Marlborough, New Zealand
Cruises & Boat Tours

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Our most recommended Marlborough, New Zealand Cruises & Boat Tours

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.

Picton: Dolphin Watching & Island Wildlife Sanctuary Cruise

2. Picton: Dolphin Watching & Island Wildlife Sanctuary Cruise

Embark on a unique, fully-guided wildlife and dolphin cruise through the Marlborough Sounds. Begin your journey in Picton, where you will meet the expert team who will take you on a conservation-focused, wildlife adventure for your soul. On the journey, you will be encountering a huge variety of rare, wonderful and interesting species along the way. Enjoy the engaging commentary and fantastic viewing areas which allow you to enjoy playful Hector’s, Bottlenose, or Dusky Dolphins with a 90 percent encounter rate. You will also have an opportunity to see New Zealand fur seals and numerous seabirds before landing on Motuara Island for a 1-hour nature lover’s walk to remember, great for adults and kids alike. After returning to the boat, sit back and relax with a hot drink and cookies before making our way back to Picton and stopping to check out any extra species you can discover.

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.

Marlborough Wine, Gourmet and Scenic Tour from Blenheim

4. Marlborough Wine, Gourmet and Scenic Tour from Blenheim

Enjoy a gourmet tour of the Marlborough Region of New Zealand's South Island on an itinerary that can be customized to suit your interests. Visit wine cellars offering a variety of unique styles, and experience stunning landscapes that are a treat for the eyes.  Depart Blenheim at 10:00, and embark on a journey through the award-winning wines of the region. Meet the wine makers and exceptional hosts at wineries that stay open all year round for your convenience. Benefit from the services of a local chauffeur/guide with extensive knowledge of the region. Venture through the Wairau Valley, and fall in love with the wines as you experience new varietals. Get spectacular views of the rolling hills and see how they contrast with the vineyards, market gardens and farms. Stop for seasonal produce (December through February) of juicy strawberries, cherries, apricots and nectarines, along with local cheeses, oils, liqueurs, Manuka honey, peanut butter and black garlic. Make a special stop at the Makana Confections Boutique Chocolate Factory for some divine chocolate treats! As wine is the main attraction of the Marlborough Region (it's New Zealand's largest wine producer), you will want to taste the produce. Acclaimed for its Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir wines, the region is also home to wineries that specialize in Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Viognier, Gruener Veltliner, Arneis and even Malbec wines. Relax in a picturesque winery garden café or at a chateau on the hill with magnificent views of the valley and vineyards. Enjoy a cheese, meat and seafood platter or tapas. Then, as you near the end of the day, benefit from beautiful views that create a perfect ambiance for a dinner with your favorite wine of the day. Get the chance to include a trip to the Omaka Aviation Heritage Center to see Peter Jackson's amazing displays of classic World War I and World War II aircraft and the most life-like scenic backdrops of the era. Your guide can drop you off at the center and continue with the rest of the group to return within 1-5 hours if you prefer. This would be the minimum time to really take advantage of the exhibition, and a café and memorabilia store are available for your comfort and convenience.

Marlborough Sounds: Full-Day Guided Kayak Tour with Lunch

5. Marlborough Sounds: Full-Day Guided Kayak Tour with Lunch

The day starts with a safety briefing and getting kitted up before heading down to the beach. Listen to a quick paddling introduction and then head out onto the water for the rest of the tour. The route is always flexible so the tour goes where the weather is best. Depending on how the group decides, there may be a chance to stop and stretch your legs or take a swim before continuing on to a pretty beach for a delicious picnic lunch. Upon landing at the beach, your guide will serve up some hot drinks. After lunch, work your way back towards the starting beach, all going well with a sea breeze at your back. Once back at the beach, you will de-kit and then head off on the rest of your adventure in New Zealand. Showers are available if needed (water dependent during the drier months).

1-Way Ferry Service Between Wellington and Picton

6. 1-Way Ferry Service Between Wellington and Picton

Sit back, relax and enjoy one of the most spectacular ferry crossings in the world, between the north and south islands of New Zealand. With 92 kilometers of breathtaking views, the 3.5-hour journey between Wellington and Picton is one of New Zealand’s most iconic tourist activities.   There are 3 different ships in operation every day, so you’ll always have a wide choice of travel times.   Once on board, enjoy a range of activities. Stroll on the decks, enjoy a meal and a drink, or catch one of the latest movie releases. You can also simply relax and take in the breathtaking view. Keep your children busy with a play area, nursery, cartoons and video games. Plus, there’s plenty of seating for families.

