Things to do in Marlborough, New Zealand

Our most recommended things to do in Marlborough, New Zealand

Queen Charlotte Sound Mail Boat Cruise from Picton

1. Queen Charlotte Sound Mail Boat Cruise from Picton

Climb aboard the only official licensed New Zealand Post Rural Delivery Service by water in the Queen Charlotte Sound for a truly unique and interesting tour! Join in the excitement of Mail Day as the skipper delivers the New Zealand Rural post bags, groceries and freight to the residents that call the Queen Charlotte Sound waterways home. The Mail has been delivered by boat for over 150 years in the Queen Charlotte Sounds. Admire Marlborough Sounds' magnificent scenery and take a glimpse into daily life in the remote outposts of this region. Operating from Monday to Saturday, no one day is the same. The route changes daily, covering a different area and delivering the mail. During your cruise your skipper will provide interesting and informative commentary on the history of the Marlborough Sounds and the people who lived there then and now. Feel free to ask questions and keep your camera handy for any wildlife encounters.

Marlborough Sounds and Ship Cove Cruise from Picton

2. Marlborough Sounds and Ship Cove Cruise from Picton

Navigate the magnficent waterways of Marlborough Sounds on a morning boat tour, departing from the Picton waterfront. Cruise up through the Queen Charlotte Sound to historical Ship Cove. Warm up with tea and coffee and listen to live commentary on regional historical and natural landmarks. Keep a lookout for marine life such as little blue penguins and Hector’s dolphins — considered the rarest marine dolphin in the world. After about an hour’s journey, your boat drops anchor at Ship Cove. Step ashore for 30 minutes and discover the inlet named by Captain James Cook on 15 January 1770. The Endeavour was anchored here to replenish supplies and the spot became a favourite anchorage of Captain Cook. Dabble in the creek where Captain Cook made home brew for his crew and share the beach with the resident wildlife. Have your photo taken beside the Captain Cook Monument commemorating his visits to this area. Or, just relax and enjoy the tranquil surrounds.

Queen Charlotte Track: Cruise & Self-Guided Hike from Picton

3. Queen Charlotte Track: Cruise & Self-Guided Hike from Picton

Cruise through the Queen Charlotte Sound to walk part of the Queen Charlotte Track, one of the top ten coastal walking tracks in New Zealand. Your self-guided adventure starts with a cruise north from Picton to the historic Ship Cove. Here you can learn about the local area from your skipper, whilst on the lookout for marine wildlife. You will be able to choose between the following two hikes: Furneaux Lodge to Punga Cove Your first hike opportunity will be from Furneaux Lodge to Punga Cove, a 12.7-kilometer hike. You can enjoy 30-minutes ashore at the historic Ship Cove before rejoining the vessel and cruising around to Furneaux Lodge where you can grab a coffee or even brunch. Begin your self-guided hike along the Queen Charlotte Track, where you will learn that this area is rich in history and follows the coastline around the Endeavour Inlet through regenerating native bush to the Punga Cove Resort.  Ship Cove to Furneaux Lodge This hike provides you with the opportunity to hike from Ship Cove to Furneaux Lodge, a trail of 15 kilometers. You will arrive at Ship Cove where you'll begin your self-guided hike of the Queen Charlotte Track. You can climb away from the beach as you pass through native forest regenerating beneath a high canopy of trees. You will then be able to admire stunning views of the sound when you reach Tawa Saddle. The track then drops into Resolution Bay and follows an old bridle path into Endeavour Inlet to Furneaux Lodge. After your walk, you'll have time to relax before boarding your cruise vessel around 4:00 PM for your return boat journey to Picton with an estimated arrival time of 5:30-6:00 PM.

