Marlborough Travel Guide

Things to Do and Places to Stay in Marlborough, New Zealand

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About Marlborough NZ

The Marlborough region of New Zealand is located at the north east tip of the South Island. Marlborough is known for its dry climate, the picturesque Marlborough Sounds, and award winning wines. The Marlborough wine region represents 62% of the total vineyard area in New Zealand. The main grape variety here is Sauvignon Blanc, closely followed by Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Marlborough boasts brilliant weather, stunning scenery and an abundance of acclaimed mountain and road trails, including a Great Ride and three Trails along the New Zealand Cycle Trail, Nga Haerenga. This pedaller’s paradise has thrilling adventure, low key rides, and everything in-between.

Marlborough is the host of several renowned annual events:

  • Marlborough Food and Wine Festival (February)
  • Havelock Mussel Festival (March)
  • Forrest Graperide (March)
  • Classic Fighters Air Show (alternate Easter Weekends)
  • St Claire Half Marathon (May)
  • Marlborough Garden Show (November)

Blenheim, situated on the Wairau Plain, is the regions capital and is the focal point for the Marlborough wine growing region. A number of wineries are located on the towns edges, with many more just a short drive away. The Blues, Brews and BBQ's festival which comprises of Blues and Jazz music, food and a variety of beer and wine is held in Blenheim every February, as it the Marlborough Food & Wine Festival, NZ's longest running and most popular wine festival.

Picton is the arrival and departure point of the Interislander ferries from Wellington, and Picton also serves transport to and from the Marlborough Sounds. Picton sits at the head of Queen Charlotte Sound, a 30 km long channel of deep water that meets Cook Strait. The surrounding hills are steep and forested, which makes road transport. The Queen Charlotte Track is a famous coastal walk in this area, which 3-5 days to walk or 1-3 days to cycle.

Havelock, at the head of Pelorus Sound, is known as the green-lipped mussel capital of New Zealand, in recognition of its place within the aquaculture industry. Boat tours of mussel farms are a popular activity for visitors. Fishing charters and sea kayaking are also popular, which offer the chance to see seals, dolphins, whales and penguins.

This region offers a wide range of leisure activities, from swimming with dolphins and kayaking in the Marlborough Sounds, walks through the bush and along the rugged coastline, as well as scenic boat cruising, fishing and water sports. The relaxed lifestyle and the flourishing wine and gourmet food industry in Marlborough are enjoyed by both locals and visitors alike.

Choose from a diverse range of accommodation options in this region including holiday homes and lodges in the Marlborough Sounds, Blenheim & Picton motels & apartments, vineyard cottages and hosted bed & breakfast lodges.


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