Discover Blenheim, Marlborough
Marlborough has huge sunshine hours and low rainfall, making it a perfect choice for an outdoorsy, wine-flavoured, food-focused holiday. And if you're interested in aviation and the special effects created by Weta Workshop, call into the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre to see Peter Jackson's WW1 aircraft collection and 'Dangerous Skies', a compelling exhibition of WW2 aircraft and stories. Marlborough is also home to Outward Bound, a legendary Kiwi enterprise dedicated to helping people build fitness and resilience. Maybe it's time to test your physical and mental strength with a multi-day outdoor pursuits course!
About our flights to Blenheim
Air New Zealand operates daily non-stop flights to Blenheim from Auckland and Wellington, with connections across the New Zealand domestic network. With all our New Zealand domestic airfares you can choose seat, seat+bag, flexichange or flexirefund fare types. Flexichange gives you the flexibility to change your flight with no change fees while flexirefund is fully refundable. Find out more about our New Zealand domestic seat options.
Measuring 72 kilometres from end to end, Queen Charlotte Track passes through lush coastal forest and along ridges that deliver breath-taking views of sky, ocean, beaches and bays.
Things to see and do when you visit Marlborough
To enjoy the best of Marlborough, we recommend you pick up a rental car at the airport. Alternatively, you could use local operators to shuttle you around the region. Bikes are also a great form of transport in Marlborough, if your aim is mainly to explore wine and food across the Marlborough plains.
Queen Charlotte Track
Before the days of wine and cellar doors, the Marlborough region's chief claim to fame was its sounds - extraordinary sea-drowned valleys created when ocean levels rose many millions of years ago. This marine wonderland can be explored by mountain bike, on foot, by kayak or on a cruise.
Queen Charlotte Track is one of the most popular adventures in the area. You can hike it, bike it or paddle around in a kayak. Measuring 72 kilometres from end to end, it passes through lush coastal forest, around coves and inlets, and along skyline ridges that deliver breath-taking views of sky, ocean, beaches and bays. You can get out there for one day or several, with or without a guide. Accommodation options include camping under the stars or bedding down in a comfortable lodge. The track is open all year round. In summer, one section (Ship Cove to Punga) is closed to bikers.
Outward Bound, Anakiwa
Are you looking for a corporate team-building event with a difference or do you want to give your life a serious rev up? At Outward Bound in Anakiwa you can push your limits while you explore the amazing Marlborough Sounds landscapes, all in the name of building self-worth and fitness. Outward Bound offers a broad range of courses for all ages and needs; landlubbing city escapees are especially welcome. More about outdoor adventures in Marlborough.
Lochmara Lodge is both a centre for wildlife recovery and a wonderful place for a holiday. Accessible only by water, the lodge has an underwater observatory, sculpture trail, nature walk network and a spa. There's also a comprehensive programme of nature-based excursions and activities. You can visit Lochmara Lodge for a day trip or stay a few nights in the comfy chalet accommodation. Water taxis leave from Picton.
Wineries in Marlborough
If riding a bike sedately from cellar door to cellar door sounds like your idea of heaven, Marlborough is your sort of place. It has more sauvignon blanc plantings than anywhere else in New Zealand, as well as plenty of pinot noir, chardonnay, pinot gris and riesling vines, to bring variety to your tasting tour. From the small township of Renwick, there are more than 30 welcoming wineries within a 24-kilometre circuit.
You won't have to pack a picnic, because there are vineyard cafés and restaurants in every direction. Local delicacies include green-lipped mussels from Havelock, Marlborough salmon and blue cod. Serendipitously, they all pair perfectly with the local sauvignon blanc. Bike hire is easy to arrange - it might even be provided by your accommodation.
Cloudy Bay Winery
Visiting Cloudy Bay Winery is a highlight of any Marlborough cellar door adventure and the environment is almost as enticing as the wine. The vast courtyard extends out to a glorious landscape that invites you to commune with nature while you sip your way through a tasting. During summer, Jack's Raw Bar is open at Cloudy Bay. The meals are informally fabulous and there's petanque or croquet for entertainment.
Restaurants in Blenheim
As well as winery cafés and restaurants, the Marlborough region has some exceptional establishments for fine dining. A great example is beautiful Arbour restaurant, which has two hats from Cuisine and multiple awards from other reputable sources. It's all about degustation here - six or nine courses of divinely constructed edible artworks. Every dish represents Marlborough on a plate.
Marlborough Wine and Food Festival
At Marlborough's annual wine and food festival, you can discover the maximum number of wine producers in the shortest possible time. Best of all, you'll enjoy the region's best wine in the company of great food - brilliant wine and food pairings are a focus for this festival. Held in a vineyard, this one-day event happens in early February. The festival includes more than 50 wine producers, 25+ food businesses and a stage full of live entertainment.
Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre
Plane-spotters will have the best of times the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, but this museum isn't only for aviation enthusiasts. It's for anyone who appreciates the amazing evolution of flying machines. You'll see Sir Peter Jackson's impressive collection of WW1 aircraft and artefacts, and a superb collection of WW2 fighters in the Dangerous Skies exhibition. Incredibly realistic and engaging, the displays are bought to life with dioramas by Wingnut Films, life-like mannequins created by Weta Workshop and immersive multi-media experiences. Top your visit off with a ride in a Stearman biplane or Yak-3. See our Top 10 things to do in Marlborough.
Accommodation in Blenheim
You can expect a room with a view wherever you stay in the Marlborough region. For those on a tight budget, there's a choice of economical backpacker lodges or you can make yourself at home in a tent, cabin or campervan at a picturesque holiday park. If you're a mid-range traveller, look for a cosy Airbnb cottage, tourist hotel or B&B. And if you're splashing the cash, there are winery lodges and luxury boutique hotels that understand the art of upmarket hospitality.
1. Explore the Queen Charlotte Track
Walk or bike this wonderfully scenic 70km track, which runs between Ship Cove and Anakiwa. Along the way you'll visit historic bays and climb through native forest to massive views of the Marlborough Sounds. The Queen Charlotte Track typically takes four to five days to walk, but sections can also be experienced on a day hike.
2. Choose one of the Outward Bound adventures
Reset your course in life by booking an Outward Bound adventure. Set around the Anakiwa back country and pristine waters of Queen Charlotte Sound, these highly-rated experiences are designed to challenge you mentally and physically. There are courses designed for teens through to older adults, ranging from 5 to 21 days.
3. Discover Lochmara Lodge
Lochmara Lodge is a centre for wildlife recovery and the arts that offers overnight accommodation and day trips. There are no roads to the lodge, which is located on the water's edge in the Marlborough Sounds, so you have the fun of arriving by water.
4. Take off to the Omaka Airshow Blenheim
Classic Fighters Omaka brings together rare vintage and classic planes from Omaka, around New Zealand and overseas. Held over the Easter weekend every second year, the show combines aerobatics and precision flying with theatrical equipment to create an incredibly engaging, entertaining and informative three-day spectacle.
5. Visit Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre
This 'living' aviation museum is a must-visit attraction that's open seven days a week. Two major exhibitions feature original, flyable and replica examples of some of the world's rarest aircraft. Incredibly realistic and engaging, the displays are bought to life with dioramas by Wingnut Films, life-like mannequins created by Weta Workshop and immersive multi-media experiences.
6. Explore Marlborough Sounds
This network of steep river valleys is filled with water from the ocean, creating a magical land of sheltered waterways, sandy beaches and native forests. With 150km of coastline to explore and more than 50 reserves managed by the Department of Conservation, the Sounds are a haven for kayaking, boat trips, short walks and multi-day hikes.
7. Experience the best wineries in Marlborough
Producing more than three quarters of New Zealand's wine, the Marlborough region specialises in award-winning sauvignon blanc, pinot noir, pinot gris, riesling, chardonnay and sparkling wines. More recently, a few breweries have popped up to keep hop-happy visitors contented. Book a guided wine tour or ride one of the vineyard cycle trails for an unforgettable day of indulgence.
8. Unwind in Pollard Park Blenheim
Exploring Pollard Park is one of the best free things to do in Blenheim. It's a 26.4 hectare haven with gardens, open spaces, mature trees and a babbling stream. The large rose garden is a local favourite, along with spring daffodils and planted flower beds of colourful annuals.
9. Visit Picton's Kaipupu Wildlife Sanctuary
Highly rated among the things to do in Picton, this 40-hectare sanctuary is protected by a predator-proof fence. It's home to many rare and endangered birds, which are flourishing in the native forest. To reach Kaipupu, catch a water taxi from Picton or paddle a kayak to the floating visitor jetty.
10. Explore Pelorus Bridge Scenic Reserve
Inland from Havelock is Pelorus Bridge Scenic Reserve, a magical place for a picnic and bush walk. If you're visiting in summer, bring your togs - the river water is clear and refreshing. There's a café here too.
Keep exploring Blenheim, Marlborough
Best time to fly to Blenheim, Marlborough
The Marlborough region has relatively low rainfall compared to the rest of New Zealand; it also has high sunshine hours. While summer is the busiest time for tourism, spring or autumn are smart choices if you want to avoid crowds. Winter days can be glorious - just wear an extra layer or two.
How much will it cost?
This will depend on your tastes and what you want to do. As a rough guide, not including air travel and hotels, you should allow about NZD $100 to $150 a day per person for food and entertainment.
|Flight route||Flight time*||Stops**||Days||Book|
Auckland (AKL) to Blenheim (BHE)
|1h 30m||Non-stop||M,T,W,T,F,S,S||Find flights|
Wellington (WLG) to Blenheim (BHE)
Cheap flights to Blenheim, Marlborough
Auckland (AKL) to Blenheim (BHE)
Wellington (WLG) to Blenheim (BHE)
*Flight times are based on the fastest route available.
**Indirect flights may also be available for this route.