Go-To Guides

Marlborough

The northeastern tip of the South Island is a place of diverse landscapes. The Marlborough Sounds, an extensive network of ancient sea-drowned rivers and valleys, makes up around 20 per cent of New Zealand's coastline.

From the gateway towns of Picton and Havelock to the sea, the intricate maze of waterways makes for brilliant on-water experiences, from leisurely cruising to wildlife spotting. Untouched regenerative native rainforest offers several multi-day walks past secluded inlets and bays as well as historic points of interest. Lovers of crisp sauvignon blanc are spoiled for choice here too, with 158 wineries spread across New Zealand’s largest wine-growing region on the mainland. The central hub of Blenheim is the perfect spot for a breather and to set off on your next wine-fuelled adventure.


See & Do

Ride through the countryside on a heritage steam train, hike through spectacular untouched landscapes, and get up close to rare native wildlife.

A great Kiwi road trip

The alternative route to Picton from Nelson has been called one of the most scenic drives in the world. Though the side trip off the State Highway can theoretically be driven in well under an hour, it would be an insult to dash past such glorious scenery. Queen Charlotte Drive delivers lovely views across the water to Havelock, but save yourself for Cullen Point. Here you can do an hour's loop walk down near the water, with Sound views in all directions, or take the stroll up to the lookout for a postcard view along Mahau Sound. Read more

The views are spectacular along the Queen Charlotte Track. BROOK SABIN

The views are spectacular along the Queen Charlotte Track. BROOK SABIN

Abel Tasman's quiet sister

In the Marlborough Sounds you can spend from one day to five following the Queen Charlotte Track where, apart from the occasional ferry gliding past, you can have the bush, the birds and the golden beaches pretty much to yourself. It's not only beautiful: it's entirely do-able for anyone reasonably fit. There are hills, but nothing too daunting, and comforts at night. You can choose to do as much, or as little, of the track as you like, with water taxis just a phone call away. Read more

Insider tip: Spring is a brilliant time of year to tackle the Queen Charlotte Track, as the days become longer and the foot traffic is lighter.
Stephen Heard, travel publishing coordinator

The country's most scenic flight

The views are outrageously stunning on a scenic flight with Pelorus Air in the Marlborough Sounds, but the landing is really something else. After taking in breathtaking mountains, islands and crystal-clear waters from a luxurious seven-seater, the 'Water and Wilderness' tour lands on a secluded grass runway in the outer Sounds for a 20-minute beach stop. Read more

Fly into a heritage aviation centre

At Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, inside two standard-issue hangars, is a priceless collection of military aircraft from both World Wars, displayed in brilliantly realistic dioramas created by the magic of Wētā Workshop and WingNut Films. Dramatically lit, and authentically displayed complete with bullet holes and dents, they are so real that it's even more incredible that men actually flew and fought in these flimsy machines. If you're feeling bold, you can squeeze into the front of a vintage biplane for a joyride over wine country. Read more

The planes are dramatically lit and even have bullet holes and dents. BROOK SABIN

The planes are dramatically lit and even have bullet holes and dents. BROOK SABIN

An epic rail adventure

This is the closest you'll get to the Hogwarts Express without going to Scotland. A classic coal-fired steam engine pulling heritage carriages, the Marlborough Flyer is a splendid sight as it puffs along the track between Blenheim and Picton. Traffic stops beside the road as people tumble out of their cars to take photos and wave – but even better is to be riding on board. You just can't beat the romantic thrill of chuffing through lovely scenery on a train that is literally out of history. Read more

Meet the local wildlife

Dolphins are found 90 per cent of the time with E-Ko Tours. And you might be lucky enough to have a magnificent encounter with one of the rarest — the tiny, almost toylike — Hector's dolphin. On Motuara Island you can get a glimpse of what New Zealand looked like before the introduction of pests. This predator-free sanctuary has a large population of kererū, tūī, grey warbler and bellbird. There are also some rarer species, including the stunning yellow-crowned parakeet. Read more

