“Marlborough has fantastic scenery and you really get to appreciate that as you’re out on your bike and in among the vineyards. It’s often fine and warm and it’s just lovely to be out there."
top Must Dos
Walk the Black Jack Track
Soak up the view at Brancott Estate
Taste sauvignon blanc
Walk the Queen Charlotte Track
Classic Fighters Omaka Airshow
Swim in the Pelorus River
Marlborough Farmers’ Market
Karen Walshe sees corners of Marlborough most people don’t know exist. They’re corners filled with incredible food producers, boutique wine companies and gorgeous surprises, like draft horses and goats amid the vines.
And when she takes her bike tours through Marlborough’s vineyards, they’re corners she loves to share, delighting in guests’ expressions as they meet vineyard owners toiling in their vines, hear a scientist wax lyrical about his olives, and taste honey directly from the hive. The Wairau Valley grows nuts, olive oil, asparagus, honey, organic plums and blueberries, along with spectacular summer cherries and world famous wine.
“Marlborough has an amazing array of food producers, and it varies with every season. So it’s like an exploration over the course of a year, as things come and go.” But more than the produce, she and her clients love the stories of the people behind the food: “Meeting people in their homes and workplaces and hearing how they got there and what their lives involve. They are often ex-professionals who have escaped the city and come to do something lifestyle based, but there are also people who have lived here their whole lives, and watched vines cover the valleys.”
Her tours explore the wines forged from those vines, which also change season to season. She says a wine trail bike ride – either by tour or self-guided -- is a great way to get a taste for Marlborough’s wine country, and suggests people include boutique producers in their day out, to meet the people behind some pretty special wines.
“Marlborough has fantastic scenery and you really get to appreciate that as you’re out on your bike and in among the vineyards. It’s often fine and warm and it’s just lovely to be out there. We have a number of our clients email us and say ‘that was the best day we’ve had in New Zealand’.”