Generic filters
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Search in excerpt

Marlborough things to do, attractions, places to go

STOP. Don’t join the crowds of visitors rushing off the Picton ferry on their way to Nelson. Explore Marlborough, New Zealand. Marlborough, with its vineyards, vibrant artisan community, wide open spaces and iconic Queen Charlotte Sounds is a world class destination. Scenic Marlborough is tucked into the hills and rivers of the South Island at the top of the South Island, New Zealand.

Marlborough brilliant every day

Mini top sights

 

 

Marlborough – brilliant every day

Row of beautiful grape yard before sunset with mountain in Blenheim, New Zealand
Row of beautiful grape yard before sunset with mountain in Blenheim, New Zealand

Marlborough wine trail  – vineyards, food & feast

Explore over 30 cellar doors at your own pace, self-drive, cycle or join a guided wine tour. Or if you prefer a cold beer, then don’t worry Marlborough has you covered with the local Renaissance and Moa craft breweries producing quality brews. A number of wineries have attached cafes. Marlborough guide to wineries. Check online for up to date information as circumstances have forced some venues to close.

Marlborough, Queen Charlotte Track

Discover an underrated walking trail. Queen Charlotte Track is part and parcel of the charms of the Marlborough Sounds.

Queen Charlotte Sounds Track is one of New Zealand’s great walks, walks range from from easy half hour strolls to multiple day treks. The Queen Charlotte track length stretches 70km from Ship Cove to Anakiwa and is an intermediate to advanced grade. The whole track can be completed in 5 days on foot, or 3 days on a mountain bike with luggage transfers.  Connections between various locations are available by water-taxi. 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.

Dolphins in playful mood in Queen Charlotte Sound, South Island, New Zealand
Dolphins in playful mood in Queen Charlotte Sound, South Island, New Zealand
INTERESTING FACT

The Marlborough Sounds are a network of sunken river valleys, where the land has slowly sunk and the water level has risen, flooding a vast area over millions of years. The area is not a national park but many areas are protected as reserves.

Na Clahan Wine tours

Small tours, local knowledge, wine qualified guide, we're all about the personal experience. We just want you to feel at home here during your Marlborough wine tour! Good wine, delicious food and cheeky summer treats are what we’re all about. In other words, get stuck in!

learn more
Naclachan Wine Tours
Naclachan Wine Tours

Highlights of the Queen Charlotte Track, Marlborough Sounds

French Pass, Marlborough, native, original bush and forest views of the Sounds
French Pass, Marlborough, native, original bush and forest views of the Sounds, NZ
  1. Scenic views of the Marlborough Sounds, lush deep green coastal podocarp forest and bays and skyline ridges outlining sea to sky panoramic views.
  2. Walking, kayaking  & cycling options integrated into a unique journey. It is an extraordinary part of the Queen Charlotte track, the ability to customise your holiday to enjoy on water and on land experiences.
  3. Less crowded, space to enjoy secluded untouched forest. Enchantment as you enjoy the space and peace of the bush.
  4. Link pathway is a trail less travelled and you get the bonus of the delights of Havelock, greenlipped mussels and, perhaps the opportunity for a mussel farm visit. ouch of comfort with lodges and luxury hideaways at the end of the day.
  5. Queen Charlotte track is one of New Zealand’s Great Rides as part of Nga Haerenga The New Zealand Cycle Trail.
  1. Excellent day walk options throughout the trail with side trips to waterfalls and secluded coves for a quick dip. Walking buffs scroll through Best 10 short walks in Marlborough
  2. The joy of gourmet meals at the end of the day’s walk with luxury lodges dotted throughout the track. A glass of local sauvignon blanc in hand to contemplate the sights and sounds of the Marlborough Sounds.  Nothing like soft bedding to add glamour to the walking experience.
  3. Opportunities to break your tramp with a stay at Mistletoe Eco Lodge, home to a number of great short walks. Mistletoe Bay Peninsular Track (signposted Loop Track) starts at the beach and leads to regenerating forest and up through pines with views of Mistletoe Bay.
  4. Visitors relish the opportunity to immerse themselves in the flora and fauna of New Zealand.
Wairau Lagoon Boardwalk, New Zealand
Wairau Lagoon Boardwalk, New Zealand
TIP

Look on the underside of the fern for the design origins in Maori art and notice the small black seeds attached.

