Spring

What's happening?

Marlborough’s brightest corners are revealed in spring, when the Nelmac Garden Marlborough Festival explores private gardens from the edge of the Pacific Ocean to the heart of the Marlborough Sounds.

It’s the season for gourmets too, with beautiful wine and food at cellar doors, and at luxury lodges nestled in the Marlborough Sounds. Enjoy your feast, then wash it down with new vintage sauvignon blanc, released in spring.

While spring in Marlborough brings longer daylight hours and warmer temperatures, you need to be prepared for a change in the weather during the day. The arrival of a cold southerly can bring quite a rapid drop in air temperature and overnight frosts can still be experienced in September and October.

Must Dos

Luxury Retreats & Wine Tours

Indulge in a five-star experience at many luxury retreats offering premium food, wine and brilliant views, whether it be in a secluded bay in the Marlborough Sounds, or among the vines in Marlborough. Wine tours are plentiful with group or private tours available by bike or luxury van.
Luxury Retreats & Wine Tours

Marlborough Heritage

For those wanting a cultural and historical experience, the following itinerary showcases the best of Marlborough’s art and heritage.
Marlborough Heritage

Family Fun

Lots of Family Fun to be had in Marlborough, from planes and cars, wildlife experiences in Picton and the Marlborough Sounds that even the adults will love!
Family Fun

Walks, bike rides and kayaking

Experience the many walks, bike rides and kayaking trips in Marlborough, from the winding waters of the Marlborough Sounds, to the 30+ winery cellar doors.
Walks, bike rides and kayaking

Taste Bud Sensation

This itinerary is for people who love food and wine. Pair world famous Marlborough wine with fresh local seafood for the ultimate vine-to-glass, ocean-to-plate, wine and food experience.
Taste Bud Sensation

Marlborough Highlights

This itinerary has been designed to fit into a shorter New Zealand itinerary featuring Marlborough's two most well-known assets, wine and the Marlborough Sounds.
Marlborough Highlights

The Salmon Trail

If you’re a foodie with a passion for matching cuisine with great quality wine or beer, or just love to eat and drink, then Marlborough will surprise and delight you and your tastebuds.
The Salmon Trail

Visit the National Whale Centre

Visit the National Whale Centre hub in Picton, devoted to the rich history of whales and whaling in New Zealand, and future research and conservation.
Visit the National Whale Centre

Lights over Marlborough

For lots of family fun get along to the annual Lights Over Marlborough fireworks display. Saturday 15 November, 6-10pm, Marlborough A&P Showgrounds
Lights over Marlborough

Try Marlborough honey

Try delicious Marlborough honey. Beekeeper Renee de Luca borrows the wine term terroir when talking about her Pūtake Honey, because it is so influenced by land and climate.
Try Marlborough honey

Visit Anakiwa

Check out the end of the Queen Charlotte walkway at Anakiwa, a very attractive bay in the Marlborough Sounds. Take walk to Davies Bay for a taste of the walkway.
Visit Anakiwa

Fresh Marlborough seafood

Marlborough salmon and mussels are available at a range of foodie outlets. Seafood (or more strictly Sounds food) with a crisp ‘chardie’ or ‘sav blanc’ is heaven on earth!
Fresh Marlborough seafood

Sounds sunset by water

Head out by boat or kayak to find a bay all to yourselves, with a gourmet picnic and a Marlborough riesling or sauvignon blanc. Then watch the late afternoon sun slowly set.
Sounds sunset by water

Mount Tapuae-o-Uenuku

The highest mountain peak outside of the Southern Alps is visible from almost everywhere in Marlborough and central to Maori legend. Some climb it, and everyone admires it.
Mount Tapuae-o-Uenuku

Dream date in the Sounds

Catch the early morning summer boat trip to Motuara Island, then get dropped off at Furneaux Lodge for late breakfast. Walk to Punga Lodge for wood-fired pizza.
Dream date in the Sounds

Picnic riverside at Pelorus

Grab some sticky buns and coffee for a romantic picnic on the edge of the Pelorus River, followed by bush walks and a dip in the water.
Picnic riverside at Pelorus

Romantic champagne breakfast

Get up early and take a bottle of fine Marlborough methode traditionelle, with fresh strawberries and cherries, for a champagne breakfast at the top of Mt Vernon at sunrise.
Romantic champagne breakfast

Hear the dawn chorus

Wake early in the Marlborough Sounds for a stunning dawn chorus, like that heard by Joseph Banks when he visited Queen Charlotte Sound with Captain Cook.
Hear the dawn chorus

Camp on Blumine Island

Head to the predator-free island, Blumine Island in the Marlborough Sounds, and hear kiwi at night and wake to a beautiful dawn chorus, before walking to the WW2 gun emplacement.
Camp on Blumine Island

Spot the king shag

Get a glimpse of the king shag, the second rarest bird in the world with a stagnant population of 500-600. The king shags nest near Motuara Island in the Marlborough Sounds.
Spot the king shag

