When travelling from the North Island, a three-hour ferry
crossing departing from Wellington will get you to Picton. The town
is a gateway to the extensive network of coastal waterways,
peninsulas and islands that make up the iconic north coast of the
South Island. Passing Queen Charlotte Sound on your way to the
docks is a wonderful induction to the wild beauty of this area.
Created through a combination of land subsidence and rising sea
levels, Sounds are chains of sea-drowned valleys that create a
thrillingly elemental landscape. Don't miss the chance to see
Marlborough Sounds, the most famous of the sounds, while you are in
It might be the reason you choose to venture south of the North
Island and if you happen to like your wine, it should be the reason
that you do, because Marlborough is best known for its wine-making
prowess. 30 minutes in a car from Picton will get you to Blenheim;
a gateway to the wineries of the Wairau valley to the west.
Blenheim is the region's largest grape growing area, making it the
perfect place to explore the many vineyards that call the sunny
slopes home. Try the sauvignon blanc, a speciality of the area, in
one of the many highly acclaimed wineries that open their gates and
allow visitors to meander through grapevines and sample their
produce. If you can tear yourself away from the wine tours,
Blenheim also boasts an abundance of cafes, restaurants, bars shops
and artisan food culture.
Seeing as you are in the area it would be rude not to pop into
the Omaka Aviation Heritage centre, if you are at all interested in
planes. Located just outside of Blenheim Sir Peter Jackson, of Lord
of the Rings directing fame, is responsible for this remarkable
collection of WWI aircrafts and artefacts. In a style that only a
film director could employ, captivating scenes depict the aircrafts
in context, sometimes recreating an incident that happened in the
war. Trust us, it is a worth-while pit stop to break up your wine
tour of the region.