From Havelock: Marlborough Sounds Mail Boat Full-Day Cruise

4. From Havelock: Marlborough Sounds Mail Boat Full-Day Cruise

Embark on a truly unique marine experience on a Kiwi mail boat cruise. See what it’s like to deliver mail in a remote part of the world by sea in the Marlborough Sounds on a full-day cruise. Set sail on the Pelorus Mail Boat, which has been operating for more than a century. As a sea postie for a day, cruise through the largest, quietest and most remote part of the Marlborough Sounds, Pelorus (Te Hoiere) Sound, and Kenepuru Sound. Relax on the spacious catamaran between mail, parcel, and supply deliveries and pick-ups. Marvel at the stunning scenery of clear blue water in tranquil coves and bush-clad hillsides. Weather-permitting, even get to take a sneak peek at Greenshell Mussel Farm on an informative tour. Meet some of the residents who await the Pelorus Mail Boat on far-flung jetties, unspoilt beaches, or even on their boats. Even meet a variety of 4-footed furry residents who accompany their owners to collect their mail. Benefit from a fun local crew will provide informative and entertainment commentary about life in this isolated part of the Marlborough Sounds. You’ll learn what life far away from the nearest road is really like, along with some of the area’s fascinating history. The crew will also keep an expert eye for local marine wildlife including dolphins, seals, penguins and stingrays. As an added bonus, even enjoy some free tea, coffee, and biscuits onboard.

Marlborough Full Day Wine Tour

5. Marlborough Full Day Wine Tour

You will be collected from your Blenheim hotel at 10.00 AM (collections from Picton are available at a small surcharge per group). Your guide will discuss the choice of vineyards and your wine preferences to enable him to plan the most suitable route through the winding vineyard roads. Relax in the luxury minibus as your guide describes the enigmatic history of Marlborough and it's world famous wines. Each cellar door in the Wairau Valley is unique, reflecting the rare conditions which make their wines special. The bright Sauvignon Blancs, delectable Pinot Noir and tropical Aromatics have won multiple international wine awards. Not even the French can match the quality of the Sauvignon Blanc. Your tour through the vineyards will visit a variety of famous internationally branded cellar doors to the boutique family-run winery, to illustrate the diversity of wines available.  Join your guide on a stroll through a vineyard to learn about the unique conditions which produce such stunning wines and the challenges that our wine makers must overcome to consistently produce award winning aromas and textures. Smell the wine in the barrel rooms as it matures in the oak casks. We stop for lunch at a stunning vineyard restaurant where you can savor Marlborough delicacies, from simple cheese platters to Royal salmon and Mussels or other regional specialties. Whilst your food is being prepared, you can move through to the tasting room to meet the cellar hosts as they discuss their range of wines on offer. Continue to enjoy the wines at other cellar doors after lunch. Our last stop is at the local Chocolate Factory to taste exquisite hand-made gourmet chocolates and watch the staff demonstrate their mastery of the chocolatier's skills. Your tour will end with your safe delivery back to your hotel in Blenheim or ship in Picton.

Queen Charlotte Sound: Scenic Cruise & Lunch

6. Queen Charlotte Sound: Scenic Cruise & Lunch

Meet your local guide in the morning before boarding your cruise and setting off. Admire the views of Queen Charlotte Sound, or Tōtaranui, as you travel through the ancient, drowned valley. Catch a glimpse of the local marine wildlife before arriving at Endeavour Inlet just in time for lunch. Choose your food from the set menu, which includes stone-baked pizzas. Eat outside on the jetty overlooking the inlet, or inside the cosy café for colder days. Explore the grounds with a short walk, or sit on the beach and drink in the views until it’s time to meet the local supplier back at the jetty for your scenic cruise home at around 3.15 pm.

Marlborough Full-Day Self-Guided Biking Wine Tour

7. Marlborough Full-Day Self-Guided Biking Wine Tour

Discover the beauty of Marlborough your way and enjoy a self-guided wine tour. You will be set up with a bike, helmet, and a wine map before being sent on your way with all the insights you need to craft your own unforgettable Marlborough wine adventure. The terrain is flat, the biking is easy, and the scenery is stunning. Spending the day cycling between vineyards is one of the best ways to take in the beauty of Marlborough. The bike rental base is within 3 kilometers of over a dozen wineries. There are off-road parking and an on-site café where you can pick up a picnic lunch or a drink before your adventure begins. Free transport to the Vines Village from Blenheim and Renwick accommodation is included with all full day bike hire, meaning you can just relax and enjoy your day. Pick-up from Picton can be arranged for an additional cost. 

