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Things to do in Marlborough, New Zealand

Our most recommended things to do in Marlborough, New Zealand

Queen Charlotte Sound Mail Boat Cruise from Picton

1. Queen Charlotte Sound Mail Boat Cruise from Picton

Climb aboard the only official licensed New Zealand Post Rural Delivery Service by water in the Queen Charlotte Sound for a truly unique and interesting tour! Join in the excitement of Mail Day as the skipper delivers the New Zealand Rural post bags, groceries and freight to the residents that call the Queen Charlotte Sound waterways home. The Mail has been delivered by boat for over 150 years in the Queen Charlotte Sounds. Admire Marlborough Sounds' magnificent scenery and take a glimpse into daily life in the remote outposts of this region. Operating from Monday to Saturday, no one day is the same. The route changes daily, covering a different area and delivering the mail. During your cruise your skipper will provide interesting and informative commentary on the history of the Marlborough Sounds and the people who lived there then and now. Feel free to ask questions and keep your camera handy for any wildlife encounters.

Queen Charlotte Track: Cruise & Self-Guided Hike from Picton

2. Queen Charlotte Track: Cruise & Self-Guided Hike from Picton

Cruise through the Queen Charlotte Sound to walk part of the Queen Charlotte Track, one of the top ten coastal walking tracks in New Zealand. Your self-guided adventure starts with a cruise north from Picton to the historic Ship Cove. Here you can learn about the local area from your skipper, whilst on the lookout for marine wildlife. You will be able to choose between the following two hikes: Furneaux Lodge to Punga Cove Your first hike opportunity will be from Furneaux Lodge to Punga Cove, a 12.7-kilometer hike. You can enjoy 30-minutes ashore at the historic Ship Cove before rejoining the vessel and cruising around to Furneaux Lodge where you can grab a coffee or even brunch. Begin your self-guided hike along the Queen Charlotte Track, where you will learn that this area is rich in history and follows the coastline around the Endeavour Inlet through regenerating native bush to the Punga Cove Resort.  Ship Cove to Furneaux Lodge This hike provides you with the opportunity to hike from Ship Cove to Furneaux Lodge, a trail of 15 kilometers. You will arrive at Ship Cove where you'll begin your self-guided hike of the Queen Charlotte Track. You can climb away from the beach as you pass through native forest regenerating beneath a high canopy of trees. You will then be able to admire stunning views of the sound when you reach Tawa Saddle. The track then drops into Resolution Bay and follows an old bridle path into Endeavour Inlet to Furneaux Lodge. After your walk, you'll have time to relax before boarding your cruise vessel around 4:00 PM for your return boat journey to Picton with an estimated arrival time of 5:30-6:00 PM.

Marlborough Sounds and Ship Cove Cruise from Picton

3. Marlborough Sounds and Ship Cove Cruise from Picton

Navigate the magnficent waterways of Marlborough Sounds on a morning boat tour, departing from the Picton waterfront. Cruise up through the Queen Charlotte Sound to historical Ship Cove. Warm up with tea and coffee and listen to live commentary on regional historical and natural landmarks. Keep a lookout for marine life such as little blue penguins and Hector’s dolphins — considered the rarest marine dolphin in the world. After about an hour’s journey, your boat drops anchor at Ship Cove. Step ashore for 30 minutes and discover the inlet named by Captain James Cook on 15 January 1770. The Endeavour was anchored here to replenish supplies and the spot became a favourite anchorage of Captain Cook. Dabble in the creek where Captain Cook made home brew for his crew and share the beach with the resident wildlife. Have your photo taken beside the Captain Cook Monument commemorating his visits to this area. Or, just relax and enjoy the tranquil surrounds.