Expect lots of wildlife on the E-Ko Tours cruise. BROOK SABIN

Expect lots of wildlife on the E-Ko Tours cruise. BROOK SABIN

The best on-water activities

The upper South Island’s extensive network of sea-drowned valleys make up over one-fifth of Aotearoa's coastline. The Marlborough Sounds is an extensive marine playground teeming with on-water activities and excursions. You can leisurely cruise through the tangle of sheltered waterways, ride along on the world’s most picturesque mail run, school up on local history and sample the local kaimoana, or paddle downstream like a hobbit. Read more

Have your fill of local kaimoana at the Havelock Mussel Festival SUPPLIED

Have your fill of local kaimoana at the Havelock Mussel Festival SUPPLIED

The best times to be in and around Marlborough

Good weather ensures that there’s always something on in Marlborough throughout the year. The Golden Sounds Music Festival is a brand-new festival bringing the cream of dance music to Blenheim. The Havelock Mussel and Seafood Festival is a family-friendly celebration of the local greenshell mollusc. The Marina 2 Marina run, between Picton, Waikawa and Anakiwa, is probably one of the most scenic ways to work up a sweat. Read more

Hidden Gems

Venture out to the tip of the Sounds, ride along the country's best cycling trails, and try stingray spotting by kayak.

A remote island paradise

​Rangitoto ki te Tonga/D’Urville Island in the Marlborough Sounds is the kind of place you visit to connect with nature. About 50 people live there permanently, but there is a steady stream of visitors, from fishing charters to the historically curious, and nature lovers. Driftwood Eco-Tours specialises in taking people to remote places to experience nature, which is exactly what you'll find on the country's eighth-largest island — regenerated forest and wildlife galore. Read more

You can walk and cycle the Queen Charlotte Track. MARLBOROUGHNZ

You can walk and cycle the Queen Charlotte Track. MARLBOROUGHNZ

These routes were made for cycling

Grand landscapes, endless sunshine and a flourishing trail network is putting Marlborough firmly on the cycling map. Choose from town or country, easy or epic, and enjoy some dining, wine tasting or coastal scenery on the side. The golden, softly rolling Wither Hills are a super-scenic landscape for a leg stretch. Picton’s Victoria Domain boasts 13 kilometres of trail ranging from easy to advanced — with spectacular views around almost every corner. Beginner riders might prefer a leisurely tasting tour of the region’s world-famous wineries. Read more

The best walk you've never heard of

Forget the Abel Tasman and Queen Charlotte; this is a more rugged alternative and considered an “advanced” walk by DOC standards. The 27-kilometre Nydia Track runs from Pelorus Sound across to Duncan Bay, with an overnight stop in Nydia. Most people get a shuttle back, so they don’t have to do the return walk. You'll climb saddles through dense fern forest, catch glimpse of Marlborough's highest mountain, and pass through lush farmland — with only birds for company. Read more

Charter sailing is more affordable than you think. BROOK SABIN

Charter sailing is more affordable than you think. BROOK SABIN

Sea Kayak Adventures guides are excellent at picking out wildlife. BROOK SABIN

Sea Kayak Adventures guides are excellent at picking out wildlife. BROOK SABIN

Lochmara Lodge has an underwater observatory. BROOK SABIN

Lochmara Lodge has an underwater observatory. BROOK SABIN

The journey to French Pass and Bulwer has incredible views. BROOK SABIN

The journey to French Pass and Bulwer has incredible views. BROOK SABIN

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Charter sailing is more affordable than you think. BROOK SABIN

Charter sailing is more affordable than you think. BROOK SABIN

Sea Kayak Adventures guides are excellent at picking out wildlife. BROOK SABIN

Sea Kayak Adventures guides are excellent at picking out wildlife. BROOK SABIN

Lochmara Lodge has an underwater observatory. BROOK SABIN

Lochmara Lodge has an underwater observatory. BROOK SABIN

The journey to French Pass and Bulwer has incredible views. BROOK SABIN

The journey to French Pass and Bulwer has incredible views. BROOK SABIN

New Zealand's Amalfi Coast

In Marlborough, you'll find New Zealand's version of the winding Amalfi Coast — only with cliffside farms rather than vineyards. Officially known as the Croisilles Harbour–French Pass Road, this is one of the country's best hidden gems. The road is only 60 kilometres but it will take you more than an hour and a half to drive. It's dramatically windy, at times following the ridgeline, with imposing cliffs to the bays below. At almost every turn, you'll see a new secluded bay, surrounded by native bush and emerald waters. Read more

