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The Marlborough Sounds is one of those destinations where New Zealanders go on holiday. We came when we were kids, and now that we have kids of our own we’re still coming. The changes are appreciated – great coffee, world class wine, and the pretty Picton foreshore are high on most of our happy holiday lists, but it’s the unchanging magic of the Sounds that brings us back. As the guidebooks say: water, wine, and wilderness. It’s the chance to get right away from things, relax and play together as a family. And of course re-visit the 20c miniature train rides on the Picton foreshore!
That family holiday magic is something Lochmara, a Wildlife Recovery and Arts Centre with accommodation, a cafe, and day cruises, has really tapped into – creating places that children will love (they know, they’ve raised their own there) and parents will still feel like it’s their holiday too.
The size of the property helps – there’s plenty of walking tracks and hidden spots tucked into the bush, most with their own hammocks, and the beach is always a winner, but the activity options included for day trip visitors and overnight guests keep everyone happy. Whether it’s feeding the native Kakariki parakeets and eels, or the friendly pigs and chickens, playing in one of the kayaks, taking a Queen Charlotte Track walk, jumping off the rope swing, adventuring on the Great NZ Art Treasure Hunt, or simply exploring rock pools at low-tide, kids love it.
From a parent’s perspective, of course happy kids are great, but parents deserve a holiday too (so speaks a mother of two preschoolers). The nature of Lochmara means kids can be kids – and guests who are there for R&R can still get peace and quiet. Just as there are things for kids to do, adults can explore too, or relax if that’s what is needed. There is an art gallery, sculpture trail, self-guided nature walks with information on native species, native birds, great views, a bath house for massage and bath treatments and a waterfront bar and cafe with an outstanding reputation.
Check out the map of Lochmara in the images to get an overview of all the activities on offer – then decide how long you want to stay: there are day and half day visits and accommodation for as long as you like, but be warned, you might never want to leave.
Once discovered...never forgotten.
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