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Indulge yourself in Marlborough: where to eat, stay and explore

Wine with a view at The Vines Village, credit: MarlboroughNZ

Indulge yourself in Marlborough: where to eat, stay and explore

As if regularly recording the highest sunshine hours in New Zealand wasn’t enough, Marlborough has the wineries, cafes, restaurants, attractions, and accommodation to make it the ‘hottest’ travel destination of the summer.

Indulge yourself in Marlborough: where to eat, stay and explore

Here are some suggestions to treat yourself. Why not? You probably deserve it!

Stay

Marlborough is known for its vineyards, so it makes sense to stay amongst them.

The Hillsfield House Bed & Breakfast in Renwick offers a self-contained cottage which is a little home away from home with every single detail attended to. Hosts Steve and Jo are so welcoming and informative, and will see to every detail for you. It is that type of place where you really don’t want to leave.

Freshly baked croissant, fresh fruit salad, homemade jams, a selection of teas and coffee start you off each day. After a day’s adventure (Steve runs Wine Tours by Bike), Jo has homemade shortbread, ginger biscuits and carrot cake set out for you to enjoy with a much needed cuppa. Beautifully decorated, and the four poster master bed delivers a restful night’s sleep.

The Marlborough Lodge is nestled amongst 16 acres of gardens, park and vineyards and offers a relaxed and luxurious experience with a swimming pool, outdoor fireplace and tennis courts. This lodge is salubrious, with old world charm of yesteryear, yet is very much in the 21st century with it’s recent renovations. NZ artwork graces the walls of both guest lounges and the 10 private suites.

Enjoy a luxury stay at the Marlborough Lodge

Mahana Lodge in the Endeavour Inlet of the Marlborough Sounds (on the Queen Charlotte Track) offers very comfortable lodge accommodation with four bedrooms, each with their own ensuite and a communal lounge and kitchen. Do not miss out on the Chef’s Table dinner followed by a visit to the glow worm grotto, or if the night is right, sit on the jetty, throw in one of the supplied stones and be mesmerised by the phosphorescence in the water.

Eat

Harvest Restaurant at the luxurious Marlborough Lodge offers fresh seasonal produce, cooked in a charcoal-fired oven that delivers a unique and delicious dining experience.

Saint Clair Vineyard Kitchen cafe has a lovely courtyard garden looking out to the Richmond Range. Be sure to have the chicken liver pate. The secret ingredient to this delicious pate? Riesling. Of course.

Blenheim hot spot called Scotch has a wine list nine pages long including wines from France, Germany, Australia, USA, South Africa and Spain. The Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc list is 22 wines alone. The thrice cooked crispy potatoes with aioli are outstanding. The extensive wine shop next door is worth a visit too.

Lunch at one of Marlborough’s local wineries, credit: MarlboroughNZ

For a delicious lunch try the Wairau River Cellar Door and Restaurant. The chicken salad with soba noodles, cucumber, beans, eggplant, mint, sesame, soft egg, ginger with a soy & shallot dressing is stand out.

If you are after simpler fare and fancy a beverage other than wine, The Good Home Gastro Pub in Blenheim town is a good option. Everyone’s favourite pub grub of burgers, steak, seafood chowder, ribs and fish’n’chips are on the menu along with a surprisingly good selection of gins.

Drink

Any cellar door that is open for a wine tasting is worth a visit.

There are so many options from the uber chic Cloudy Bay cellar door to Bladen Wines with its little tasting shed, great music and small, pretty garden.

Biking in the vines, credit: MarlboroughNZ

Wine Tours by Bike offer a map with over 15 cellar doors to visit. For those who need a break from wine, Moa Brewery is also marked on the map.

Explore

Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre delivers more than looking at a few war planes. Aside from making award winning films, Sir Peter Jackson has been an aviation lover since he was a boy and has amassed a private collection that is impressive.

The “Knights of the Sky” WW1 exhibition is Jackson’s and in true Wingnut Films and Weta Workshop style, the exhibits seduce you into a story line that leaves you begging for more.

The separate (but also worth every cent) WW2 exhibition ‘Dangerous Skies” is also a mix of private collectors and remodelled fighter planes. For the real enthusiast who has approx $2,000, you can be a passenger and experience a joy flight in one of the working planes. A must see for visitors to Blenheim.

The Queen Charlotte Track is a beautiful bush and beach track that offers short and long distances for both walkers and mountain bikers.

Biking Queen Charlotte Track. Photo credit: MarlboroughNZ

Bellbirds and the Western Weka are easily seen and heard. To get here, you have to go by boat from Picton which gives the bonus experience of being in the sounds and on the water – look out for dolphins.

Don’t forget to visit the Cook Monument at Ship Cove/Meretoto. This monument commemorates Captain Cook’s association with the bay, having first anchored the Endeavour in 1770.

The Vines Village offers wine, beer and gin tasting. It also boasts an award-winning cafe and deli to fuel up for more adventures. The kids (and big kids at heart) will no doubt enjoy an Appleby Farms ice cream while shopping options include merino and upcycled furniture. There is even a Quilters Barn.

Head to marlboroughnz.com/visit to explore more of Marlborough’s brilliant backyard.

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