Marlborough's startling alien-like salt lake

The Red Sea is too far away for most of us to visit. Even Australia’s pink lakes are currently out of bounds, but the result of the same conditions which make those bodies of water so distinctive can be seen just half an hour’s drive from Blenheim. The startlingly alien-like Lake Grassmere (Kāpara te hau), which varies from pale to purple, is caused by the presence of tiny algae and pink shrimp in the water. You can’t swim here, but carry on along the road and you’ll get to Marfells Beach. Read more​

Insider tip: Near the saltworks you can take the 14km return walk at low tide past Mussel Point and along to the Cape Campbell Lighthouse.
Pamela Wade, travel writer

Tiny algae turn Lake Grassmere pinker and pinker. BERNARD SPRAGG

Tiny algae turn Lake Grassmere pinker and pinker. BERNARD SPRAGG

The Pelorus Mail Boat sets out three days a week. MARLBOROUGHNZ

The Pelorus Mail Boat sets out three days a week. MARLBOROUGHNZ

The world's most scenic mail route

The Pelorus Mail Boat sets out three days a week from the little town of Havelock, to cruise through the Marlborough Sounds delivering not just post, but much more, to the people who live tucked away in the bays along this convoluted coastline, some of them so remote that they have no road access at all. On board the comfortable catamaran, everyone is welcomed and shown the ropes before passing beaches, bush-clad hills, and mussel farms. Read more

Sounds by Sail operates a luxury 32ft Beneteau yacht. BROOK SABIN

Sounds by Sail operates a luxury 32ft Beneteau yacht. BROOK SABIN

A floating hotel at sea

Chartering a yacht sounds like something only the rich and famous do. However, Sounds by Sail offers a luxury night afloat its 32-footer for $395 per person, which includes dinner in a remote bay with local wine. The skipper will even row ashore for the night to allow you to enjoy the ambience. The boat is operated by Phil and Deborah Clegg, who have exceptional knowledge of the local area – and will happily let you get behind the helm and have a go at sailing. Read more

Kayaking with stingrays

One of the best ways to explore the Sounds is with Sea Kayak Adventures, which has a base in the coastal village of Anikiwa. A guided tour will have you feeling removed from civilisation within minutes as you glide along past bush-clad cliffs. The guides are excellent at picking out wildlife, including dolphins and the occasional killer whales, which come looking for stingrays. As you paddle deeper into the Sounds it's common to spot enormous stingrays, which come up for a closer look. Read more

THREE MORE BRILLIANT WALKS

Wither Hills Farm Park. ONLY MARLBOROUGH

Wither Hills Farm Park. ONLY MARLBOROUGH

Wither Hills Farm Park

The views from Wither Hills Farm Park stretch across Blenheim, the Wairau Valley, and all the way to the North Island on a clear day. The golden hills which lent a certain well-known local winery its name are home to a network of walking and mountain bike trails with much of wine country at their feet. Set on a 1100-hectare sheep and cattle farm just outside Blenheim, the more than 60 kilometres of trail range from gentle strolls along the base to thigh-burning climbs with panoramic views across Blenheim, the Wairau Valley and Cloudy Bay.

The Link Pathway. MARLBOROUGHNZ

The Link Pathway. MARLBOROUGHNZ

The Link Pathway

This 42km track takes in hidden beaches, mature beech forest, a salt marsh, World War II lookout, and enough native bush-framed shots to seriously challenge your camera’s storage capabilities. About a fifth of the pathway follows a bridle path built in the 1860s and, for much of it, your view will be similar to that of the men who rode it during Wakamarina’s gold rush era. The walk can easily be tackled in sections and, if you only have three hours or so to spare, the stretch from Picton to the Whenuanui Bay Lookout is a good bet.

Pelorus Scenic Reserve. MARLBOROUGHNZ

Pelorus Scenic Reserve. MARLBOROUGHNZ

Elvy Waterfalls Track

The backdrop to an action-packed scene in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, the Pelorus River is one of Marlborough’s star swimming spots. The scenic reserve within which it lies is just as much fun for walkers as it is kayakers and dwarves in barrels. It serves as the starting point for several easy walks which slice between the clear blue-green river and native bush. Take the 30-minute Tawa Walk past ancient river terraces, and connect to the Elvy Waterfalls Track about halfway round. This two-hour return track will take you to two waterfalls which add to the area’s fairytale-like feel.