Rotorua Forest 3-Hour Zipline Canopy Tour

4. Rotorua Forest 3-Hour Zipline Canopy Tour

Join in a small-group zipline tour that will have you soaring through Rotorua's forest canopy. Switch between the six zipline cables suspended 22-meters above the ground and see the forest from a different perspective.  When you arrive at the base, you'll receive a warm welcome from the front office team. Check-in and meet your down-to-earth highly experienced kiwi guides who will kit you out with all necessary equipment for the day's weather. A quick 10-minute van ride and you'll arrive at the Dansey Road Scenic Reserve.  Your guides will share fascinating New Zealand eco-tour knowledge with your group, which is limited to just 10 people. At the first platform after a safety briefing, you’ll be off, exploring the native forest on 1.2 km network of Rotorua ziplines, swing bridges and treetop platforms. In total there are 6 ziplines totaling more than 650 meters, the highlight for most being the jaw-dropping 220-meter 'tui song' zipline that departs from 22 meters up a 1000-year-old tree.  Your trusty guides will be clipping you on and off all of the safety systems during your tour, your guide will even slow you down as you arrive at each platform. You will not be required to operate any of the equipment on the tour. This allows you to enjoy the ziplines and take in the magical native forest. 

Marlborough Full-Day Self-Guided Biking Wine Tour

5. Marlborough Full-Day Self-Guided Biking Wine Tour

Discover the beauty of Marlborough your way and enjoy a self-guided wine tour. You will be set up with a bike, helmet, and a wine map before being sent on your way with all the insights you need to craft your own unforgettable Marlborough wine adventure. The terrain is flat, the biking is easy, and the scenery is stunning. Spending the day cycling between vineyards is one of the best ways to take in the beauty of Marlborough. The bike rental base is within 3 kilometers of over a dozen wineries. There are off-road parking and an on-site café where you can pick up a picnic lunch or a drink before your adventure begins. Free transport to the Vines Village from Blenheim and Renwick accommodation is included with all full day bike hire, meaning you can just relax and enjoy your day. Pick-up from Picton can be arranged for an additional cost. 

Onshore Highlights of Marlborough's Wine Region from Picton

6. Onshore Highlights of Marlborough's Wine Region from Picton

The Port of Picton in the Queen Charlotte Sound welcomes cruise ships throughout the season and it is a lovely seaside spot to explore. Just 25 minutes south of Picton, your tour takes you on a scenic journey to enjoy the famous Marlborough wine and gourmet region. The most popular highlights of the day are wine tasting, sampling local gourmet treats and the spectacular scenic routes of the vineyards, Wairau Plains, mountain ranges and farmlands while traveling to and from the most beautiful winery gardens and cellar doors. Experience gourmet treats of cheese tasting, manuka honey, oils, liqueurs, a refreshing gelato or decadent fudge. Seasonal produce is also available at roadside stalls from December through to February. You can take these aboard but must eat them before you disembark. Juicy strawberries, cherries, apricots and nectarines. Although your cruise ship caters well for you, a light tapas or cheese/meat/seafood platter with matching wines is a great way to experience the local cuisine. Your local chauffeur/guide arranges a picturesque winery garden or a chateau high on a hill with magnificent views for your pleasure. If time allows you can also request a stop at the Omaka Aviation Air Centre where you can view Peter Jackson’s amazing displays of his classic aircraft of WW1 and WW2.  The tour can continue and your chauffeur/guide will return for you to join the rest of the group within 1-2 hours. A fabulous memorabilia shop is also there for you along with delicious cafe treats. Generally tours last around 4-5 hours but flexibility is given for each ships schedule and the tour caters for passengers comfort and requirements.  Travel in comfortable small personal vehicles of 6, 9 or 11 seats and will return at least 2 hours prior to your ship's scheduled departure. Before leaving Blenheim you should visit the Makana Boutique Chocolate Confections – a treat not to be missed. For a highlight to end a wonderful day when you arrive back in Picton, why not take advantage of a short 15 minute return drive from the township to the Victoria Domain for high vantage views of Picton Port, Queen Charlotte Sound and your ship. Your local chauffeur/guide is a local owner who has great passion for the Marlborough region and looks forward to sharing it all with you. 

From Picton: Marlborough Sounds Cruise with Seafood

7. From Picton: Marlborough Sounds Cruise with Seafood

Cruise the pristine waters of the Marlborough Sounds on a scenic tour from Picton and admire breathtaking views of nature. Indulge in fresh, locally-caught seafood, including Regal salmon and Greenshell mussels, perfectly paired with a glass of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. Board the vessel at Picton Marina and set sail into the striking Queen Charlotte Sound. Become surrounded by forested hills and keep an eye out for local wildlife, including seals, dolphins, and birds. Learn about local history and the marine farming industry in the area. Enjoy the boat's indoor and outdoor areas for views of the hills from different perspectives and taste delicious seafood paired with a glass of wine. For an extra drink, take advantage of the onboard licensed bar, serving a good range of snacks and Marlborough wines, beers, juice, and bottled water. Finally, turn around and return to Picton Marina.