Picton: Marlborough Wineries & Hotspots Hop-on Hop-off Tour

8. Picton: Marlborough Wineries & Hotspots Hop-on Hop-off Tour

Enjoy the flexibility of exploring Marlborough at your own pace without the stress of wondering where to go. Spend more time exploring with the conveniently organized transportation of this hop-on hop-off tour.  Sit back and relax on a comfortable coach as your knowledgeable driver prepares you with all the information needed for a fantastic day out.  Visit popular attractions and local gems in Marlborough, including museums, breweries, restaurants, activity centers, shopping areas, and of course, some of the best breweries and wineries in the region.  Jump on and off as you please, visiting as many destinations as you like and choosing your duration of stay at each spot.

Marlborough Half-Day Wine Tour from Blenheim

9. Marlborough Half-Day Wine Tour from Blenheim

Discover the flavors of Marlborough on a half-day small-group tour. Be picked up from your Blenheim accommodation and travel through the scenic beauty of the Marlborough vineyards. Collection from Picton is available at a small surcharge per group. Relax in a luxury minibus as your guide shares insight into the region’s history and world famous wines. You will visit five cellar doors on this tour from famous internationally branded cellar doors to boutique family-run wineries. Requests for particular wineries will be accommodated where possible.  Stroll through a vineyard with your guide. Learn about the region’s unique conditions and the challenges wine makers must overcome. A table for lunch at a cellar door restaurant can be booked for you for an additional cost. Sample hand-made chocolates at the local Chocolate Factory. Your tour will end with your safe delivery back to your hotel around 3 PM. 

Blenheim: Private Wine Tasting at Cloudy Bay Vineyard

10. Blenheim: Private Wine Tasting at Cloudy Bay Vineyard

Head directly to Cloudy Bay Winery and meet your friendly ambassador. Embark on an exclusive tour of the estate’s vineyards and discover the specificities of their terroir. As you explore, admire the luscious greenery of the sprawling landscape that surrounds you. After your tour, begin your tailored tasting session with a dedicated host in one of the estate’s private venues. Enjoy the unique opportunity to sample a diverse range of wines, and learn about the complexity and elegance of the Cloudy Bay brand. The wines tasted will vary according to your interests and preferences, and include rare and vintage bottles. An example of some of the wines on offer include, Pelorus NV, Pelorus Rose NV, Sauvignon Blanc 2019, Sauvignon Blanc 2006, Chardonnay 2017, a mystery wine, Pinot Noir 2017, Te Wahi 2016, and Te Wahi 2011. The experience ends with a visit to the incredible Pinot Noir Barrel Room.

Top sights in Marlborough, New Zealand

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What people are saying about Marlborough, New Zealand

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 306 reviews

Mike was extremely knowledgeable about wines, the wine industry in NZ and around the world and provided very interesting anecdotes re the history of the development of the Marlborough region wine industry. The quality of the wines we tasted were exceptional. We had a very enjoyable tour and we thoroughly recommend this tour.

What a great day trip! The Skipper of the boat was so informative with local information and really friendly. We would thoroughly recommend this especially if you just have a day to fill. Beautiful scenery, wildlife and a well organised trip.

Pamela did a great job! She drove us around the countryside pointing out the different terroir and grapes. We visited 4 wineries and had a delicious lunch! I would highly recommend this tour to anyone wanting to visit the Marlboro wineries!

Awesome commentary and experience. Would highly recommend!!! We wish Ryan and his family all the best in their new venture.

Allison was a knowledgeable and engaging guide. We really enjoyed our tour.