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Destinations - Marlborough

Aerial view of BlenheimNew Zealand's wine capital Marlborough sits on the very northern edge of the country's South Island. Benefiting from luxurious surroundings and an enviable climate, the area has long been a favourite weekend destination for local New Zealanders and has also become a mainstay destination for international visitors. Holiday accommodation and amenities are in abundance here, making it one of the most well-rounded spots for tourists in the country. The largest towns in the region are Blenheim and Picton, which is southern port for the inter island ferry services from Wellington in the North Island.

Cloudy Bay Vineyard, MarlboroughExquisite Sauvignon Blanc
There are over 100 wineries and vineyards in Marlborough, making it the wine capital of New Zealand. Perhaps the most iconic of these is Cloudy Bay Vineyard (now owned by the global French luxury goods group LVMH - Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy). The winery takes its name from nearby Cloudy Bay which was so named by Captain Cook on his voyage to New Zealand in 1770.

Most wineries specialise in sauvignon blanc, however the range now includes Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Sparkling and Syrah.

Vineyard Bike Tour, MarlboroughTourists can choose from a wide range of themed wine tours to help them get the most out of their stay. Tours typically last anywhere from a half day to a full day and feature various options and methods of transport. For those looking for a little exercise with their wine, opt for the bike tour, which takes guests around a cluster of vineyards and through the scenic countryside on mountain bikes.

Vinyard Wine Tour, MarlboroughTravelling by coach or shuttle is the most popular option, but there are tour companies that also offer privately chauffeured cars for a more luxurious experience. Of course, self-drives and hired taxis are also options, and winery maps are widely available in the area. If on a self-guided tour, be sure to stop in at a vineyard restaurant to enjoy gourmet food to go along with award-winning sauvignon blanc.

Immerse yourself in the Marlborough Sounds
Aside from the exquisite wine, the Marlborough Sounds are another major attraction in the area. The Sounds are made up of a series of valleys that have been flooded with seawater to create some of the most beautiful scenery in all of New Zealand. It attracts visitors from around the world and there are several themed cruises and boat trips tourists can choose from to explore the region.

Queen Charlotte TrackOn the more relaxed end of the spectrum, take a beachcomber or dinner cruise across the tranquil waters and enjoy island and beach stops. Visitors can also splurge on a yacht excursion if they desire. More adventurous travellers can choose to go on kayaking tours of the sounds. Thanks to its calm waters, this is an excellent place for beginning kayakers. Some boat excursions also features dolphin watching and diving.

For the more energetic, hiking, climbing, mountain biking or horse trekking the 71 kilometre Queen Charlotte Track is the way to see the stunning coastal views, historical landmarks and amazing variety of native wildlife and bush.

Molesworth Station, MarlboroughThe Farmer's Life
For a change of pace, head to historic Molesworth and Molesworth Station. This is the largest working farm in New Zealand at more than 180,000 hectares. The area contains 10,000 heads of cattle and is a prime example of high country farming. An established attraction, visitors are allowed to camp on the grounds, and there are several historic sights and activities around the farm. There are guided tours which take participants through the farm and its important features. You can also choose to hike, bike or even horse trek around Molesworth.

Getting Here
Marlborough is a fairly easy destination to get to. By air, there are regular flights from Auckland (1 h 25 min), Wellington (25 min) and Christchurch (50 min) to both Nelson and Blenheim airports. Marlborough sits about equidistant between Nelson (2 hour drive) and Blenheim (1.5 hour drive), with both cities offering coach and car hire services. Alternatively, visitors coming from Auckland can fly directly into Marlborough Airport.

If coming from the North Island, taking a ferry across the Cook Strait from Wellington, to nearby Picton. There are coach services available from Picton which travel to Marlborough in about 1 hour.

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