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Tasman-Marlborough is a region on the northern end of the South Island of New Zealand. It is renown for high sunshine hours, New Zealand's largest wine growing area, the Marlborough Sounds and Abel Tasman National Park.



Other Destinations[edit]


Get in[edit]

By ferry[edit]

Ferries which link the North and South Islands traveling from Wellington to Picton. The ferry journey takes 3 [3] to 3 1/2 hours [4], the southern portion of which is through the Marlborough Sounds. The ferries take both vehicles and passengers.

By car[edit]

State Highway 1 runs from Picton south to Blenheim (20 minutes), Seddon (40 minutes from Picton), Kaikoura (2 hours) and Christchurch (4 1/2 hours). Travel to Nelson is either via State Highway 6 from Blenheim (1 1/2 hours) or from Picton via the scenic and windy Queen Charlotte Drive. Travel to the West Coast is from Renwick via St Arnaud (1 1/4 hours).

By bus[edit]

Buses[5] and shuttle buses[6] run Picton - Christchurch and Picton - Blenheim - Nelson. Nelson Lakes Shuttles[7] specialise in transport for trampers, hikers, climbers, mountain bikers and skiers. They run on-demand and scheduled services to St Arnaud, Nelson Lakes National Park, Kahurangi National Park, the Richmond Ranges and tramping destinations further afield.

By plane[edit]

  • Nelson Airport[8] is one of the busier in the country with Air New Zealand[9] and Air2There[10] providing scheduled services.
  • Blenheim Airport at Woodbourne, 10 minutes from Blenheim and 4 minutes from Renwick on State Highway 6. Serviced by Air New Zealand[11] with flights to Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. The commuter airline Air2there[12] flies to Wellington and Paraparaumu (north of Wellington). Sounds Air[13], mainly based out of Picton Airport, also has one return flight to Wellington from Woodbourne.
  • Picton Airport, located 5 minutes south of Picton and 15 minutes north of Blenheim off State Highway 1, is the base for Sounds Air[14]. This commuter airline flies to Wellington as well as offering scenic flights around the Marlborough Sounds.

Get around[edit]

Public transport is limited. The main routes through the region are serviced by buses and trains (see above). Blenheim, Picton and Kaikoura have a taxi and shuttle service. Water taxis and scheduled water transport are available from Picton for the Queen Charlotte Sound and Havelock for the Pelorus Sound.

See[edit][add listing]

  • The Marlborough Sounds, an aquatic playground with bird and dolphin watching, walking, kayaking and sailing.
  • Vineyards stretching as far as the eye can see in the Wairau and Awatere Valleys.
  • Lake Grassmere - Where seawater is turned into huge piles of salt by the sun and evaporation as well as being a birdwatcher's paradise. Between Seddon and Ward on State Highway 1.

Do[edit][add listing]

  • The Marlborough Wine Festival is held in February each year and on 9 February 2008. Experience over 200 wines from around 40 wineries and gourmet food[15]. It is NZ's longest running wine and food festival.
  • Tramping (treking or rambling) in the Nelson Lakes National Park, the Marlborough Sounds, the Richmond Ranges.
  • Ski Rainbow. 1 1/4 hours to the bottom of the access road, Rainbow Skifield [16] is the northern most skifield in the South Island, close to the village of St Arnaud.
  • Driftwood Eco-tours, +64 3 577 7651, [1]. Bird watching and eco-tours. Leisurely Kayak on the Wairau lagoons to get close to rare New Zealand wading birds. High country exploration. Walking guide.  edit

Buy[edit][add listing]

  • Riverlore Art Gallery, 1494 State Highway 6 (Between Renwick and Havelock south of the Wairau River bridge), 03 572 8755, [2]. Monday - Friday 12pm till 4pm, weekends by appointment, May - August : Please phone.  edit

Eat[edit][add listing]

Most of New Zealand's Greenshell mussels are farmed in the Marlborough Sounds. These mussels, a native species with Sauvignon Blanc would be a Marlborough signature match. Blenheim, Picton and Kaikoura have a good range of eating establishments.

Drink[edit][add listing]

Marlborough is New Zealand's largest grape growing region[17] with the Wairau plains near Blenheim being the home of a number of major wineries. Vineyard tours are a significant attraction. The main varieties of grape grown are Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Get out[edit]

Just south of the region is Kaikoura, which is famous for its whale watching. From Kaikoura, the inland route through to Hanmer Springs is off the usual tourist trail and rewards the traveller with mountain views and a soak in the hot springs.

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