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Marlborough & Nelson


Map of Marlborough & NelsonMarlborough and Nelson are at the north end of the South Island and can be attacked from either direction. It's a scenic drive north from Christchurch or a ferry ride south from Wellington. This is a gourmet and wine lover's paradise offering some of the world's finest wines, perhaps accompanied by some sublime local scallops.

Marlborough was the region that put NZ wines on the map and is home to more than 30 wineries including famous Cloudy Bay. Here you'll also find the Marlborough Sounds, a labyrinth of sea-flooded valleys that twist around dense-forested hills. They are unlike fiords which are flooded glacial valleys. The deep, blue waters are popular for sailing, kayaking, diving and fishing (there are plenty of charter boats available).

Abel Tasman National Park, NelsonNelson has a few boutique wineries but is more renowned for its art and craft. It's a thriving creative community full of bookshops, galleries and cafés. The clay in the region is sought after by potters and more than 70 full-time potters work there. You'll also find painters, glass blowers, jewellers and weavers (the Arts Festival is held in September). A source of inspiration for the talented locals has to be their surroundings. Within 90 minutes of the city are three national parks, Nelson Lakes alpine park, wilderness Kahurangi and the coastal Abel Tasman National Park.

Return to topTo See and Do

  • Happy Valley, near Nelson, is a great place to have some fun on 4WD motorbikes.
  • Even non-fitness fanatics should try one of the walks. Especially beautiful are the Queen Charlotte Sound Track and the Abel Tasman walk.
  • Visit Marlborough Sounds for the pristine environment and bird, plant and wildlife (take a water taxi or a cruise to the Sounds from Picton - Picton is where the Cook Strait ferry from Wellington docks and is about 30 minutes from Blenheim and the Marlborough wineries).
  • Quad biking, NelsonHop in for some hops. All of New Zealand's hops are grown here and you'll find some of the country's best boutique breweries, like Mac's.
  • Pick up a copy of Art In Its Own Place guide from a Visitor Information centre and hit the art and craft trail.
  • Take a kayak tour of the Abel Tasman National Park.
  • A 4WD tour will take you to Farewell Spit, 35km of sand on the top northwest corner of the island (the wading bird sanctuary here is of international significance).
  • River fishing in the Nelson area is terrific and there are a couple of exceptional lodges that cater for anglers.
  • Try some mussels or salmon, fresh from the cool, clean waters of the Sounds.
  • Get a group together and charter a yacht - they are surprisingly affordable (especially in peak times).

Return to topSample Itinerary 5 days

(Note: this is only a sample - once you tell us your areas of interest, we will construct a personal, suggested itinerary for you.)

Day 1

  • Put this day aside for either exploring Wellington or taking a leisurely drive north from Christchurch (stopping at Kaikoura for some whale spotting on the way). From Wellington catch the early morning ferry on Day 2.

Day 2

  • Explore the Marlborough Sounds on a cruise or short walk along the Queen Charlotte Track.
  • Spoil yourself with a night in Sounds accommodation or a Blenheim boutique hotel.

    Ponder Estate Vineyard, MarlboroughDay 3

  • Spend the day visiting Marlborough's many vineyards and, in the evening, dine on fine cuisine at one of the wineries or a Blenheim restaurant.

    Day 4

  • Head across the Richmond Ranges to Nelson (2 hours) and spend the afternoon visiting the art and craft galleries. Dine out on fresh seafood in one of the many cafés or restaurants.

    Day 5

  • Spend all day exploring the Abel Tasman National Park for a guided sea kayak adventure or a walk, swim and launch cruise.
  • Take the 4WD safari to farewell Spit bird sanctuary.

Return to topWhere to Stay

Click below for a choice of accommodation options in these regions:

Home / Regions / Marlborough & Nelson / Back
Contact Information
+61 7 3876 4644
+61 7 3876 4645
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