Things to do in
Marlborough, New Zealand

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Our most recommended things to do in Marlborough, New Zealand

Queen Charlotte Sound Mail Boat Cruise from Picton

1. Queen Charlotte Sound Mail Boat Cruise from Picton

Climb aboard the only official licensed New Zealand Post Rural Delivery Service by water in the Queen Charlotte Sound for a truly unique and interesting tour! Join in the excitement of Mail Day as the skipper delivers the New Zealand Rural post bags, groceries and freight to the residents that call the Queen Charlotte Sound waterways home. The Mail has been delivered by boat for over 150 years in the Queen Charlotte Sounds. Admire Marlborough Sounds' magnificent scenery and take a glimpse into daily life in the remote outposts of this region. Operating from Monday to Saturday, no one day is the same. The route changes daily, covering a different area and delivering the mail. During your cruise your skipper will provide interesting and informative commentary on the history of the Marlborough Sounds and the people who lived there then and now. Feel free to ask questions and keep your camera handy for any wildlife encounters.

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Picton: Dolphin Watching & Island Wildlife Sanctuary Cruise

2. Picton: Dolphin Watching & Island Wildlife Sanctuary Cruise

Embark on a unique, fully-guided wildlife and dolphin cruise through the Marlborough Sounds. Begin your journey in Picton, where you will meet the expert team who will take you on a conservation-focused, wildlife adventure for your soul. On the journey, you will be encountering a huge variety of rare, wonderful and interesting species along the way. Enjoy the engaging commentary and fantastic viewing areas which allow you to enjoy playful Hector’s, Bottlenose, or Dusky Dolphins with a 90 percent encounter rate. You will also have an opportunity to see New Zealand fur seals and numerous seabirds before landing on Motuara Island for a 1-hour nature lover’s walk to remember, great for adults and kids alike. After returning to the boat, sit back and relax with a hot drink and cookies before making our way back to Picton and stopping to check out any extra species you can discover.

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Marlborough Sounds and Ship Cove Cruise from Picton

3. Marlborough Sounds and Ship Cove Cruise from Picton

Navigate the magnficent waterways of Marlborough Sounds on a morning boat tour, departing from the Picton waterfront. Cruise up through the Queen Charlotte Sound to historical Ship Cove. Warm up with tea and coffee and listen to live commentary on regional historical and natural landmarks. Keep a lookout for marine life such as little blue penguins and Hector’s dolphins — considered the rarest marine dolphin in the world. After about an hour’s journey, your boat drops anchor at Ship Cove. Step ashore for 30 minutes and discover the inlet named by Captain James Cook on 15 January 1770. The Endeavour was anchored here to replenish supplies and the spot became a favourite anchorage of Captain Cook. Dabble in the creek where Captain Cook made home brew for his crew and share the beach with the resident wildlife. Have your photo taken beside the Captain Cook Monument commemorating his visits to this area. Or, just relax and enjoy the tranquil surrounds.

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From Havelock: Marlborough Sounds Mail Boat Full-Day Cruise

4. From Havelock: Marlborough Sounds Mail Boat Full-Day Cruise

Embark on a truly unique marine experience on a Kiwi mail boat cruise. See what it’s like to deliver mail in a remote part of the world by sea in the Marlborough Sounds on a full-day cruise. Set sail on the Pelorus Mail Boat, which has been operating for more than a century. As a sea postie for a day, cruise through the largest, quietest and most remote part of the Marlborough Sounds, Pelorus (Te Hoiere) Sound, and Kenepuru Sound. Relax on the spacious catamaran between mail, parcel, and supply deliveries and pick-ups. Marvel at the stunning scenery of clear blue water in tranquil coves and bush-clad hillsides. Weather-permitting, even get to take a sneak peek at Greenshell Mussel Farm on an informative tour. Meet some of the residents who await the Pelorus Mail Boat on far-flung jetties, unspoilt beaches, or even on their boats. Even meet a variety of 4-footed furry residents who accompany their owners to collect their mail. Benefit from a fun local crew will provide informative and entertainment commentary about life in this isolated part of the Marlborough Sounds. You’ll learn what life far away from the nearest road is really like, along with some of the area’s fascinating history. The crew will also keep an expert eye for local marine wildlife including dolphins, seals, penguins and stingrays. As an added bonus, even enjoy some free tea, coffee, and biscuits onboard.

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From Picton: Furneaux Lodge to Punga Cove Walk and Cruise

5. From Picton: Furneaux Lodge to Punga Cove Walk and Cruise

Experience the beauty of the coastal section of the Queen Charlotte Track on this gentle walk. Meet your captain in Picton and board the boat to Furneaux Lodge, located at the head of Endeavour Inlet, where your walk begins. Start your day with a coffee and morning tea at Furneaux Lodge, or head straight onto the Queen Charlotte Track. Stroll around the inlet of this well-formed coastal section of the track. Wander through lush native regenerating bush where you can spot tree ferns, birdlife, trickling streams, and even a swing bridge. If there’s time, enjoy pizza and a drink at Punga Cove before meeting your captain at the jetty for the cruise back to Picton.

