Marlborough Information

Where to go and what to do

Look for the i SITE Visitor Centre in Picton and Blenheim


i-SITE Visitor Centres are part of New Zealand’s official nationwide Visitor Information Network.

In Picton it is on the Foreshore, and in Blenheim it is beside the railway station on the main highway through town.

They are your one stop travel shop for everything to see and do and stay in Marlborough. They are a free advice and bookings service, for all accommodation and adventures in Picton, Marlborough Sounds, and the Marlborough regions.

They offer maps, weather, guide books, information on events, restaurants & more.

Useful websites :








Marlborough Activities

Things to do and places to go

Picton and Marlborough Sounds

For the more energetic there is Cycling, Kayaking, Hiking etc,

Combine short walks with a boat cruise

I have been on the E-ko tours boat for Dolphins, and they have some good wildlife tours too,
book before you go there, they are quite popular.

other tour boat operators are

Visit museums,

Picton Heritage & Whaling Museum

Discover the fascinating history of the Edwin Fox, the worlds 9th oldest ship.

Picton to Kaikoura

About 2 hours from Picton, head south following Highway 1.

This is a beautiful coastal drive. Attractions include wild beaches, seal colonies, whale watching, dining on seafood.

Ward Beach, 1 hour south

Wild coastline in different moods

Scenery along the way, there are some lovely short bush walks

Stop for coffee or a meal at The Store, at Kekerengu, about 1 hour 15 mins south

Seals inhabit this wild coast

Buy crayfish from local fishermen, or sample fresh fish and chips in Kaikoura


Kaikoura is a base for wildlife experiences of all kinds – it’s also a great place to eat crayfish (in the Maori language ‘kai’ means food, ‘koura’ means crayfish). An easy two-hour drive north of Christchurch, Kaikoura makes for a great day trip or a fun stop on your way to Marlborough.

Kaikoura’s environment is truly spectacular – the village is caught between the rugged Seaward Kaikoura Range and the Pacific Ocean. In winter the mountains are covered with snow, adding to the drama of the landscape.

Kaikoura’s special talent is marine mammal encounters – whales, fur seals and dolphins live permanently in the coastal waters. Whale watching trips leave the town several times a day and the local seal colony is always entertaining. There are plenty of cafés, restaurants and shops to explore.

There is so much to do and see in Kaikoura, these sites are a great place to start




Picton to St Arnaud

This takes you through the vineyards and up the Wairau Valley to St Arnaud. About 1hr 30min.

This is a small alpine village on the edge of Nelson Lakes National Park which embraces the beautiful Lake Rotoiti.



Wairau Valley and vineyards



Take a boat up the lake to the Travers River hut


There are many walks in the forest, refer to Department of Conservation (DOC) for more details. They have visitor centre in St Arnaud.



Visit the Clinker Cafe, just off the highway in St Arnaud


Every year around March is the Classic Boat Show









Picton to Nelson, Mapua, Kaiteriteri

Nelson is about 1hr 45min, Mapua a further 30mins, and Kaiteriteri 30mins beyond that.

You can either travel via Queen Charlotte Drive, or head in towards Blenheim as shown on the map, the distance is a little more but the travel time is about the same.

The journey takes you through Havelock and Pelorus Bridge see separate post.


There is plenty to see but for a day trip I mention two of my favourite places, Mapua Wharf and Kaiteriteri.

Mapua Wharf


this is the old apple loading wharf, but is now a collection of shops, galleries, restaurants, cafes and bars, click here.

Jellyfish Cafe and Bar

The Apple Shed Cafe & Bar


The Golden Bear Brewing Company, is a boutique brewer, typical of many.


Right on the edge of Able Tasman National Park, beautiful beaches, swimming, kayaking, picnicking or places to eat.

For more info click here.


more here











Picton to Havelock and Pelorus River

This is a short and scenic journey which takes you along Queen Charlotte Drive to Havelock and then on to the Pelorus River. (an option is to return via Blenheim, which takes about the same time).



Its takes approximately 1 hour to Havelock



Try The Mussel Pot in the main street


or Slip Inn Cafe down by the marina



Heidi’s Cafe in the main street is my favourite for something simple.


Things to do in Havelock

Boat trips, or kayaking


Pelorus River

This is about 15mins along State Highway 6, it is great for picnicking or simple short walks in the forest. This is a favourite swimming spot.

This is an area administered by the Department of Conservation (DOC), for details of walks  click here

There is a small cafe, parking and toilets located here.











Steam Train

The Marlborough Flyer operates for most of the year except winter, check this link for stunning pictures, timetables and tour options

Alternately if you just want to observe it and take pictures like these (click image to see video)

Click this map for the best viewing locations, Argyle Street (last one on the left heading out of town, park before the rail crossing) or Garden Terrace off the end of Devon Street, (go past the viaduct and look back at it)


Marlborough Vineyards

You can sample excellent wines and at many of the wineries indulge in first class cuisine, this is after all the reason for coming to Marlborough.

You can choose a tour see below, or explore yourself.

The best place to start is Wine Marlborough and follow their map, which you can download. On the back are listed the wineries, with address and contact details. If you plan on eating it is definitely recommended to make a reservation.

My favorites for vineyard dining are :

Allan Scott

Brancott Estate

Giesen Wines

Hans Herzog Estate

Hunters Wines

Rock Ferry Wines

Saint Clare Vineyard Kitchen

Wairau River Wines

Wither Hills Winery


Wine Tours

Fine Tours New Zealand

Marlborough Wine Tours

Sounds Connection

Waterways and Wine
This one is good if you only have one day and want to combine a morning boat trip on the sounds and an afternoon wine tour with one operator taking care of everthing.
Cruise the Marlborough Sounds, enjoy brunch at the luxury Bay of Many Coves resort, then visit the best of Marlborough’s world-famous wineries.