The perfect holiday in the Marlborough Sounds

My favourite kind of holiday involves large doses of relaxation, delicious food, gorgeous scenery, a great book and a stylish place to stay...

My favourite kind of holiday involves large doses of relaxation, delicious food, gorgeous scenery, a great book and a stylish place to stay. Oh, and fine company of course.

So, it was with great delight that I embarked on The Marlborough Tour Company ‘Link Series’ tour from Marlborough Airport to Bay of Many Coves Resort. Not only does it tick every box on my dream holiday list, but it added a few extra boxes for future reference.

After being collected at Marlborough Airport, we headed to Cloudy Bay Winery for a wine tasting. The knowledgeable host talked us through a range of delicious wines. The settling unbelievably idyllic with deck, expansive lawn, egg chairs hanging from trees, vines beyond and the Richmond Ranges silhouetted as a distant backdrop.

With the sweet taste of wine still lingering about mouths and heads, we travelled for about half an hour to the pretty seaside town of Picton, on the shores of the Queen Charlotte Sound – the largest sound in the Marlborough Sounds family.

We headed to Le Café on the waterfront for lunch, overlooking the picturesque marina and with expansive views out to the stunning sounds. The menu was tempting, focused largely on local produce and mostly organic, we settled for the fresh fish – divine.

Next up was boarding MV Seafood Odyssea. Two levels of lounge-style comfort with plenty of decks for outdoor viewing. Cruising out through the plethora of boats moored, we enjoyed the lively commentary on the Marlborough Sounds with breathtaking vistas in every direction.

Arriving at a salmon farm, complete with resident seals cavorting nearby, looking for a late lunch, our lovely captain talked about salmon farming in the area and we walked onto the farm to view the masses of swirling fish.

Back on board we were treated to a feast of fragrant smoked salmon and heavenly freshly steamed Greenshell mussels, matched with Marlborough sauvignon blanc. As we cruised further up the Queen Charlotte Sound, listening to more of the captain’s fascinating commentary on the area, its history and its marine and birdlife, we came upon a happy pod of dusky dolphins.

We stopped and watched them at play - diving, leaping and generally showing off their Olympic-level synchronised swimming skills. My favourite was one who jumped repeatedly out of the water 12 times in a row, I kid you not - I counted, as I laughed.

After dragging ourselves away from our new marine friends, our next and final stop was Bay of Many Coves Resort, aptly named for the bay it resides in. Its reputation as a luxury retreat was fully evident from the very first glance. Sleekly modern but integrated beautifully in the hillside with wooden features and lush landscaping.

We were given a tour of the resort, then shown to our beautifully appointed room where we relaxed on the deck for a few hours with books – with a massage thrown in for true bliss. Tick, tick, tick!

At the pre-dinner gathering we mingled with the other guests and our host talked us through tasting Marlborough sauvignon blanc from several subregions – fascinatingly unique. Later we ate in fine dining style at the Foredeck Restaurant with fresh local produce the outstanding feature.

Falling asleep with the curtain open to the magical view of stars and moon over the stunning water, I couldn’t help but think holidays would have to step up a notch or two from now on to match this one.