Saddleback, New Zealand endangered bird, Motuara Island, Marlborough Sounds, south island, New Zealand
Saddleback, New Zealand endangered bird, Motuara Island, Marlborough Sounds, south island, New Zealand
  1. Birdlife is diverse and friendly. The inquisitive weka, a flightless New Zealand native bird is a frequent companion on the track. Consider planning a guided trip to the Motuara Island Bird Sanctuary on the way to Ship Cove, where the birdlife is prolific.

Marlborough Sounds attractions

Brilliant, marine wildlife sanctuaries, personality plus Marlborough Sounds is wrapped around stunning inlets and coves. Hop aboard the Picton Mail Boat cruise  and meet the locals. Embrace adventure and try your hand at sea kayaking .

Meretoto / Ship Cove Waterfall Walk in the Marlborough Sounds, NZ
Meretoto / Ship Cove Waterfall Walk in the Marlborough Sounds, NZ

Marlborough gardens & parks

Rose garden in Pollard Park in Blenheim, New Zealand
Rose garden in Pollard Park in Blenheim, New Zealand

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.

Marlborough walks

Brilliant scenery and a temperate climate is an ideal combination for holiday outdoors exploring wild Marlborough from the well known Queen Charlotte Track to coastal walks and forest trails. There are short walks with landscapes from podocarp forests to lush frond filled fern gullies. Combine these short walks with heritage trails exploring Marlborough’s past

  • Scroll through Marlborough gardens and parks to find playgrounds.
  • Want a panoramic view of Marlborough then it’s up to the top of the Wither Hills Farm Park summit
  • Discover treasures such as Koromiko Forest Reserve with its conservation trail and listen to the tui singing its heart out
  • Ship wreck buffs have the Wairau Lagoons Walkway with flat meandering salt marshes creating an otherworldly vibe.  At sunset you will have an excellent photo moment of the ship wreck resting in the mud. You are walking in the footsteps of New Zealand’s earliest inhabitants, Moa Hunter Polynesians (circa 1200 AD).
Wither Hills, working farm, open to public, Marlborough, New Zealand
Wither Hills, working farm, open to public, Marlborough, New Zealand

Family friendly activities in Marlborough

Brilliant, your holiday plans are sorted, next stop Marlborough. Disembark from the interisland ferry and revel in the sunshine as the kids explore the Picton foreshore playground. 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.

Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre Knights of the Sky map directions, WWI, Blenheim Marlborough, NZ
Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre Knights of the Sky map directions, WWI, Blenheim Marlborough, NZ

Shopping & markets in Marlborough

Marlborough Sunday Farmers Market. The choice of deli products reflects Malborough’s role as one of New Zealand’s fruit bowls. Make sure you have enough room in your suitcase as you are sure to acquaire a special treat for the road. For veteran market attendees Marlborough’s Sunday Farmers Market A&P showgrounds is a must do activity. For vintage and second hand clothing Blenheim is worth a detour to check out the latest finds.

@Marlborough Farmers Market
@Marlborough Farmers Market

Couples & romance in Marlborough

View of Pelorus Sound from Cullen Point Lookout on Queen Charlotte Drive, Marlborough Region on South Island of New Zealand
View of Pelorus Sound from Cullen Point Lookout on Queen Charlotte Drive, Marlborough Region on South Island of New Zealand

Marlborough competes with its top of the South Island, neighbour, Nelson province offering romantic ingredients.

Marlborough has brilliant coastal scenery, gourmet food treats, wineries, and unique attractions to suit any taste. There is the quiet beauty of the Queen Charlotte track with luxurious lodges where your bags are seamlessly transported and delicious meals await your arrival … read more Marlborough romantic places, things to do for couples – Best Bits.

TIP

Check out selfies, 32 spots for a great photo in Marlborough.

Heritage & arts in Marlborough

Find the location of the first documented landing of people in Aotearoa New Zealand. Delve into the murky waters of whaling. Listen to intriguing stories about Molesworth pastoral farming in the alpine high country. Spend time lingering in regional museums uncovering interesting facts and absorbing the photographs of a bygone era… READ MORE Marlborough art, culture & heritage trail – Best Bits.

Renwick Museum, Renwick, Marlborough Region, South Island, New Zealand
Renwick Museum, Renwick, Marlborough Region, South Island, New Zealand

INTERESTING …

Whatamango Bay Campsite, Marlborough, New Zealand @Doc
Whatamango Bay Campsite, Marlborough, New Zealand @Doc

Want to camp in a Marlborough heritage site?

