Summer is a season for sailing, kayaking and paddle boarding, or rowing a dinghy across the bay.
Beech trees filter summer sun, casting dappled light on walking trails, and cool rivers beckon, their pure water flowing down from mountains and up from filtering aquifers. It’s a season for leaping from a rope swing into the water, so come plunge into Marlborough this summer.
Marlborough Wine & Food Festival 2023
World-famous for its fabulous selection of Marlborough wines, delicious cuisine and brilliant atmosphere, the Marlborough Wine & Food Festival is on 11 February, 2023. Held at the Renwick Domain, join us in the heart of wine country to celebrate all we love about Marlborough's wine, people, food and landscapes. Sample beautiful local wines and meet the people who make them, learn wine and food secrets at our masterclasses, indulge in sumptuous wine/food matches prepared by famous chefs and enjoy live music from top bands. Tickets are on sale from 10 October 2022.
Stay amongst the vines
From B&B's to lodges, find a place to stay amongst the vines.
Stay in the Marlborough Sounds
From self-contained baches to all inclusive lodges, there's a slice of paradise for everyone in the Marlborough Sounds, some accessible only by water-taxi.
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.
Dine with a view
Marlborough offers world-class dining, showcasing fresh produce from the region. But the icing on the cake is the brilliant views, along with the variety of views that you can experience while dining out in Marlborough.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Get out and experience Marlborough’s vines or hills by bike
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.
Kayak the Wairau Lagoons
Kayak down the Wairau River, to the Wairau Boulder Bank, exploring the habitat of amazing birdlife.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
Walk and bike Picton
Explore the walking and biking trails around Picton.
Bring your tent or campervan and find a holiday park or DOC campsite to enjoy the views and outdoor activities.
Picton Maritime Festival
Enjoy all things maritime at the Picton Maritime Festival in January. Kid's play area, raft races for all ages, clinker boat races, performances from local talented youth and national artists as well. Food and craft stalls.
Kaipupu Wildlife Sanctuary
Visit the community run Kaipupu Wildlife Sanctuary, a mainland sanctuary just a few minutes by boat from Picton, full of native birdlife.
Find sun, surf and sand
Visit White’s Bay for sun, sand, surf and swimming, as well as walking tracks through native bush.
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.
Cruise with dolphins
Go dolphin watching, and learn about all the marine wildlife you see along the way, including seabirds and seals.
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.
Take the kids to Conders Bend for fun forest action, or the Rarangi Pump Track for a great little undulating circuit by the sea.
Wind down the pace
Slow things down and leisurely explore vineyards by bike, choosing a guided or unguided tour of cellar doors.
Compare vineyard sub-regions
Visit cellar doors in the Wairau, Waihopai, Awatere and Omaka Valleys, comparing the flavour profiles of each sub-region.
Paddle the Sounds
Rent a kayak and paddle your way from bay to bay, choosing to be independent or guided.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Bike Molesworth Station
Bike through the iconic Molesworth high country station, ending in Hanmer for a rejuvenating hot pool swim.
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.
Governors Bay Scenic Reserve
Enjoy golden sands and azure waters at Governors Bay, a 15 minute drive from Picton.
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.
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.
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.
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.