Read more

Eat & Drink

Hop around the country's largest wine region, have your fill of plump mussels, and visit a restaurant run by robots.

The South Island's other seafood capital

Havelock, a tiny town between Nelson and Blenheim at the head of the Marlborough Sounds, is the self-declared “Greenshell Mussel Capital of the World”. Marlborough produces about two-thirds of New Zealand’s greenshell mussel crop, as its sheltered waters offer ideal conditions for farming them. They don’t come fresher than those found at the Mills Bay Mussels tasting room by the Havelock Marina. Take a seat outside in the sun, and decide how you’d like them – beer-battered, crumbed, grilled with garlic butter or steamed in white wine with some crusty bread for mopping. Read more

Mills Bay Mussels' tasting platter offers a little bit of everything. SUPPLIED

Mills Bay Mussels' tasting platter offers a little bit of everything. SUPPLIED

Moa Brewing Co has been making craft beer and cider since 2003. BROOK SABIN

Moa Brewing Co has been making craft beer and cider since 2003. BROOK SABIN

Three of the best brew pubs

Beer lovers have plenty to sip on in the country's largest wine region. Moa Brewing Company is a pioneer of NZ’s craft beer scene and its taproom in Raupara is where you can try new releases and trusty award winners. Renwick’s Boomtown Brewing Company is the place to be on a sunny day with a Marlborough Lager in hand, and the Dodson Street Beer Garden has one of the largest selection of craft beers and ciders on tap in New Zealand (and great pizzas). Read more

Is Marlborough really the sauvignon blanc capital of the world?

The contention that Marlborough is the sauvignon blanc capital of the world is, well, contentious.

France, after all, is considered the birthplace of sauvignon blanc, having grown the zingy green grape variety since at least the 16th century.

The Californian vine which spawned New Zealand’s sauvignon blanc industry didn’t arrive in the country until about 1970, and we didn’t manage to produce it commercially for another four years.

Eager to experiment with different grape varieties, West Auckland brothers Bill and Ross Spence tracked down vine cuttings. The brothers produced New Zealand’s first commercial quantity of sauvignon blanc – some 400 bottles – at their tin shed Matua Valley winery in 1974, only to find Kiwi palates weren’t ready for it.

It wasn’t until Montana (now Brancott Estate) began producing sauvignon blanc in Marlborough in the 1980s that Kiwis really came around to the variety. By the mid-80s, the region’s savs, with their zingy acidity and heady aromas of tropical fruit and freshly cut grass, had become world-famous.

These days, the region has the highest concentration of sauvignon blanc plantings in the world. All the more impressive when you consider New Zealand produces just one per cent of the world’s wine.

With some 90 per cent of the country’s sauvignon blanc plantings, it is certainly Aotearoa’s capital of the grape variety.

France, and specifically the Loire Valley, also has a strong claim to the world title. The first record of sauvignon blanc being planted in France was in the Loire in 1534. Sancerre is the ancestral home of sauvignon blanc.

Read more

Riesling in a sea of sav

Famous for its riesling in a region synonymous with sauvignon blanc, Framingham has never been afraid of being the odd one out. Winemaker Andrew Brown goes out of his way to produce wines that differ from the typical Marlborough sav with its zingy acidity and tropical fruit aromas, specialising in aromatics that also include viognier and gewurztraminer. Visiting the winery’s tasting room in Renwick, you can sip your way through a selection of rieslings, from some of the oldest vines in the country, and discover how different they all are from each other. Read more

Insider tip: The Vines Village is the perfect rest stop between cellar doors. Found in the heart of the Golden Mile, the hub features a café and deli, boutique shops and plenty of space to stretch out.
Stephen Heard, travel publishing coordinator