We’ve found you a seriously off the beaten track camping site. The Department of Conservation Pukatea / Whites Bay  is a DOC camping ground, and an old telegraph office, which was the site of the first telegraphic link between the North and South Islands in 1866. The campsite is basic, first come, first served with no forward bookings. For camping details check Whites Bay conservation campsite: Blenheim area, Marlborough region, detailed in Port Underwood, an itinerary between Blenheim to Picton – Best Bits

Marlborough shipwrecks – places to visit

Marlborough is the unlikely candidate for ship wrecks and evocative stories of slave hulks and military transport ships. Throw in the mix a luxury Russian cruise ship you have the makings of a great holiday experience… read more about Marlborough Shipwrecks.

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 Remains of the nineteenth century ship `Edwin Fox`, preserved in Picton, New Zealand
Ship wrecks Scuttled rusting hulk of SS Waverley in shallows of Wairau Lagoons, Marlborough
@millenniumpublicartgallerymarlborough
@millenniumpublicartgallerymarlborough

Galleries

A good place to start is the Marlborough Art Society rooms where information about opening hours and galleries is available. Do not forget to check with the Marlborough Visitor Centre as well for brochures and up and coming artist installations and exhibits.

Where is Blenheim, Marlborough located?

Blenheim the agricultural & viticultural hub of Marlborough is the gateway to ateway to the wineries of the Wairau Valley.

Where is Picton, Marlborough located?

In the Marlborough Sounds and the interisland port terminal for the North & South Islands of New Zealand.

Where is Havelock, Marlborough located?

At the head of Pelorus Sound is the small settlement of Havelock, the greenshell mussel capital of the world.

The Havelock Museum on the main street of the small town, Havelock, Marlborough, New Zealand

Where is Renwick, Marlborough located?

Nearby to the south bank of the Wairau River and all those glorious gravel soils.

Next to Clos Henri Vineyard, Delegat Wine Estate, Cloudy Bay Vineyards, Brancott Estate Vineyard.

Renwick Heritage Museum, Marlborough, New Zealand

Getting around & getting about in Marlborough

What is the best way to get to Marlborough, NZ?

  • The best way to arrive and depart from Marlborough New Zealand largely depends on your budget.
  • The cheapest way to turn up is by interisland ferry as a pedestrian passenger.
  • There is a daily bus connection between Marlborough (Picton and Blenheim) and Nelson, Christchurch and elsewhere in the South Island.
  • The scenic way to arrive in Marlborough is by train via Christchurch with a stop in Kaikoura. The quickest way to arrive and depart Marlborough is by plane.

Marlborough Airport

Marlborough Airport is located in the grounds of Woodbourne, an airforce base. The regional airport has direct flights to Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland with onwards connections to other domestic airports. The airport is 7 km from the Blenheim.
There is a Ritchies bus service from the airport to Blenheim several times a day (Bus Route #4).

The main airline flying into Marlborough Airport is Air New Zealand. Sounds Air has an office at the airstrip at Koromiko and offers scenic flights of the Marlborough Sounds as well as connections to Wellington and Nelson.

Marlborough transport

Car Rental, it’s super easy to pick up a rental car at the airport however in the busy summer season bookings are necessary. Use the rental car search  to find the most suitable rental vehicle for your needs. You can pick up and drop off rental vehicles at the airport.

Air NZ over Marlborough, New Zealand
Air NZ over Marlborough, New Zealand
Inter island ferry, Bluebridge, heading to Picton. Viewed from Karaka Point, Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand
Inter island ferry, Bluebridge, heading to Picton. Viewed from Karaka Point, Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand

Interisland ferry services Wellington (North island) to Picton (South Island)

The two ferry services InterIslander and Bluebridge carry both passengers, vehicles and freight trains. Ferries navigate the Cooks Strait and the crossing is generally 3 ½ hours. The Cook Strait is known for its swell and many passengers feel very green after the voyage. Sick bags are prominently displayed in the front pockets of ferry passenger seating.

Marlborough train services

KiwiRail runs a daily tourist ‘Coastal Pacific’ service in the summer months (October to May) stopping at Blenheim, Kaikoura and Christchurch.

Bus services in Marlborough, NZ

Intercity Bus Service has depots outside the ferry terminal in Picton, Blenheim train station and Kaikoura with connections to Christchurch, Dunedin and Queenstown. Services also connect with nearby Nelson, Motueka and the West Coast. In the sumer months is this one bus daily to each of these routes.

Getting around Marlborough is not easy without a vehicle (or a bike) as the widely scattered population is not well serviced by a regional public bus service. Scroll through Bus Services – Marlborough District Council for up to date information.