Hear music at the bay

Head to Bay of Many Coves Resort and Spa for a weekend of opera, to merge the beauty of the Queen Charlotte Sound with the talent of three international New Zealand opera stars.
Hear music at the bay

Walk the Black Jack Track

Walk the Black Jack Track at Whites Bay for views of Cook Strait, Port Underwood and Cape Campbell.
Walk the Black Jack Track

Soak up the view at Brancott Estate

Get there early in the morning when it’s quiet and have a coffee looking at the view.
Soak up the view at Brancott Estate

Hire bikes

Get out and experience Marlborough’s vines or hills by bike
Hire bikes

Taste sauvignon blanc

Explore the sub regional variation with sauvignon blanc as well as the different ways wine makers approach the wine, including those using oak and age.
Taste sauvignon blanc

Kayak the Wairau Lagoons

Kayak down the Wairau River, to the Wairau Boulder Bank, exploring the habitat of amazing birdlife with Driftwood Eco Tours.
Kayak the Wairau Lagoons

The ship Edwin Fox

The Edwin Fox in Picton is largely unrestored, with amazing displays of cabin life on the deck.
The ship Edwin Fox

Sample local sparkling wine

While you're here you must sample a Méthode Marlborough. Premium quality sparkling from the Marlborough region has a history as long as it's flagship variety Sauvignon Blanc.
Sample local sparkling wine

Fishing on the Wairau

Whether it's spin or fly fishing, the Wairau River is a great spot to have a go at hooking a delicious trout for your lunch or dinner.
Fishing on the Wairau

Visit Ship Cove

Visit Ship Cove in the Queen Charlotte Sound, the site of the meeting of the Maori and Pakeha cultures and start of the Queen Charlotte Track.
Visit Ship Cove

Visit an ancient forest

Take a drive to the beautiful Pelorus Bridge area to see this remnant of towering podacarp forest and understand what this entire area once looked like.
Visit an ancient forest

Celebrate physics & space exploration

Visit the memorial in Havelock to Lord Rutherford and Sir William Pickering. Who would think we've made major global contributions to physics and deep space exploration!
Celebrate physics & space exploration

Visit boutique wineries

Hunt down small, artisan boutique wineries and learn about what makes them so special - whether European influenced, organic, or family owned and run.
Visit boutique wineries

Dine with a view

Have coffee, or a delicious lunch or dinner at Le Cafe on Picton's foreshore. Enjoy the views of the sounds and watch the hustle and bustle of boats, ferries and people.
Dine with a view

Check out the latest art exhibition

Head to the Millennium Public Art Gallery, across from Seymour Square in the heart of Blenheim. See the latest cutting edge exhibitions from local and national artists.
Check out the latest art exhibition

Fresh Marlborough oysters

Enjoy fresh Marlborough oysters, straight from the shell. Taste the flavour that is unique to the clean, pure Marlborough Sounds.
Fresh Marlborough oysters

Visit Molesworth Station

Drive up the Awatere Valley Road to access Molesworth Station, which is open over summer months.
Visit Molesworth Station

Walk and bike Picton

Explore the walking and biking trails around Picton.
Walk and bike Picton

Get moving

Bring your camping gear or drive a campervan to some of the region’s iconic camping sites.
Get moving

Kaipupu Point Sounds Wildlife Sanctuary

Visit the community run Kaipupu Point Sounds Wildlife Sanctuary, a mainland sanctuary just a few minutes by boat from Picton, full of native birdlife.
Kaipupu Point Sounds Wildlife Sanctuary

Follow the gold trail

Walk to Devil’s Creek on the Wakamarina trail, retracing the footsteps of gold miners and staying overnight in the DOC hut.
Follow the gold trail

Hit the road

Road bike the winding Queen Charlotte Drive, with native bush on one side of the road and the sparkling Marlborough Sounds on the other.
Hit the road

Family cycling

Take the kids to Conders Bend for fun forest action, or the Rarangi Pump Track for a great little undulating circuit by the sea.
Family cycling

Wind down the pace

Slow things down and leisurely explore vineyards by bike, choosing a guided or unguided tour of cellar doors.
Wind down the pace

Compare vineyard sub-regions

Visit cellar doors in the Wairau, Waihopai, Awatere and Omaka Valleys, comparing the flavour profiles of each sub-region.
Compare vineyard sub-regions

Paddle the Sounds

Rent a kayak and paddle your way from bay to bay, choosing to be independent or guided.
Paddle the Sounds

Explore Marlborough’s history

Check out local history at the Marlborough Museum, including information on the fascinating Wairau Bar archeology site.
Explore Marlborough’s history

Picnic on the foreshore

Pack a picnic to enjoy on the Picton Foreshore, or grab an order of fish and chips to eat on the beach.
Picnic on the foreshore

