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Image: Tourism New Zealand, photo by Kieran Scott

The picturesque port town of Picton is the gateway to the Marlborough Sounds and adventures on the Queen Charlotte Track. A short drive south is Marlborough’s famous wine-growing region.

From the forests and inlets of the Marlborough Sounds to plains criss-crossed with grape vines further south, Marlborough is a region blessed with natural abundance. Bathed in sunshine, it invites exploration year-round; whether your tastes run to the thrills of swimming with dolphins or the more laid-back pleasure of selecting a favourite among more than 40 cellar doors. Whatever you choose, this is the perfect place for an indulgent escape.

Download the Marlborough section from New Zealand Trade Manual 2013

Marlborough (from New Zealand Trade Manual 2013) (1071)


Marlborough Sounds The drowned valleys of the Marlborough Sounds are a stunning scenic wonderland of quiet coves nestled amongst forest-clad hills, ideal to explore under sail. Queen Charlotte Track The 71-kilometre Queen Charlotte Track has fantastic coastal scenery, perfect for hiking, and also offers great mountain bike rides. The track can easily be tackled in sections. Wine tasting Sunny Blenheim on the Wairau Plains is the centre of New Zealand’s renowned Sauvignon Blanc wine-growing region. Awatere Valley The rugged tussock-clad mountains in the southern part of Marlborough are home to huge backcountry sheep stations. Wilderness retreats Dotted on islands and in secluded coves around the Marlborough Sounds are a number of enticing retreats ranging from back-to-nature experiences to luxurious lodges. Rich heritage The Marlborough region has a rich history dating back to early Maori habitation and the arrival of Captain Cook, who anchored at Ship Cove. There are several museums and heritage tours to experience.


Havelock Mussel-farming capital and gateway to Kenepuru and Pelorus Sounds. Anakiwa Marks the end of the Queen Charlotte Track. Renwick Heart of the Sauvignon Blanc wine industry. Portage Tiny outpost on tranquil Kenepuru Sound. Picton Gateway to the beautiful Queen Charlotte Sound and the North Island. Blenheim Main regional town and centre of the renowned Marlborough wine industry.

Getting There and Around

Air Blenheim Airport is the main airport servicing Marlborough with domestic flights to Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch with Air New Zealand. Sounds Air offers flights from Blenheim or Picton to Wellington. Road Blenheim is 4 hours, 25 minutes from Christchurch and 1 hour, 40 minutes from Nelson. It is a 25-minute drive from Blenheim to Picton. Coaches and shuttles service the area. Christchurch to Blenheim [308 km; 4 hr, 25 min] Westport to Blenheim [264 km; 3 hr, 45 min] Nelson to Blenheim [116 km; 1 hr, 40 min] Blenheim to Picton [28 km; 25 min] Blenheim to Havelock [63 km; 55 min] Rail KiwiRail operates a stunningly scenic rail service from Christchurch to Picton, the Coastal Pacific. Ferry Interislander and Bluebridge ferries depart from Picton to Wellington several times daily and make for a great scenic cruise. Water taxis provide another transport option.

Making the Sale

  • For those travelling by road and ferry, Marlborough is the gateway to the South Island. Encourage your clients to stop and explore for a couple of days.
  • Accommodation providers are well used to visitors arriving late at night after a ferry sailing – a late check-in is rarely a problem.
  • Marlborough is a good region to explore by car as there are many different landscapes to experience beyond the main centres.
  • Exploring by boat is a key experience in the Marlborough Sounds – your clients can even stay overnight on an island getaway.

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