InterCity® operates daily buses from Picton to Blenheim with services departing from the main entrance of Interislander Ferry terminal on Auckland Street, Picton. The journey from Picton to Blenheim takes approximately 30 minutes with buses arriving at the Blenheim i-SITE. Source Intercity bus

Marlborough weather

The forecast is brilliant. Marlborough and Nelson are the superstars in the sunshine department. January and February are the hottest months with an average temperature of 23 degrees. July is the coldest month with an average temperature of 12c. Winter, will chilly and brisk is known for its wonderful light.

Kiwis know a good thing when they see it and both Marlborough and Nelson during the summer months are packed with locals often returning year after year.

And the gossip is true about the West Coast, from Murchison onwards expect rain throughout the year.

Rai Valley, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand
Rai Valley, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand

Where is the best location to stay in Marlborough?

@pictontop10
@pictontop10

There are three towns experienced in visitor hospitality, Blenheim, Picton and Havelock with a swath of popular camping grounds. The distance between each settlement is less than 1 hour drive making it easy for visitors to stay put and enjoy unpacking and relaxing into the holiday season.

  • Wine tours – Blenheim
  • Marlborough Sounds exploration – Havelock and Linkwater
  • Queen Charlotte Sound – Picton
  • Wine tours – Cloudy Bay Renwick

Marlborough, New Zealand road trips

Port Underwood road trip

Discover Heritage trail ghosts and summer hot spots, beaches and walks. The winding Port Underwood road offers phenomenal views of the Sounds and coastal New Zealand capturing a glimpse of how the countryside looked in the 1950’s. Look for Port Underwood’s vanished past with very little physical evidence of pre-European Maori settlement and the massive disruption of the whaling trade. Today marine mussel farms, small farms and lifestyle land blocks dot the area. And in summer locals flock to their holiday beaches, the beaches and the wharf to relax and revive in the quiet corner of the Marlborough Sounds.

Port Underwood, Marlborough, New Zealand
Port Underwood, Marlborough, New Zealand
French Pass, Marlborough, native, original bush and forest views of the Sounds
French Pass, Marlborough, native, original bush and forest views of the Sounds, NZ

French Pass & D’Urville Island, Marlborough Sounds road trip

French Pass, Marlborough winding, narrow gravel road with the promise of surprises around every hairpin bend. What a place to go. Hang on to your seatbelt as the road trip delivers cliffside soaring exhiliteration with views to match, sheep deciding they have the right to wander at will and an extraordinary island in the Tory Channel, Cook Strait at the end of the journey. Find time to explore, it’s brilliant and a bucket list destination.

Pelorus river reserve road trip

Kayak or walk Pelorus River Reserve. Spend a day exploring the river. There is a camp site as well as a general store.  Pelorus River rafting, kayaking through a movie set. 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.

Rai river swing bridge over the Rai river below, at Pelorus, Marlborough, New Zealand.
Rai river swing bridge over the Rai river below, at Pelorus, Marlborough, New Zealand
Picton, Queen Charlotte Sounds, Marlborough, New Zealand
Picton, Queen Charlotte Sounds, Marlborough, New Zealand

Queen Charlotte Drive (a Marlborough Sounds road trip)

The must-do road trip is about breath-taking views of the iconic Marlborough Sounds. Things to see and do range from photo opportunities galore, sea kayaking, visiting artists studios and soaking up views of quiet bays and inlets. The distance is short, approximately 40 kms however it is a journey winding its way through the Marlborough Sounds and is one of New Zealand’s top scenic drives.

AFFILIATE PARTNER STATEMENT

Our editors independently visit tour operators, purchase tickets, pay for accommodation, and rate products and places. We are not paid to go on a tour or visit a place. We only make money if you decide to purchase a product through our website links. You will not pay any extra, that is guaranteed.

We promise to never accept free products from manufacturers in return for boosting their products. Our independence and reviews is funded by your purchases and affiliate commissions, at no additional cost to yourself… read more about our affiliate programme in the terms and conditions HERE.

 

Travel pack information

BEST BITS TRAVEL GUIDE

Best Bits travel guide is published by nzjane.com. Owned and managed by PacificJane Ltd.

Enquire

If you have a query about content, travel deals or anything else, our team is happy to answer all your questions 🙂



    Your information is secure, no third party involved.
    100% Safe, secure, privacy guaranteed. Privacy Policy.

    Subscribe