Tackle an epic bike ride

Mountain bike the 70km Queen Charlotte Track, staying in a brilliant range of lodges, B&Bs, homestays and campsites along the way.
Tackle an epic bike ride

Devour a degustation

Indulge in luxury dining, with Herzog Restaurant’s legendary degustation menu.
Devour a degustation

Coffee with a view

Drive down the Pacific Coastline to The Store, where the coffee comes with a breathtaking view.
Coffee with a view

Take a flying jump

Leap from the Lochmara Lodge rope swing into the sparkling sounds below, or try out the flying fox. For more sedate pleasures, walk the eco trail to find weta hotels and geckos.
Take a flying jump

Motuara Island eco sanctuary

Visit the beautiful Motuara Island in the Queen Charlotte Sound. This predator free sanctuary is home to kiwi, saddlebacks and other native wildlife.
Motuara Island eco sanctuary

Cellar doors with wine & more

Taste Marlborough wines amid the vines that grew them and the wineries that made them. Stay for lunch or dinner at one of the winery restaurants.
Cellar doors with wine & more

Visit a mussel farm

Take a tour boat to one of the mussel, oyster or salmon farms within our unique waterways to see how some of our wonderful seafood is grown.
Visit a mussel farm

Walk the Queen Charlotte Track

Boat to historic Ship Cove to start your walk on the Queen Charlotte Track. Carry your pack or have it transferred each day. Full walk 3-5 days or choose a section.
Walk the Queen Charlotte Track

Kayak the Pelorus River

Discover the beautiful location of the dwarves in a river scene from 'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug' travelling by kayak in lieu of barrel.
Kayak the Pelorus River

Play golf on a farm

Travel out to the 13-hole Nopera Golf Course in the Kenepuru Sound, where pukeko, weka and ducks may join your game.
Play golf on a farm

Take the mail boat

Travel from Havelock or Picton and call in to isolated homesteads and secluded bays to deliver mail and groceries to families living in the Marlborough Sounds.
Take the mail boat

Explore gold mining history

Find out about Marlborough’s gold mining history. Visit the historic gold mining township of Canvastown and rural Rai Valley.
Explore gold mining history

Walk the Nydia Track

Walk the two day Nydia Track. Stay at a DOC hut or eco lodge in Nydia Bay, then carry on to Tennyson Inlet or return the way you came.
Walk the Nydia Track

Set sail in the Sounds

Bring your yacht or charter one here, for beautiful cruising in the Marlborough Sounds, where winter brings crisp and calm blue-sky days.
Set sail in the Sounds

Linger at cellar doors

Savour Marlborough pinot noir in front of a toasty fire, or enjoy a lunch made from premium local ingredients at a vineyard restaurant.
Linger at cellar doors

Relax at a resort

Curl up in the warmth with a good book in a beautiful resort, looking up only to enjoy the view, order your lunch or head off for a massage.
Relax at a resort

Swim in the Pelorus River

Make a splash at the beautiful Pelorus River, where the water is deep, cool and crystal clear, surrounded by beautiful native bush.
Swim in the Pelorus River

Governors Bay Scenic Reserve

Enjoy golden sands and azure waters at Governors Bay, a 15 minute drive from Picton.
Governors Bay Scenic Reserve

Swim with dolphins

Head out from Picton with Marlborough's specialised dolphin swimming and viewing tour company to view dolphins and even swim with them, in the sheltered waters of the Queen Charlotte Sound. The Marlborough Sounds is a favourite spot for up five dolphin species (Bottlenose, Dusky, Common, Hectors & Orca).
Swim with dolphins

Royal Spoonbills in Wairau Lagoons

See Royal Spoonbills in their mating plumage and Godwits on their annual migration, while you paddle the Wairau Lagoons.
Royal Spoonbills in Wairau Lagoons

Garden Marlborough Festival

Enjoy workshops and tours at the Nelmac Garden Marlborough Festival, and be in sure to stay in town for the famous Fete at Seymour Square.
Garden Marlborough Festival

Wither Hills Farm Park

Head to the Wither Hills Farm Park, on the outskirts of Blenheim, where a multitude of trails wind up to stunning views of the Wairau Valley, Mount Tapuae-o-Uenuku and Cloudy Bay.
Wither Hills Farm Park

Richmond Range

Hike or mountain bike through native bush to a DOC hut on the Richmond Range, then up through alpine flora to one of its beautiful peaks.
Richmond Range

Marlborough Farmers’ Market

Devour a beautiful brunch at the Sunday morning Marlborough Farmers’ Market or cool down with fresh-fruit ice creams and juicy cherries.
Marlborough Farmers’ Market

Jack's Raw Bar at Cloudy Bay

Head to Jack’s Raw Bar at Cloudy Bay Vineyards in summer, for local salmon, freshly shucked oysters and venison carpaccio in a gorgeous setting.
Jack's Raw Bar at Cloudy Bay

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