Check STAY for best locations to stay in the Marlborough Sounds.



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