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Rai Valley

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Rai Valley

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Rai Valley is a small rural settlement in Marlborough. If the dryness of the rest of Marlborough drives you to drink then Rai Valley will amaze with it's lushness. When it rains it rains!! But set halfway between Blenheim and Nelson who contest each other for the sunshine record for New Zealand it also receives loads of sunshine. The result stunning green scenery with fantastic native bush. Rai Valley is a handy place to explore the Sounds.

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

The Rai Valley is on State Highway 6 between Nelson (40 minutes) and Havelock (25 minutes).

By bus[edit]

All buses[5] and shuttles[6][7] traveling Picton - Blenheim - Havelock - Nelson return travel through Renwick.

InterCity operates daily services to Rai Valley from Picton and Nelson. Tickets start from $1 (+ booking fee) and can be purchased online, over the phone or throughout the country at numerous booking agents including the i-SITE network. Visit for more information.

Get around[edit]

Rai Valley is the gateway to the Marlborough Sounds. Ideal base for accessing Elaine Bay, Cissy Bay, Okiwi Bay, French Pass and D'Urville Island, Tennyson Inlet, Duncan Bay. Fantastic for boaties, kayaking, fishing, mountain biking (not much traffic!) and seeing nature at it's best. Between Nelson and Blenheim and so easy to find on SH6

See[edit][add listing]

  • Rai Valley A & P Show, Carluke Domain (Just up the French Pass road turn right into the Tennyson Inlet Road), 03 5716 388, [1]. 1st Saturday on March every year, starts at 8.00 a.m. and ends when the band finishes. Genuine rural show day. Sheep shearing, home baking competitions and the 'Rai Challenge'.  edit
  • Rai Valley Cottage, Opouri Road, Carluke. Daylight Hours. Built of totara and beech slabs, pit sawn on the site by the district's first European settler, Charles Turner. This small, four-roomed cottage was built in 1881 and Turner and his wife Matilda and their four children lived here for 28 years. The roof was shingled and the fireplace constructed of river stones. It is furnished in the style of the 1890/1900 period and is one of the few remaining buildings of this type of construction in the country. Visitors can view the interior at any time through glass observation panels. Free.  edit

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Rai Valley is the gateway to the western Marlborough Sounds. The turn-off to Okiwi Bay and French Pass is 1 minute west of the township.
  • The Pelorus Bridge is a reserve with cafe, campground, bush walks and (in summer) a beautiful swimming hole. Pelorus Bridge is 10 minutes east of Rai Valley

Buy[edit][add listing]

  • Rai Trading, Main Road, 03 571 6325 (). Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm and Saturday 9am to noon. Groceries, the NZ Post Agency and General Store.  edit

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • Brick Oven, Main Rd, 03 571 6005.  edit
  • Foresters Cafe/Restaurant, Mount Richmond Estate, SH6 (A few kms west of Rai Valley on SH6), 03 571 6070, [2]. 9 - 6 cafe. Dinners from 6pm. The cafe/restaurant is open daily (except Christmas Day) serving delicious chef produced meals and snacks. Great range of drinks including fantastic coffee. Sit inside in front of the log burner in the cooler months or outside on the deck in the warmer months. Wifi internet available, $2 per half hour  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • Rai Valley Tavern, Main Rd, 03 571 6010.  edit

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • Mount Richmond Estate, State Highway 6 (5 minutes west of Rai Valley), 03 571 6070 (), [3]. checkin: 2pm; checkout: 10am. Individual self contained refurbished units sleeping up to four people. Rates from $150 for two people, extra persons $20 each per night. Set in 10 acres of parkland surrounded by forest. Each unit has two bedrooms (super king and twin beds), bathroom, kitchen, dining and lounge area, tv, dvd player, freeview. Accessibility unit too with one bedroom and similar facilities. Plenty of birdlife, walks, mountain biking, horse riding at Pelorus River Horses or just relax! 'Foresters' cafe/restaurant on site for everything from breakfasts, snacks through to dinner. Motel (2 persons) from $150.  edit


  • Internet access is available at Community Library (sited on the grounds of the Rai Valley Area School), Main Road. Monday - Friday 8.30 a.m. - 3.00 p.m, Last Wednesday evening of each month, 7.00 p.m. - 8.30 p.m. $2.00 per 15 minutes.  edit

Get out[edit]

Wine in Blenheim, the scenery of the Marlborough Sounds or art in culture in Nelson, Rai Valley is handy to many sights.

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!