Barbara Speedy

Barbara Speedy Diversion Gallery, Picton

Insider Guides

We believe travelling is all about finding those cool, hidden spots only the locals know about. Meet some of our real locals who know the region inside out!

Barbara Speedy
Barbara Speedy

“I look out and see seals rolling around, gannets diving, and there was a dolphin just there a few weeks ago, so you are reminded daily how remarkable it is here.”

My
top Must Dos

Visit the National Whale Centre

Visit the National Whale Centre

Sounds sunset by water

Hear music at the bay

Visit Ship Cove

Check out the latest art exhibition

Whaling station

My favourite place

The Nydia Track
The Nydia Track

Barbara Speedy often sees a double-take as people walk past The Diversion Gallery on the Picton foreshore. This small art gallery in a small town is dressed with some of New Zealand’s biggest names, with the likes of Michael Smither, Don Binney, Graham Bennett, Fatu Feu’u, and Marlborough’s J.S. Parker choosing to exhibit their works there.

“I’ve heard people, say ‘Oh, what? Nigel Brown in Picton?' I love the surprise,” she says. “People often go away and tell their friends, ‘look you have to stop in Picton and see these artists’.” It works the other way too, with art buyers coming to Picton to look at a work, and being enchanted by the town.

Clients who visited recently stayed in an apartment with a wide view of the Marlborough Sounds, ate seafood, fresh from the boats, drank Emmi, the Methode Traditionnelle of nearby boutique winery Johanneshof, and watched fur seals and dolphins cavorting in the harbour. “People who are into art are often into experiencing life to the full in different ways, so they had a wonderful experience.”

Barbara has always lived within sight or smell of the water, and loves that her gallery is a stone’s throw from the sea. “I look out and see seals rolling around, gannets diving, and there was a dolphin just there a few weeks ago, so you are reminded daily how remarkable it is here.” Her list of Marlborough must dos includes a few she’s yet to try -- like the opera weekend at luxury resort Bay of Many Coves.

She recommends dining on oka - marinated raw fish in coconut cream - at Le Café, next door to the gallery, followed by the sublime home-made sorbet. The more actively inclined should walk the Nydia Track, staying with the gorgeous folk at On The Track eco lodge, where she was welcomed from her hike last summer with ice-cold water and freshly made ginger crunch. That night the group soaked in a wood fired spa under starlit skies.

It sounds blissful, but her final suggestion would surely take some beating:

“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 cast a soft rose light over sea and hills. Dreamy.”

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