Marlborough wine region
Your travels through the Marlborough region will be like passing through the gateway to the abundant offerings of the South Island.
Located in the northeast corner of the South Island, the regions offers up the largest wine making district in the country and is also an outdoor paradise, with native forests, trout-filled rivers, coastal tracks, sheltered bays and fishing. Whether you love wine or wildlife, sea kayaking or cruising, native bush walks or formal garden rambles, Marlborough is a great place to unwind. There are galleries, museums, craft studios and food specialties to discover, with numerous tours allowing you to take in the best the region has to offer.
Blessed with almost a year-round sunny climate, Marlborough is New Zealand’s largest grape growing and wine making region with 65 wineries, 290 grape growers and 4,054 hectares in grape production. Nearly all of the wineries welcome visitors for tasting sessions and many have a cafe or restaurant on site.
You can tour Marlborough’s famous wine trail by coach, car or bicycle. Take the Arts and Craft route from the Awatere to the Marlborough Sounds along the Queen Charlotte Track, the treasured pathway that traces the human and natural history of the region’s northern coastline.
Sample the famous Greenlip mussels with the world’s best Sauvignon Blanc, taste local lamb or game in an award-winning restaurant, or discover salmon secrets in a top cooking school. Savor freshly caught oysters or scallops straight from the Sound. Seek out organic and seasonal delicacies, boutique beers and liqueurs and pick your own cherries and stonefruit in summer all capped by the Wine Festival.
Before the wine industry came along, Marlborough’s fame lay with its sounds—sunken valleys that are home to all kinds of wonderful bird and sea life, including terns, shags, blue penguins, dolphins and seals. Queen Charlotte, Kenepuru and Pelorus Sounds can be explored by ferry, runabout, kayak, luxury charter launch or daycruise.
The region is well serviced with a 24-hour ferry service to and from Wellington,. It also has direct air links with all three major NZ international airports, Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch and is easily accessible by both road and rail from all points in the South Island.
At the head of the Queen Charlotte Sound, nestled between the mountains and the sea is Picton. Once a Maori settlement, and now a charming seaside township that accommodates the region’s port, extensive marina facilities and visiting cruise ships.
There’s a host of short bush walks from the town to hidden beaches and lookouts, offering breathtaking views and wilderness experiences. Or venture out on the renowned Queen Charlotte Sound which leads walkers and cyclists over 43 miles into the Marlborough Sounds. Suited to all ages and experience levels, one can journey for four hours or four days on this broad wilderness pathway.
Row upon row of vines as far as the eye can see, that’s the view that awaits you as you approach Blenheim; the region’s main commercial center and hub of the famous Marlborough wine district.
The center of Blenheim is conveniently compact, making it easy to enjoy the town’s amenities on foot. Explore the shops at a leisurely pace, with a pause for a seriously good coffee or a lightly chilled Marlborough wine in the sunshine. From here, or the satellite town of Renwick you can take one of numerous guided Wine and Food tours, embark on a self-drive exploration or, for the more energetic, a bicycle tour. For aficionados of the grape, leave ample time to savor the region’s over 100 vineyards and wineries.
Gateway to the pleasures of the Pelorus and Kenepuru Sounds, the historic, seaside town of Havelock was once a thriving gold-mining town. Now it thrives on riches from the sea as Greenlip Mussel capital of the world.
We recommend you base at The Portage Resort Hotel, located on the Marlborough Sound.