The Marlborough region is about world-famous sauvignon blanc, delicious fresh seafood and diverse landscapes, from valleys of vines to sheltered waterways.
Check out the top 10 things to do in Marlborough.
1. Walk or cycle the Queen Charlotte Track
The Queen Charlotte track stretches 70km from Ship Cove to Anakiwa and is an intermediate to advanced grade. The whole track can be completed in 5 days on foot, or 3 days on a mountain bike with luggage transfers available by water-taxi. You will be rewarded with stunning views of Queen Charlotte and Kenepuru Sounds and encounters with native birds such as the fantail and weka.
2. Swim with dolphins
As far as unique New Zealand experiences go, swimming with dolphins in the Marlborough Sounds is definitely one of them. Set amid the spectacular scenery guides will take you on a search for the five different species of dolphins found in this area, and it is up to you whether you enjoy dolphin spotting from the boat, or take a dip into the water for a personal encounter.
3. Taste of Marlborough vineyards
With more than 30 cellar doors, Marlborough offers every visitor the chance to find the perfect drop. Explore the cellar doors at your own pace, self-drive, cycle or join a guided wine tour. Or if you prefer a cold beer, then don't worry Marlborough has you covered with the local Renaissance and Moa craft breweries producing quality brews.
Discover the world-renowned WWI and WWII exhibits at Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre where aircrafts are bought to life in a theatrical manner featuring Peter Jackson’s own rare collection of historical aircraft and memorabilia. The captivating scenes educate and entertain visitors of all ages.
5. Cruise Marlborough Sounds
The most idyllic areas of Marlborough Sounds can only be accessed by boat, and are best explored with a scenic cruise that provides ample opportunities to meet the wildlife that live in and around the Sounds; fur seals, little blue penguins, dolphins the rare Rowi kiwi, tuatara and weka.
6. Shop like a local
Explore the local markets and artisan producers to try locally-grown produce such as saffron, pinenuts, hazelnuts, honey, olives, chocolates, garlic and sea salt or purchase some handcrafted woodwork, pottery, soaps, or natural beauty products for unique souvenirs to remind of your visit to this beautiful area.
7. Sample green-lipped mussels and fresh seafood
Green-lipped mussels are easily distinguished from other mussels by the dark green shell with a bright green lip that it is named for. They are most commonly steamed and infused with white wine and garlic, but are equally delicious baked or as a fritter. Experience the Marlborough Sounds and taste delicious fresh seafood with Marlborough Tour Company.
8. Hideaway on the water’s edge
With 1500kms of New Zealand’s coastline in the Marlborough Sounds there is plenty of opportunity to escape from the hustle and bustle. Discover the perfect place to relax and recharge with uninterrupted views from your balcony to the beautiful bays and native bush clad hills. There’s no shortage of activities for your stay, walking, tramping, kayaking, fishing, or just relaxing. Find out more about Lochmara Lodge here.
9. Visit the quaint town of Havelock
Located at the meeting point of the Pelorus and Kaituna Rivers on the coast northwest of Blenheim, Havelock calls itself the "Greenshell Mussel capital of the world". Once a gold mining settlement, the town has many quaint colonial buildings which today house boutique galleries and eating places (be sure to order the mussels). The Havelock Museum has interesting displays that explain the town's past.
New Zealands longest running food and wine event, the annualMarlborough Food and Wine Festivaltakes place on the second Saturday in February. Showcasing the very best wines from over 30 local wineries, the event is the best way to indulge in Marlborough sauvignon blanc. As food trucks line up in Food Truck Alley, make your way through to sample gourmet street food creations from local cooks and established chefs. Talented musicians create the relaxing atmosphere the event is known for.