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Marlborough, New Zealand

Meet the locals

Our most recommended Marlborough, New Zealand Meet the Locals

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 Half-Day Wine Tour from Blenheim

2. 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. 

From Picton: Private Wine and Gourmet Tour of Marlborough

3. 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.

Onshore Highlights of Marlborough's Wine Region from Picton

4. Onshore Highlights of Marlborough's Wine Region from Picton

The Port of Picton in the Queen Charlotte Sound welcomes cruise ships throughout the season and it is a lovely seaside spot to explore. Just 25 minutes south of Picton, your tour takes you on a scenic journey to enjoy the famous Marlborough wine and gourmet region. The most popular highlights of the day are wine tasting, sampling local gourmet treats and the spectacular scenic routes of the vineyards, Wairau Plains, mountain ranges and farmlands while traveling to and from the most beautiful winery gardens and cellar doors. Experience gourmet treats of cheese tasting, manuka honey, oils, liqueurs, a refreshing gelato or decadent fudge. Seasonal produce is also available at roadside stalls from December through to February. You can take these aboard but must eat them before you disembark. Juicy strawberries, cherries, apricots and nectarines. Although your cruise ship caters well for you, a light tapas or cheese/meat/seafood platter with matching wines is a great way to experience the local cuisine. Your local chauffeur/guide arranges a picturesque winery garden or a chateau high on a hill with magnificent views for your pleasure. If time allows you can also request a stop at the Omaka Aviation Air Centre where you can view Peter Jackson’s amazing displays of his classic aircraft of WW1 and WW2.  The tour can continue and your chauffeur/guide will return for you to join the rest of the group within 1-2 hours. A fabulous memorabilia shop is also there for you along with delicious cafe treats. Generally tours last around 4-5 hours but flexibility is given for each ships schedule and the tour caters for passengers comfort and requirements.  Travel in comfortable small personal vehicles of 6, 9 or 11 seats and will return at least 2 hours prior to your ship's scheduled departure. Before leaving Blenheim you should visit the Makana Boutique Chocolate Confections – a treat not to be missed. For a highlight to end a wonderful day when you arrive back in Picton, why not take advantage of a short 15 minute return drive from the township to the Victoria Domain for high vantage views of Picton Port, Queen Charlotte Sound and your ship. Your local chauffeur/guide is a local owner who has great passion for the Marlborough region and looks forward to sharing it all with you. 

Private Shore Excursion from Picton: Marlborough Highlights

5. Private Shore Excursion from Picton: Marlborough Highlights

The Port of Picton in the Queen Charlotte Sound welcomes cruise ships through-out the season. Just 25 minutes south of Picton your local chauffeur will take you on a scenic journey to enjoy the famous Marlborough wines.   Your personal tour offers great flexibility to combine your favourite requests  with a local chauffeur's recommendations of the area. Enjoy a full wine tour experience or mix with other Marlborough gourmet and local attractions. On arrival into the Blenheim countryside of the Wairau Valley you can start tasting some sensational wines before a relaxing break for brunch, lunch or afternoon refreshment (at your own cost) applicable to your ships schedule.  A popular choice could be a light tapas platter of mouth-watering cheese, meats and seafood with matching wines at a picturesque winery spot or while you overlook the Valley views of vineyards and the surrounding landscapes. More wine tasting could follow or try some of the local gourmet oils, liqueurs, local cheeses, garlic noir, peanut butters, Manuka honey or a refreshing gelato. Your itinerary could vary depending on some of the options you choose on the day. Some exciting options you could consider could be a visit to an award winning garden, a visit to a renowned local artist’s personal gallery, a visit to another special artisan gallery and the opportunity to see the pet sheep.  You could also choose a visit to the Omaka Aviation Museum to view Peter Jackson’s classic air craft displays from WW1 and WW2 .  A must stop is the Makana Boutique Chocolate Confections – a tasty treat  not to be missed. Some activities will be subject to availability on the day if not pre-booked and  any entry fees may be payable to the organizer on the day. When you have booked please ask about these options and they can be pre-booked for you. Once back in Picton you may like to take in the breath-taking views overlooking the Port of Picton, Queen Charlotte Sound and your ship. You will travel in a comfortable vehicle of up to six or 9 seats to suit the single traveller, couples and friends.  Your local chauffeur is a local owner who has great passion for Marlborough and would look forward to sharing it with you.

Marlborough: The Hobbit Kayak Tour

6. 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.

From Blenheim: Private Customizable Winery and Omaka Tour

7. From Blenheim: Private Customizable Winery and Omaka Tour

Select your own adventure with a customizable private tour from Blenheim. Discuss where you would like to go with your guide. See the vineyards, head to the beach, or visit a winery or brewery. Start with a scenic drive through the township of Blenheim and chat with your local guide about farming and wine. Hear about the progress of the wine industry of Marlborough. Share your custom requests and marvel at views of the Wellington coastline. Admire the lines of vineyards sweeping across the hills of the Wairau Valley. Choose to see Peter Jackson's Heritage Air Museum and displays for WW1 and WW11, walk the beachcomber beach of Rarangi, or head to the viewpoint overlooking the Wither Hills' winery. Decide to have a delicious lunch at a winery restaurant, taste a flight of fine wines, or stop at a local brewery or coffee shop. Have the freedom to make your own adventure without worrying about the time. Return to your accommodation at the end.

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What people are saying about Marlborough, New Zealand

Overall rating

5.0 / 5

based on 7 reviews

The most wonderful experience. The skipper had so much knowledge, it made for an incredibly interesting journey. Thanks Beachcombers

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

Super awesome experience. Friendly and knowledgeable guide. Amazing scenery. Highly recommended to all

Very knowledgeable skipper. Taking in the scenery from a different point of view was great.