Dine between the vines at Saint Clair Family Estate. SUPPLIED

Dine between the vines at Saint Clair Family Estate. SUPPLIED

Restaurants for a special occasion

You don’t have to look far for a world-class dining experience in Marlborough. Elegant dining rooms and delightful spaces are found between the city and the vines. Harvest Restaurant inside the luxury Marlborough Lodge uses charcoal to push the limits of local ingredients – some of which are plucked from the 16 acres of gardens surrounding the venue. Scotch Wine Bar is a modern restaurant in the heart of Blenheim with nearly 2000 bottles of wine. Saint Clair Family Estate is a delightful spot for lunch overlooking the vines and the Richmond Range, and Arbour delivers a taste of the region across two tasting menus. Read more

Hedgerows offers premium grade strawberries and real fruit ice cream. BROOK SABIN

Hedgerows offers premium grade strawberries and real fruit ice cream. BROOK SABIN

A berry nice day out

Grapes aren’t the only kind of fruit to flourish in Marlborough’s temperate climate. The region’s high sunshine hours help produce bumper crops of strawberries, blueberries and cherries. Picking your own plump and juicy delights is a quintessential summer activity here, especially when there’s a promise of real fruit ice cream after rummaging around between branches and undergrowth. Read more

The restaurant with a robot waiter

On entry, Blenheim's Bamboo Garden appears like your typical Asian restaurant, with a wide variety of Chinese, Thai and Japanese dishes. Your order is taken by a human, but a few minutes later a robot emerges from the kitchen and whizzes towards your table. It slowly approaches before revealing, in a Mickey Mouse-type voice, which tray is yours. Read more

MUST-VISIT CELLAR DOORS

Cloudy Bay. SUPPLIED

Cloudy Bay. SUPPLIED

Cloudy Bay

Cloudy Bay is a household name among most wine drinkers. Established in 1985, they were one of Marlborough’s first and most famous vineyards, and their groundbreaking sauvignon blanc would go on to become a poster child for the wine region. Stop by their stylish cellar door for the full tasting experience – as well as that iconic sav. In the summer months, Jack’s Raw Bar sets up shop in the courtyard, serving freshly shucked Marlborough oysters and other seasonal dishes inspired by the garden, farm and sea.

Clos Henri. BROOK SABIN

Clos Henri. BROOK SABIN

Clos Henri

Visiting Clos Henri is the next best thing to a trip to France. This vineyard was established in 2000 by a prominent wine-growing family from Sancerre, who wanted a spot in the “new world” and settled on Marlborough as the ideal terroir for growing their premium sauvignon blanc and pinot noir. Housed in a 100-year-old chapel, their cellar door is one of the prettiest you’ll encounter. You have to make an appointment to visit, but it’s worth doing because usually one of the winemakers will be available to take you through the tastings. There’s also an epicurean tasting experience where local food products are matched with the wines, served picnic-style outdoors.

Forrest. SUPPLIED

Forrest. SUPPLIED

Forrest

Pull up a beanbag and settle in for the afternoon at Forrest’s welcoming cellar door. A visit to Forrest is just what the doctor ordered – literally. Founders (and doctors) John and Brigid Forrest turned to winemaking after successful careers in scientific research and medicine, and since 1988 the family-run estate has been making a diverse range of wine styles. You’re made to feel right at home at their chilled-out cellar door, with beanbags, lawn games, and live music on Sunday afternoons. Tasting trays showcase the wide variety of wines they produce, which can be enjoyed alongside a selection of cheese platters.

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Stay

Snooze in a giant wine barrel, wake up at a remote island homestead, and unwind at the country's most affordable luxury escape.

Blenheim's luxury boutique escape

14th Lane Urban Hotel is a luxury boutique option if you want to stay central. This eight-room hotel was, for a time, one of Blenheim's only nightclubs. Now, the well-appointed mood-lit rooms are all about luxury. You'll be greeted with eight pillows on your bed, dreamily soft sheets and uber plush dressing gowns ready to jump into. The bathrooms are enormous, complete with luxury amenities and a backlit mirror – it feels like you could be in a suite at the Park Hyatt. The hotel has a communal lounge for catching up with friends and planning activities. Read more

