Marlborough, New Zealand
Nature & Adventure

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Our most recommended Marlborough, New Zealand Nature & Adventure

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.

Marlborough Full Day Wine Tour

3. 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.

Picton: Dolphin Watching & Island Wildlife Sanctuary Cruise

4. 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.

Marlborough Full-Day Self-Guided Biking Wine Tour

5. 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. 

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

6. 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 Sounds: Full-Day Guided Kayak Tour with Lunch

7. 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).

Marlborough Wine, Gourmet and Scenic Tour from Blenheim

8. 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.

From Picton: Private Wine and Gourmet Tour of Marlborough

9. 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.

1-Way Ferry Service Between Wellington and Picton

10. 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.

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What people are saying about Marlborough, New Zealand

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 11 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

Mike was very knowledgeable and provided a great day out! It was unfortunate most of the cellar doors were closed but we still were able to sample some of the best wines with the best guide

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