Best areas for key attractions
Getting around: stay in key locations (areas)
MARLBOROUGH Location, location, location says it all. The area you stay influences your ease of getting around an area that you are not familiar with. Check out itineraries, touring routes for tips on deciding where to stay. Transport is a key factor as precious holiday time can easily be wasted trying to get to a bucket list attraction. A breakdown of where to stay and why you should stay in this area of Marlborough is provided.
MARLBOROUGH LOCATION FACTORS
- There is very little public transport in the sparsely populated Marlborough region
- Marlborough vineyards are between 45 minutes to 30 minutes driving time from Picton
- One way walks on Queen Charlotte Track will require drop off and pick up
- Cycling in Marlborough is largely on flat easy roads; there are very few dedicated cycle lanes
QUEEN CHARLOTTE SOUNDS / MARLBOROUGH SOUNDS
Birdsong, glorious waterways to wake up to and the tranquil surroundings (it is likely your mobile has no coverage) create a magical holiday experience of getting away from it all. Most of the private accommodation providers are based near or on the Queen Charlotte Track making the end of the day a breeze. Simply collapse into the comfort of a soft bed and delicious meals a heartbeat away in the onsite cafe / restaurant. A unique transport option for some stays as the only access is by boat or helicopter.
Accommodation options in the Marlborough / Queen Charlotte Sounds range from budget shared rooms to pampering, luxury stays where your accommodation is personalised to your wants and needs.
Picton is primarily a transport hub with the Cook Strait ferries. There are a number of motels and budget accommodation options for visitors transiting through the region to Nelson.
Havelock and its vicinity is primarily servicing visitors to the Queen Charlotte Track. It is an ideal option for families looking for cheaper accommodation and who have access to a vehicle.
Blenheim is a mix of accommodation for businesses visiting the area, visitors who are focused on wineries and vineyard tours as well as visitors who have access to a vehicle. On the outskirts of Blenheim in the vineyards are beautifully appointed stay options from mid-range bed & breakfast to luxury lodges.
It’s essential you finalise your trip bucket list experiences, check their opening hours, especially in the low season (winter May – September) and then pick your accommodation. For holiday inspiration and ideas what to do and see in Marlborough, check out Marlborough regional guide.
GETTING AROUND: WHERE TO STAY IN MARLBOROUGH
WHERE TO STAY IN THE MARLBOROUGH SOUNDS
BUDGET – STANDARD
A working beef farm is the location for a holiday park offering standard motel units, chalets, powered and non-powered sites. The owners / managers are veteran hospitality providers with an extensive network of operators at their fingertips to organise sea kayaking, guided bush walks, wine tours and there is even a mini-golf course on site. The park practices active eco-management with low flush toilets, tap flow limiters and more. It is an outstanding facility worthy of the awards it has garnered over the years.
What a find on the Queen Charlotte Track, A lodge with a number of short walks starting from its beachfront location, complimentary water sport equipment and the fun of getting there by boat.
Mistletoe Bay is named after the native mistletoe which once flourished around the bay. They are a semi-parasitic plant which photosynthesise themselves but rely on a host plant for water and nutrients.
The two main species are Ileostylus micranthus and Tupeia antarctica, which display crimson flowers. Honeyeaters love their nectar. Since the introduction of possums, mistletoe has declined dramatically. The possums gorge on the tender green leaves and one species, Trilepidea adamsii, is extinct. Survey work and recovery programmes by DoC are aimed at re-establishing plants in the light and airy forest margins they prefer. One day the hope is mistletoe can be re-introduced to its namesake bay.
A great place for family and friends. If you are worried the kids will be bored in a remote location then Lochmara Lodge is the answer you are looking for with plenty of options the kids will love. Lochmara Lodge is a short water taxi from Picton. There are complimentary kayaks, SUP, outdoor play areas, feeding farm animals, and an underwater observatory captures views of the Sounds marine world.
Accommodation ranges from budget backpackers to luxury lodges nested in the Sounds.
9 Lady Cobham Grove, Anakiwa, New Zealand
Hopewell Lodge is framed by native bush and sheltered water encouraging visitors to wind down and grab a hammock to lazily relax into the surroundings. Located in Kenepuru Sound the remote setting is ideal for bush walking, kayaking or exploring the Queen Charlotte Track. Check out the getting there, it’s inspired and the stuff of a dream starts to your special time together.
A bit of everything … from hillside accommodation featuring scenic views of Endeavor Inlet in premium suites and chalets perfect for couples, to family and group apartments or basic rooms for those on a budget. Another option for couples wishing to explore Marlborough Sounds. Queen Charlotte track day exploration is a great way to dip your toes into what is on offer. Walk or bike to Furneaux Lodge for lunch (11 km of easy track) and hop onboard a scheduled Cougar Line water taxi back to Punga Cove. Bike hire is available by advance booking.
NOTE: Walks at Furneaux Lodge – Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand is a sister lodge to Punga Cove.
