This is a land of stunning scenery: the winding waterways and bays of the Sounds, flat plains, mountains and rugged coastline. It’s a place for lazing in secluded bays, exploring forested valleys, cruising serene waters with dolphins playing off the boat’s bow; or hiding away in a romantic waterside lodge.
For foodies, it’s paradise. While best known for wine ( 77% per cent of our grapes are grown here), Marlborough’s menu is a gourmet platter of the best of New Zealand.
A crayfish sandwich, pāua fritters, fresh fish and chips, succulent lamb or a picnic of fresh fruit, cheeses and just-baked bread. Greenshell mussels and farmed salmon from these waters are as renowned as the wines that match – perfectly – with them.
In autumn, the province takes two weeks to celebrate its outstanding food and wine and the talented people behind it. Feast Marlborough, from 1-16 May 2020, celebrates their stories with an event that brings together local people, producers and chefs, sharing their talents with food-loving visitors hungry to learn more about this stunning region.
The Feast Marlborough Event Series brings you a fortnight of pop-ups. Dig in and uncover some of Marlborough’s best kept secrets with our series of unique food and drink experiences in exciting locations.
On May 8th, see Blenheim’s CBD transformed for Bayleys Friday Night Feast, a rip-roaring street party with live entertainment and guest chefs. The celebrations continue with A Taste of Marlborough, where the region’s culinary geniuses battle it out across Marlborough cafes and restaurants to be named champion chef.
So much to do in Marlborough
Athletic types aren’t forgotten: the annual Vineyard Half Marathon is run through the vines at Saint Clair Family Estate, ending with – what else? – food, wine and live music.
Don’t feel you have to time your visit around the festival, however. Marlborough is home to more than 120 wineries and 30-plus cellar doors, so you can follow the wine trail at any time of the year.
Hire a bike or rent a car and venture into the vast plains, and you’ll find more than 30 cellar doors in a flat, gentle 24km circuit.
You won’t have to pack a picnic; there are vineyard cafes and restaurants in every direction. Famed winery restaurants such as Allan Scott Wines, Brancott Estate Heritage Centre, Hans Herzog and Wither Hills feature the province’s famed produce and seafood.
The Marlborough Farmers Market is another great way to taste fresh foods and artisan products. Then again, what better option than boarding a cruise combining local delicacies, award-winning wine and breathtaking scenery?
Indulge in an excellent selection of pinot noirs, chardonnays, pinot gris, rieslings and sauvignon blancs from local winemakers, as well as a range of boutique gins and craft beers.
Before the days of wine and cellar doors, the region was known for “the Sounds” – four extraordinary sea-drowned valleys created when ocean levels rose around 10,000 years ago.
Today, you can explore the winding waterways of Queen Charlotte, Kenepuru, Pelorus and Mahau Sounds by road, mountain bike, on foot, from a kayak or on a cruise including dolphin watching. Hide away in one of many lodges, B&Bs or holiday homes dotted throughout the bays, beaches and forest, some accessible only by water taxi or helicopter.
Take one or several days to discover iconic Queen Charlotte Track on foot, bike or sea kayak. With restaurants and accommodation along its 71km length, it passes lush coastal forest, coves and inlets, along skyline ridges – all delivering magnificent views.
Air New Zealand offers non-stop flights to Blenheim from Auckland and Wellington with connecting flights from most other regional centres. Choose from seat, seat+bag, flexitime or flexidate fares.
Auckland-Blenheim flight time is 90 minutes, Wellington-Blenheim 30 minutes. For bookings and more information visit Air New Zealand.
Getting around in Marlborough
You’ll need a vehicle to experience the best of the Marlborough region. Book your car rental before you go with Air New Zealand or choose from the options when you land at Blenheim Airport. For more on Marlborough, see marlboroughnz.com