The beds at 14th Lane are some of the comfiest you’ll find. BROOK SABIN

The beds at 14th Lane are some of the comfiest you’ll find. BROOK SABIN

Hans Herzog has a beautiful garden to sample their organic wines. BROOK SABIN

Hans Herzog has a beautiful garden to sample their organic wines. BROOK SABIN

Overnight in a grape escape

Flanked by vines on all sides, the Hans Herzog Vineyard cottage is about as Marlborough as you can get. With a complimentary tasting included with the stay, the Wairau River running along the edge of the property and bikes on-hand for gentle exploring, you can get the full experience without even leaving the grounds. Each stay starts with a tour of the vines and winery. And despite the cottage being a stone’s throw away from the winery, it still feels utterly secluded. Read more

New Zealand's bay of bliss

Bay of Many Coves is the undisputed jewel of the Marlborough Sounds. The five-star retreat is nestled in its own bay and is only reachable by boat, or helicopter if your bank balance permits. The resort hugs the hillside with a series of luxury apartments scattered among the bush. The spacious apartments all have uninterrupted views of the sea with a "honeymoon-style" vibe. There's a communal pool and hot tub, although when not lounging in their rooms, most people spend their time at the restaurant and bar on the wharf, or try kayaking, paddleboarding and fishing. Read more

Forty winks in a wine barrel

Wine-themed accommodation is just a 15-minute drive from the heart of the country's largest wine region. The shape of the accommodation might fool you at Sleeping Barrels, but they were never actually used to store wine. The Riroriro barrel is named because of your chance of seeing a riroriro down at the stream below. The other barrel – Pīwakawaka – is nestled in the garden rather than looking out to the Richmond Ranges. The barrels share a generous inside bathroom at the rear of the house and there are outdoor showers if you're there in summer. Read more

The barrels bring a taste of Hobbiton to Marlborough. BROOK SABIN

The barrels bring a taste of Hobbiton to Marlborough. BROOK SABIN

A secluded coastal retreat

A $175 hotel room in the big cities doesn't buy you much, but in the Marlborough Sounds, you could be tucked away at a secluded retreat. Hopewell Lodge is surrounded by dense native bush and inviting waters, and it's the kind of place where you can laze in a hammock with a good book or in the waterfront spa. If you want an active holiday, the resort has kayaking, fishing and paddleboarding, too. Read more

Windswept slice of paradise

In Marlborough you can catch up with friends or family without breaking the bank. On Arapaoa Island is an escape you can hire at full capacity for $40 each. The historic Arapawa Homestead has been immaculately restored to its full vintage glory complete with floral prints and dark wood finishings. Known as Gunyah, the homestead has 13 beds, including a glamping sleep-out. But the first thing you'll notice is the view of the entrance to the Tory Channel. The ferries pass so close you can almost make out who's on deck. Read more

Family-friendly fun

If you're looking for a remote lodge that the kids will love, Lochmara Lodge is your pick. After a short water taxi, you'll reach the resort, and the kids can get straight into swimming, kayaking, paddleboarding, feeding pigs and even an encounter with the rare kākāriki. The resort is also home to an underwater observatory, which gives a fish-eye view of the Sounds – and the fascinating creatures that live below. Read more

New Zealand's best value retreat

How does a luxury retreat on a private vineyard sound? In Marlborough, there's a five-star option that is a contender for the country’s best value luxury retreat. The first thing you notice when walking into the The Nineteenth is the view. The retreat sits atop a hill with floor-to-ceiling glass overlooking vines, rolling farmland and a golf course. It's the kind of place where you leave the blinds open to watch the stars, then the sunrise the next morning. Read more

Kokowhai Bay Glamping sits right on the beach. BROOK SABIN

Kokowhai Bay Glamping sits right on the beach. BROOK SABIN

The secret spot down a spectacular road

Venture along one of the country's most spectacular roads and you'll reach one of the most magical spots in the Sounds. Kokowhai Bay Glamping sits in the corner of its own little bay, surrounded by thick native bush and is just a few metres from the sea. It's completely off-grid, but solar power keeps the lights, a Netflix capable TV, satellite wi-fi, a fridge and mood lighting all going. It also has a carved stone bath and outdoor kitchen. Read more

Bay of Many Coves is nestled in the heart of Queen Charlotte Sound. BROOK SABIN

Bay of Many Coves is nestled in the heart of Queen Charlotte Sound. BROOK SABIN

You can have meals in the restaurant or delivered to your room at Bay of Many Coves. BROOK SABIN