The Sounds Retreat Luxury Lodge is a spectacular paradise showcasing nature and luxury living at its finest. With a focus on unparalleled service and exquisite creature comforts, this award-winning private lodge is pampering plus. Who needs to walk for 5 minutes to the Queen Charlotte Track when the retreat is equipped with a full gymnasium for fitness enthusiasts, housing cardio machines, free weights, and strength training facilities. A continental breakfast is part of the package.
A jewel in the Marlborough Sounds offering a five star luxury retreat. The setting is accessible only by boat and is nestled in its own private bay. Perhaps you want to whisked by helicopter in style sweeping over the picturesque Sounds on your way in. Gourmet food, superb views of the water, pools and spa and active visitors are encouraged to use complimentary kayaks, paddleboards and to go fishing.
REMOTE MARLBOROUGH SOUNDS ACCOMMODATION
d’Urville Island Wilderness Resort is located in the stunning Catherine Cover, D’Urville Island. Getting there is an adventure in itself on a road that winds its way through the hills and valleys of French Pass. Although you can take the shortcut to the island and catch a boat from Havelock / Picton. The resort has a bar, restaurant so gourmet Marlborough cuisine is part of the deal of decamping to the island sanctuary. The island’s walking trails, fishing charters offer the chance to truly escape to an island in the middle of the Sounds. Perfect for couples wanting time together, families who relish the outdoors and guests who simply want to soak up the atmosphere of the great outdoors.
OUTER MARLBOROUGH SOUNDS – TORY CHANNEL ARAPAOA ISLAND
Don’t worry about the stiff breeze coming in from the Tory Channel. On Arapaoa Island the historic Arapawa Homestead has been immaculately restored to its full vintage glory complete with floral prints and dark wood finishings. Known as Gunyah, the homestead has 13 beds, including a glamping sleep-out. But the first thing you’ll notice is the view of the entrance to the Tory Channel. It’s constantly amazing watching the massive ferries negotiate their way into the Sounds marine waterways through the Tory Channel.
BLENHEIM STAY, ACCOMMODATION
A hub for many visitors with a number of motels to choose from.
BUDGET TO MID-RANGE
Add a website link, contact phone number and create a location pin map of Blenheim with location for each stay.
Chateau Marlborough – situated within a 5 min walk of central Blenheim as well as the Taylor river walk. Modern rooms with a pool and on site restaurant and bar.
Scenic Hotel – across from the lovely Seymour Square gardens, only minutes from town and across the road from the river. Onsite pool, restaurant and bar.
Blenheim Palms – located approximately 100 metres to the central Blenheim restaurants, bars, cafes, supermarket and shops and only 5 minutes from the start of the vineyards.
171 on High – centrally located motel accommodation on High Street, Blenheim. Comfortable, clean and economical option.
Knightsbridge – this is a simple but comfortable motel option, conveniently located for supermarket shopping.
Blenheim’s luxury boutique escape
14th Lane Urban Hotel is a luxury boutique option. You will be impressed with the massive mound of pillows on the bed and soft as silk dressing gowns. The enormous bedrooms have luxury amenities and a well-stocked personal bar.
RETREAT AMONG THE VINES
Flanked by vines on all sides, the Hans Herzog Vineyard cottage is about as Marlborough as you can get. With a complimentary tasting included with the stay, the Wairau River running along the edge of the property and bikes on-hand for gentle exploring, you can get the full experience without even leaving the grounds. Each stay starts with a tour of the vines and winery. Currently the onsite restaurant is in hibernation yet you are close to cafes and restaurants with the option of a continental breakfast you will not suffer. Think about a private tasting tour, complete with gourmet meals as a once in a lifetime treat.
BLENHEIM A TOUCH OF ROMANCE
A glorious garden is the setting for a romantic cottage nestled among the summer blooms. What a wonderful cottage. The magic moment is the sound of cooing white pigeons. Guests are greeted with home baked cake, biscuits and fruit. Laurella Cottage, and invite you to experience the ambience of a fully restored NZ 1850’s, colonial cottage. The only cottage accommodation in Marlborough, in a 5 Star Garden of National Significance. Self contained boutique accommodation.
New Zealand’s SELF-CATERING LUXURY RESORT
A gorgeous luxury feel to the retreat with the idea of self-catering in Marlborough is a winner. There is yummy food at your fingertips in the province. The place has stunning views of the countryside from its hilltop location. Located just 10 minutes drive from central Blenheim, The Nineteenth is set on a private vineyard and features expansive views over surrounding vineyards, farmland and Marlborough Golf Course. There is a boutique and then there is The Nineteenth with only two bedrooms, two bathrooms, extensive kitchen and facilities. It is fun, slightly quirky as though you turned up at your relatives luxury pad and stayed for several days.
Getting to places to stay in Marlborough
10 wonderful places for families to camp in Marlborough
Marlborough is a perfect family holiday location with its consistently warm summer temperatures. Ok, it’s New Zealand, and similar to Tasmania the weather is changeable (this is an excuse for a cool brisk shower) yet Marlborough in January and February is an excellent outdoor activities destination.learn more