From Havelock: Marlborough Sounds Mail Boat Full-Day Cruise

8. From Havelock: Marlborough Sounds Mail Boat Full-Day Cruise

Embark on a truly unique marine experience on a Kiwi mail boat cruise. See what it’s like to deliver mail in a remote part of the world by sea in the Marlborough Sounds on a full-day cruise. Set sail on the Pelorus Mail Boat, which has been operating for more than a century. As a sea postie for a day, cruise through the largest, quietest and most remote part of the Marlborough Sounds, Pelorus (Te Hoiere) Sound, and Kenepuru Sound. Relax on the spacious catamaran between mail, parcel, and supply deliveries and pick-ups. Marvel at the stunning scenery of clear blue water in tranquil coves and bush-clad hillsides. Weather-permitting, even get to take a sneak peek at Greenshell Mussel Farm on an informative tour. Meet some of the residents who await the Pelorus Mail Boat on far-flung jetties, unspoilt beaches, or even on their boats. Even meet a variety of 4-footed furry residents who accompany their owners to collect their mail. Benefit from a fun local crew will provide informative and entertainment commentary about life in this isolated part of the Marlborough Sounds. You’ll learn what life far away from the nearest road is really like, along with some of the area’s fascinating history. The crew will also keep an expert eye for local marine wildlife including dolphins, seals, penguins and stingrays. As an added bonus, even enjoy some free tea, coffee, and biscuits onboard.

Picton: Queen Charlotte Sounds Sightseeing Cruise

9. Picton: Queen Charlotte Sounds Sightseeing Cruise

Hop onboard a sightseeing cruise to see the natural beauty of Queen Charlotte Sounds. Search for local birds and wildlife, and feed fish from onboard the boat. Cruise to Double Cove, Lochmara Bay, and Onahau Bay on a short cruise, perfect for cruise ship passengers short on time. Crossing the main reach of Queen Charlotte Sounds will have you arriving at Double Cove, a sheltered haven of holiday homes, cormorants, and lively local fish. Cruise around the bay taking in some amazing waterfront properties and wildlife nestled in the cove, and stop to feed friendly fish from the vessel. Mullet and Big Blue Cod are among the locals who visit at feeding time, along with sea birds who like to join in the fun. Continue your sightseeing cruise into Lochmara Bay, Onahau Bay, and around the grove arm of the inner Queen Charlotte Sound. This area is surrounded by years of regenerating beach forests and natural beauty. Your friendly skipper will give a full commentary and answer any questions along the way to ensure you take away the best the Marlborough Sounds has to offer.

Marlborough: Wineries Visit and Tasting Session

10. Marlborough: Wineries Visit and Tasting Session

This half-day tour begins with pickup from the meeting points in Blenheim then heads out into the rolling countryside of Marlborough.  Visit some of the region’s top cellar doors, meet the winemakers, and sample a selection of the very best wines. While you taste, learn about each of the wines and how they’re made, as well as the people who make them and the history of the wineries. At the end of a beautiful afternoon, enjoy drop-off at around 5:30 PM.

Top sights in Marlborough, New Zealand

Frequently asked questions about Marlborough, New Zealand

What top attractions are a must-see in Marlborough, New Zealand?

The must-see attractions in Marlborough, New Zealand are:

Other Sightseeing Options in Marlborough, New Zealand

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What people are saying about Marlborough, New Zealand

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 406 reviews

Sue was an awesome guide, very kind and interested in her participants. She had a perfect level of giving information, keeping us on schedule but giving the participant the feeling of being relaxed and having all the time you need at every winery.

For a half day tour it was amazing taken to some fabulous vineyards even though it was a public holiday and lots were closed

Fantastic exhibition! Highly recommend. Attention to detail is astounding!

Super experience. Guides were great! Everything was great! 11 out of 10

The team is excellent, from frontbdest to boat crew!