You can have meals in the restaurant or delivered to your room at Bay of Many Coves. BROOK SABIN

The Gunyah homestead sits atop its own hill. BROOK SABIN

The Gunyah homestead sits atop its own hill. BROOK SABIN

Wake up to this view at Kokowhai Bay Glamping. BROOK SABIN

Wake up to this view at Kokowhai Bay Glamping. BROOK SABIN

The view from the master bedroom at The Nineteenth. BROOK SABIN

The view from the master bedroom at The Nineteenth. BROOK SABIN

Hopewell Lodge is situated right by the water. BROOK SABIN

Hopewell Lodge is situated right by the water. BROOK SABIN

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Bay of Many Coves is nestled in the heart of Queen Charlotte Sound. BROOK SABIN

Bay of Many Coves is nestled in the heart of Queen Charlotte Sound. BROOK SABIN

You can have meals in the restaurant or delivered to your room at Bay of Many Coves. BROOK SABIN

You can have meals in the restaurant or delivered to your room at Bay of Many Coves. BROOK SABIN

The Gunyah homestead sits atop its own hill. BROOK SABIN

The Gunyah homestead sits atop its own hill. BROOK SABIN

Wake up to this view at Kokowhai Bay Glamping. BROOK SABIN

Wake up to this view at Kokowhai Bay Glamping. BROOK SABIN

The view from the master bedroom at The Nineteenth. BROOK SABIN

The view from the master bedroom at The Nineteenth. BROOK SABIN

Hopewell Lodge is situated right by the water. BROOK SABIN

Hopewell Lodge is situated right by the water. BROOK SABIN

A SLICE OF LUXURY

Chateau Marlborough

One of the more established hotels in the region, the Chateau Marlborough is luxury five-star accommodation slap bang in the middle of Blenheim. Having undergone renovations in 2018, the hotel has a range of rooms, from suites and apartments, right up to the luxurious two-bedroom Grande Penthouse. Spend time at the pool, unwind at day spa or dine at the on-site restaurant and bar. And all within a short walk of the Blenheim CBD.

The Marlborough. SUPPLIED

The Marlborough. SUPPLIED

The Marlborough

Set in more than 16 acres of stunning vineyards and gardens is this gloriously restored historic building. Originally part of the Sisters of Mercy convent, the main building houses 10 en suite rooms over two floors while a former chapel-turned-bar is the perfect place to unwind and watch the sunset. There are range of contemporary rooms to choose from, or you can book out the entire hotel for that special occasion.

Vintners Retreat

Right in the heart of Marlborough’s famed wine country, Vintners Retreat is an oasis away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. There’s a range of different accommodation options among the 12 villas, but one thing they all have in common is they are beautifully appointed and equipped to a high standard. In those summer months grab a spot by the 12-metre solar heated pool, pour yourself a cheeky sav and unwind in the best way possible.

Rowley Estate. SUPPLIED

Rowley Estate. SUPPLIED

Rowley Estate Homestead

How about a private luxury experience for you and some friends and loved ones? The Rowley Estate Homestead offers exclusive-use boutique accommodation just outside of Blenheim. With rooms for up to eight guests, this classic homestead with wrap-around veranda and sweeping views of vineyards and farmland is a slice of rural haven.

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Sponsored Picks 

Marlborough: Brilliant Every Day

Bay of Many Coves. BROOK SABIN

As one of New Zealand’s and the world’s premier food and wine destinations, Marlborough is a drawcard for gourmands and connoisseurs.

Queen Charlotte Sound. SUPPLIED

Bay of Many Coves. BROOK SABIN

Bay of Many Coves. BROOK SABIN

Queen Charlotte Sound. SUPPLIED

Queen Charlotte Sound. SUPPLIED

Visuals: Brook Sabin

Words: Brook Sabin, Stephen Heard, Siobhan Downes, Lorna Thornber, Alan Granville, Juliette Sivertsen, Trupti Biradar, Pamela Wade, Sharon Stephenson, Josephine Franks, John Bishop, Sarah Bennett

Editors: Trupti Biradar, Stephen Heard


Stuff Travel's Go To Guides are created in partnership with Tourism New Zealand