Enjoy wine, art and alpine adventures on this 4-day South Island itinerary.
Begin in Wellington, a centre of museums and culture. Cross the Cook Strait to Nelson and the coastal wonderland of Abel Tasman National Park. Discover all kinds of outdoor adventure in the alpine village of St Arnaud, and vineyards in Blenheim, before completing the loop back to Wellington.
Wellington City is compact, cultured and full of character, the downtown area is ideal for explorations on foot. Take some time to explore this cool little capital before crossing the Cook Strait to the South Island.
Once in Picton, travel west to Nelson, one of New Zealand's sunniest regions and a hub of creativity. Here you'll find a fascinating community of local artists and boutique galleries. A highlight is the World of Wearable Arts Museum. The region is also home to a number of wineries, craft breweries and delicious fresh seafood.
Art and pottery studios, vineyards and charming coastal towns line the route to Abel Tasman National Park. Indulge your love of fresh fruit and vegetables in Motueka and visit nearby Kaiteriteri, one of the most beautiful beaches in the region.
Marahau is often called ‘the Abel Tasman Village’ because it’s where many people begin their explorations of Abel Tasman National Park. You can hire kayaks, swim with seals or catch a water taxi to one of the park’s amazing beaches. The Coastal Track is the most popular ‘great walk’ in New Zealand, with pristine golden sand beaches and calm turquoise waters. Travel on foot or in a sea kayak.
St Arnaud sits on the edge of Lake Rotoiti against a stunning backdrop of mountains. It’s the perfect base for exploring the Nelson Lakes National Park, New Zealand’s second largest. There are plenty of ways to discover the park, from magnificent hiking trails to kayaking, river rafting, mountain biking, horse trekking and 4WD quad biking.
From St Arnaud, it's a short trip to Blenheim, the heart of wine-growing Marlborough. With more than 20 wineries within driving distance and a pleasing selection of cafes, restaurants, pubs, shops and golf courses, there is something for everyone. Character accommodation is another Blenheim delight – everything from homestays to boutique hotels.
The short drive to Picton takes you across the Wairau Plains, past vineyards and wineries.
Cafés, restaurants and various types of galleries dot the seafront in Picton. There’s also a floating maritime museum and an aquarium to keep you entertained until your ferry back to Wellington. Finish your journey with a visit to some of Wellington's many fascinating museums and art galleries, including New Zealand's national museum; Te Papa Tongarewa.