From Picton: Private Wine and Gourmet Tour of Marlborough

7. From Picton: Private Wine and Gourmet Tour of Marlborough

Create your perfect day in the Marlborough wine region on a 6-hour tour priced for a group of up to 6 people. Your chauffeur/guide will help you pick the best spots to enjoy the fantastic wines of Marlborough and peaceful vineyard settings. You’ll be taken on an exciting wine and gourmet experience on this private day tour from Picton. Enjoy stunning views of the Marlborough wine region and taste fine wines and delicious gourmet treats. Your interests are the priority for the day and might include visits to award-winning gardens, local producers, and talented local artisans. Your tour is tailored especially for you. If you’re interested in history, you could enjoy a stop at the Heritage Air Museum to see Peter Jackson's amazing classic aircraft displays. If you’re interested in arts and crafts, you can stop meet a local artist and visit a renowned gallery. Additional highlights could include a local brewery, a private home gourmet kitchen, or a scenic drive around the bays of Marlborough Sounds. Sit back and relax with wide views from the windows as you meander through the Wairau Plains, the expansive vineyards, the rolling hills of the valley, and the local horticultural and farming spots, with the Pacific Ocean nearby. As Marlborough is the heart of the New Zealand wine region, wine tasting is usually at the top of the list. The many wineries and cellar door hosts offer a truly personal experience to showcase award-winning wines all year round. Treats of Marlborough's gourmet and local produce can be slipped in to suit. Tastings can include local cheeses as well, along with the Manuka honey, peanut butters with a difference, black garlic, smoked mushrooms and lots more. During the season, from November through to February, local produce can be found at roadside stalls. You’ll find asparagus, juicy cherries, strawberries, raspberries, apricots, nectarines and more. Lunch venues run from a beautiful winery garden restaurant to a chateau on a hill with amazing views. Wine tasting is available or you could enjoy a glass or bottle of wine suited to your menu choices. Cheese platters are also offered at some of the cellar doors to accompany your wine tasting. A major highlight of all tours is a stop at the Makana Chocolate Boutique, where you’ll be tempted, to say the least. If you are attending a Marlborough event or are visiting on business and prefer the privacy of your own chauffeured tour, your chauffeur/guide will create a custom itinerary to suit your requirements. Private appointments can be arranged for your specific industry.

Marlborough Sounds Guided Kayak and Freedom Walk Tour

8. Marlborough Sounds Guided Kayak and Freedom Walk Tour

Maximize your time in this brilliant area with a half day of guided sea kayaking, followed by a half day of freedom walking on the popular Queen Charlotte Track. Your day starts with a safety briefing and getting kitted up before heading down to the beach. After a quick paddling introduction, you’ll head out onto the water.   From Anakiwa, head off along the North Coastline towards Mistletoe Bay, where you’ll encounter some local bird life and, if you’re lucky, some marine mammals. Arrive at Mistletoe Bay around lunchtime, where you’ll say goodbye to your kayaks and guide and head off for your freedom walk.   Walk back to Anakiwa following old bridle paths high above the water along Queen Charlotte Track, offering you a very different perspective than from the water. Pass by stunning views, contrasting landscapes, historical landmarks, and a wonderful variety of native bush and wildlife. The final hour of walking is on an easy path through mature beech forest to Anakiwa.

Marlborough: The Hobbit Kayak Tour

9. Marlborough: The Hobbit Kayak Tour

Kayak down the scenic Pelorus River in the Marlborough Region on a 4-hour guided tour that will take you through unforgettable natural landscapes and across locations used for the filming of the second Hobbit movie, "The Desolation of Smaug". Start the tour in the historic township of Havelock and take a short 20-minute drive up the Pelorus River Valley to a private farm enabling access to the Pelorus River. Board your kayak and begin your river adventure, listening along the way as your guide tells the history of the gold and timber industries. Experience the river’s warm and crystal clear waters. See the film locations of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and learn behind the scenes secrets of the filming process.  Feel the thrill of various small rapids (grade 2) and admire the ancient forest, listening to the native bird song and the gentle lap of the crystal water as you drift through hidden New Zealand paradise.

New Zealand: 11 Day South Island Tour

10. New Zealand: 11 Day South Island Tour

Set off on an adventure-filled 11-day tour to discover and explore New Zealand's South Island with accommodation and some activities included. Day 1 - Wellington to Kaikoura Travel across the Cook Strait, one of the most enjoyable and beautiful ferry journeys in the world. Go for a wine tasting in the Marlborough region and visit the Kaikoura Seal colony. Day 2 - Kaikoura to Christchurch Hike the Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway. Enjoy the amazing panoramic views of Kaikoura and discover hidden gems of Christchurch in a city street art trail. Day 3 - Christchurch to Lake Tekapo Marvel at the stars at the Dark Sky Project, Lake Tekapo. Visit The Church of the Good Shepherd. Hike up Mount John for panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and lakes. Day 4 - Lake Tekapo to Mount Cook (return) Spend the day at Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park before Hiking the Hooker Valley Track to Hooker Lake. Day 5 - Lake Tekapo to Queenstown Delight your palate with a buffet dinner with panoramic views of Queenstown at the Skyline Stratosphere Restaurant (at your own expense). Day 6 - Queenstown free day Have the whole day to yourself and explore the wonders of Queenstown. Day 7 - Queenstown to Glenorchy day trip Cruise past the late, soaking up the views, and onto Glenorchy where you'll do some short walks. Day 8 - Queenstown to Wanaka Hike Roys Peak (6-hour return) and take in breathtaking views over Lake Wānaka (only accessible from November to May). Mt Iron hike (alternative to Roys Peak); provides 360-degree views of The Pisa range. Visit the famous Wanaka tree. Day 9 - Wanaka to Franz Josef Thunder Creek falls in Mt Aspiring National Park. Visit Lake Matheson, famous for mirror views of Aoraki/Mount Cook. Day 10 - Franz Josef Design and carve your own Greenstone jewelry in a West Coast workshop (included) and walk the Glacier valley walk in Franz Josef. Day 11 - Franz Josef to Christchurch Take a scenic hike across Arthurs Pass, walk the Castle Hill track, and admire Devils Punchbowl waterfalls.

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What people are saying about Marlborough, New Zealand

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 8 reviews

Nice afternoon on the water with a fantastic guide/captain/compare who told great jokes and stopped to see the dolphins. Thanks heaps, and loved seeing and hearing how people live in the sounds. Vicki and Ian

Although the weather was not on our side, Ryan made our adventure entertaining and the scenery was still stunning! Highly recommend :)

A must do activity, great crew, interesting and informative commentary, saw some dolphins - plus a seal and a lot of birdlife.

Absolutely fantastic. Scenery out of this world. Ryhan the skipper what he didn’t know about the Area wasn’t worth knowing

Ryan the Skipper was full of knowledge and interesting to hear