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Marlborough Half-Day Wine Tour from Blenheim

6. Marlborough Half-Day Wine Tour from Blenheim

Discover the flavors of Marlborough on a half-day small-group tour. Be picked up from your Blenheim accommodation and travel through the scenic beauty of the Marlborough vineyards. Collection from Picton is available at a small surcharge per group. Relax in a luxury minibus as your guide shares insight into the region’s history and world famous wines. You will visit five cellar doors on this tour from famous internationally branded cellar doors to boutique family-run wineries. Requests for particular wineries will be accommodated where possible.  Stroll through a vineyard with your guide. Learn about the region’s unique conditions and the challenges wine makers must overcome. A table for lunch at a cellar door restaurant can be booked for you for an additional cost. Sample hand-made chocolates at the local Chocolate Factory. Your tour will end with your safe delivery back to your hotel around 3 PM. 

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Marlborough Full Day Wine Tour

7. Marlborough Full Day Wine Tour

You will be collected from your Blenheim hotel at 10.00 AM (collections from Picton are available at a small surcharge per group). Your guide will discuss the choice of vineyards and your wine preferences to enable him to plan the most suitable route through the winding vineyard roads. Relax in the luxury minibus as your guide describes the enigmatic history of Marlborough and it's world famous wines. Each cellar door in the Wairau Valley is unique, reflecting the rare conditions which make their wines special. The bright Sauvignon Blancs, delectable Pinot Noir and tropical Aromatics have won multiple international wine awards. Not even the French can match the quality of the Sauvignon Blanc. Your tour through the vineyards will visit a variety of famous internationally branded cellar doors to the boutique family-run winery, to illustrate the diversity of wines available.  Join your guide on a stroll through a vineyard to learn about the unique conditions which produce such stunning wines and the challenges that our wine makers must overcome to consistently produce award winning aromas and textures. Smell the wine in the barrel rooms as it matures in the oak casks. We stop for lunch at a stunning vineyard restaurant where you can savor Marlborough delicacies, from simple cheese platters to Royal salmon and Mussels or other regional specialties. Whilst your food is being prepared, you can move through to the tasting room to meet the cellar hosts as they discuss their range of wines on offer. Continue to enjoy the wines at other cellar doors after lunch. Our last stop is at the local Chocolate Factory to taste exquisite hand-made gourmet chocolates and watch the staff demonstrate their mastery of the chocolatier's skills. Your tour will end with your safe delivery back to your hotel in Blenheim or ship in Picton.

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Marlborough Full-Day Self-Guided Biking Wine Tour

8. Marlborough Full-Day Self-Guided Biking Wine Tour

Discover the beauty of Marlborough your way and enjoy a self-guided wine tour. You will be set up with a bike, helmet, and a wine map before being sent on your way with all the insights you need to craft your own unforgettable Marlborough wine adventure. The terrain is flat, the biking is easy, and the scenery is stunning. Spending the day cycling between vineyards is one of the best ways to take in the beauty of Marlborough. The bike rental base is within 3 kilometers of over a dozen wineries. There are off-road parking and an on-site café where you can pick up a picnic lunch or a drink before your adventure begins. Free transport to the Vines Village from Blenheim and Renwick accommodation is included with all full day bike hire, meaning you can just relax and enjoy your day. Pick-up from Picton can be arranged for an additional cost. 

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1-Way Ferry Service Between Wellington and Picton

9. 1-Way Ferry Service Between Wellington and Picton

Sit back, relax and enjoy one of the most spectacular ferry crossings in the world, between the north and south islands of New Zealand. With 92 kilometers of breathtaking views, the 3.5-hour journey between Wellington and Picton is one of New Zealand’s most iconic tourist activities.   There are 3 different ships in operation every day. Whether you are travelling alone or with your vehicle, you’ll always have a wide choice of travel times.   Once on board, enjoy a range of activities. Stroll on the decks, enjoy a meal and a drink, or catch one of the latest movie releases. You can also simply relax and take in the breathtaking view. Keep your children busy with a play area, nursery, cartoons and video games. Plus, there’s plenty of seating for families.

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Picton and Marlborough Sounds: Seafood Odyssea Cruise

10. Picton and Marlborough Sounds: Seafood Odyssea Cruise

Stroll aboard the MV Odyssea at Picton Marina and depart at 13:30 to cruise the pristine waters of the Marlborough Sounds. Indulge in some fresh, locally-caught seafood, including Regal salmon, Cloudy Bay clams and Greenshell mussels, perfectly paired with a glass of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc for the ultimate food/wine match.  Relax and enjoy the natural beauty of the Queen Charlotte Sound while cruising aboard our luxury launch, and learn about the local history. Visit a salmon and a mussel farm to experience the Marlborough marine farming industry first hand. Make use of the on board licensed bar, serving a good range of Marlborough wines, along with beers, juice and bottled water. A range of light snacks, including chips and peanuts, are available to purchase. Enjoy the boat's indoor and outdoor areas for views of the forested hills and clear blue waters from different perspectives. Then, journey back to Picton Marina for an estimated arrival time of 16:30.  

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What people are saying about Marlborough, New Zealand

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 255 reviews

This was a well worthwhile wine tour. We were lucky enough to be the only ones on the tour so Mike our driver was very open to what wineries we wanted to go to. He was well informed of the wineries In the area and well informed of wine in general. Well worth the trip.

Had such an amazing day. Comfortable boat and interesting facts shared by the captain. Great way to see the sounds and see how people live in the more isolated places. Would highly recommend!

We had a lovely trip on the 'Mail Boat'. Phil was our Skipper and while operating the boat expertly, he entertained us with amusing snippets of life in the Sounds and history of the area.

A wonderful afternoon with Phil on the mailboat. Very informative and a great sense of humour

Fantastic day and Andy is awesome and so very helpful. Would highly recommend this activity.