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Marlborough is wine country! You simply must experience some of the delicious drops that have made this region world famous. Another must is getting out on the water and exploring the jaw-dropping islands and scenery of the sparkling Marlborough Sounds.
Why is the wine so good here? On the Wairau Plains, the soil is free-draining and the climate continental, with lots of hot sun during the day, cool nights, and not much rain when the grapes are ripening. Wineries to try include Brancott Estate and Wither Hills. Take a tour with Marlborough Wine Tours or Wine Tours By Bike. Explore culture and history in Blenheim at the Marlborough Museum, Millennium Art Gallery, and Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, find something delectable at Makana Confections Blenheim, or get a bird's-eye view of the region with Windhawk Helicopters. In Picton, get closer to nature with Dolphin Watch Ecotours, at the EcoWorld Aquarium, or trekking with QueenCharlotteTrackNZ.com. Explore the Marlborough Sounds with Beachcomber Fun Cruises, the Greenshell Mussel Cruise, Sea Kayak Adventures and Wilderness Guides Marlborough Sounds.
Marlborough offers a lively café and dining scene, as well as some unique, characterful and sometimes remote spots to enjoy a tipple. In Blenheim get your caffeine fix from CPR or Café Velvet. Stop for coffee in Picton at Café Cortado or Gusto. In Havelock, try the Sneaky Beach Café. Restaurants to try in Blenheim include Hotel d’Urville and Raupo Riverside Café & Restaurant, which features contemporary cuisine in an architecturally designed building. Out of town, try Hans Herzog Estate or Cork & Keg Old English Pub, a lovely old English-style pub. Popular restaurants in Picton include Le Café and The Chartroom Restaurant. In Queen Charlotte Sound, visit Punga Fern Restaurant & Bar or feast on the local delicacy in Havelock at The Mussel Pot. Wanna kick on? The Flying Haggis is a lively spot with regular live music, or experience The Furneaux Bar – although you’ll have to get there by water taxi or by walking the Queen Charlotte Track!
Blenheim offers the variety of accommodation you’d expect in a sizeable regional hub, while many of the accommodation options in the Marlborough Sounds offer lodgings among some of the most majestic natural surroundings you could ever hope to find. In Blenheim, try the Blenheim Top 10 Holiday Park or The Grapevine backpackers for budget-friendly options. Boutique offerings include Old St Mary’s Convent Vineyard Estate or Hotel d’Urville while hotels worth checking into include Chateau Marlborough and the Marlborough Vintners Hotel. For luxury accommodation try Timara Lodge or the Vintners Retreat. In Picton and the Marlborough Sounds, good cheap options include Fat Cod Backpackers and Picton Top 10 Holiday Park, or check the family into the Ferrylink Motel or Apartments on the Waterfront. Picton House B&B is a home away from home, while choice selections among the many lodge-style accommodation options in the Sounds include Aldan Lodge, Furneaux Lodge, Pelorus Lodge, and Raetihi Lodge.
Marlborough Airport is the main airport servicing Marlborough, with domestic flights to Auckland and Wellington with Air New Zealand. Sounds Air offers flights from Blenheim or Picton to Wellington. Road trippers will find Blenheim 4 hours from Christchurch and 1 hour, 30 minutes from Nelson. It is a 30-minute drive from Blenheim to Picton. Coaches and shuttles service the area, while KiwiRail operates a service from Christchurch to Picton. Out on the water Interislander and Bluebridge ferries depart from Picton to Wellington several times daily, with water taxis providing another transport option. When you're there, tap the brains trusts at Picton i-SITE at The Foreshore and Blenheim i-SITE, 8 Sinclair Street.