Tips on the best scenic drives in Marlborough

Follow one of these great scenic drives around Marlborough to see the sights, take in the views and meet the locals.

It only takes the drive from the airport to home to have our visitors oohhing and ahhhing about how gorgeous it is in Marlborough. So that has prompted me to share some insights into a few of the well known, and local favourite, scenic drives in the region.

One of the most popular is the Queen Charlotte Drive, between Havelock and Picton. The drive takes you around the coast past lovely bays, beaches and bush, you get to check out all the gorgeous holiday homes on one side and the sea views on the other. There are loads of great places to stay along the way to give you time to explore, enjoy the walks, water activities and the peace and tranquility.

From Havelock you can travel on a little further along SH6 to Pelorus Bridge a popular camping and picnic spot for locals and a great place for a swim. Then to really experience the Marlborough Sounds from the road head down French Pass Road through forest and farmland. The sea views are drop dead gorgeous and when you get there you will be pleasantly surprised with the French Pass village. Allow 2 hours for the drive. Stay a night, the sunsets are spectacular.

Inland, take the journey through the Molesworth Station, New Zealand’s largest high country station, the landscape is huge and dramatic. The road is only open to the public for a few months a year, so it is best to take a guided tour, then you get to hear all the stories that bring the history to life.

Heading West from Blenheim take SH63 through the Wairau Valley, across Top House saddle to the village of St Arnaud and the Nelson Lakes National Park. This is about 1 ½ hours drive and is a great place to spend a day walking around the lakes. In winter, join the locals at the Rainbow ski field.

And last but not least there my favourite coastal road south to Kaikoura. As you leave Blenheim you travel through the Awatere Valley, dominated by vineyards and views that will have you grabbing for your camera. Keep it at the ready as you head out to the coast with a mountain range on one side and the ocean on the other. Look out for Marlborough’s highest peak Mount Tapuae-o-Uenuku, Sir Edmund Hillary’s first mountain climb. Stop for a coffee on the beach at Kekerengu and visit the seals at Ohau Point.

OK, so that was a very quick run down on where to head, how about telling us your favourite places to stop while exploring Marlborough by road.If you want some clues check out

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