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.
Mini top sights
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.
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.
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.
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
Look on the underside of the fern for the design origins in Maori art and notice the small black seeds attached.
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 .
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.
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
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
In the Marlborough Sounds and the interisland port terminal for the North & South Islands of New Zealand.
At the head of Pelorus Sound is the small settlement of Havelock, the greenshell mussel capital of the world.
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.
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.
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.
KiwiRail runs a daily tourist ‘Coastal Pacific’ service in the summer months (October to May) stopping at Blenheim, Kaikoura and Christchurch.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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