Welcome to Marlborough & Nelson

These top-of-the-South neighbours have much in common beyond an amenable climate: both boast renowned coastal holiday spots, particularly the Marlborough Sounds, Abel Tasman National Park and Kaikoura. There are two other national parks (Kahurangi and Nelson Lakes) amid more mountain ranges than you can poke a Leki stick at.

The two regions also have an abundance of produce, from game and seafood to summer fruits, and most famously the grapes that work their way into the wine glasses of the world’s finest restaurants. Keep your penknife and picnic set at the ready.

Top experiences in Marlborough & Nelson

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Marlborough & Nelson activities

$93.07 Food, Wine & Nightlife

Picton Shore Excursion: Marlborough Wine Region Tour

After being picked up at the Picton port when your cruise ship docks, your relaxing small-group tour heads out of the city to New Zealand's world-famous Marlborough wine region. Choose either the 5-hour or 6.5-hour tour, before returning to the Picton port by minivan. Both options include a visit to the Makana Boutique Chocolate Factory, where you’ll see delicious chocolates being made by hand. Enjoy a sample of the many varieties made here, from succulent truffles to fruit-filled chocolates and nutty bites.5-Hour Tour:Visit five to six Marlborough wineries for tastings of sparkling and dessert wines, oaked chardonnay and New Zealand’s signature wine variety, sauvignon blanc. Snacks and nibbles are available to purchase at the vineyards (own expense). The number of vineyards visited may vary, as each winery stop is relaxed and the tour proceeds at your group’s own pace.6.5-Hour Tour with Lunch:Choose the longer tour option to taste wines at six to eight wineries. Plus, have time to enjoy a gourmet lunch at one of the Marlborough region’s premium vineyard restaurants, featuring seasonal produce like New Zealand lamb and seafood (at own expense).Worry-free Shore Excursion:We will ensure your timely return to the Picton port for this activity. In the rare event your ship has departed, we will arrange for transportation to the next port-of-call. If your ship is delayed and you are unable to attend this activity, your money will be refunded. See our terms and conditions for full details.

$82.73 Shore Excursions

Shore Excursion: Highlights of Marlborough from Picton

The Port of Picton in the Queen Charlotte Sound welcomes cruise ships throughout the season and it is a lovely seaside spot to explore. Just 25 minutes south of Picton, your tour takes you on a scenic journey to enjoy the famous Marlborough wine region.The most popular highlights of the day are wine tasting, sampling local gourmet treats and the spectacular scenic routes of the Wairau Valley while travelling to and from the most beautiful winery gardens and cellar doors.Experience gourmet treats of cheese tasting, manuka honey, oils, liqueurs, a refreshing gelato or decadent fudge.  If time allows you can also request a stop at the Omaka Air Museum where you can view Peter Jackson’s amazing displays of his classic aircraft.  The tour can continue and your chauffeur/guide will return in approximately one hour to pick you up from the Air Museum. Seasonal produce is also available at roadside stalls from December through to February. You can take these aboard but must eat them before you disembark. You can buy juicy strawberries, cherries, apricots, and nectarines.Although your cruise ship caters well for you, a light tapas or cheese/meat/seafood platter with matching wines is a great way to experience the local cuisine. Your tour guide arranges a picturesque winery garden or a chateau high on a hill with magnificent views for your pleasure.Generally tours are from 4-5 hours but we keep flexibility in schedules for each ship and cater for passengers comfort and requirements.  You travel in comfortable, small personal vehicles of 6 or 11 seats and will return to your ship at least 2 hours prior to your scheduled departure.Before leaving Blenheim you can visit the Makana Boutique Chocolate Confections – a treat not to be missed.For a highlight to end a wonderful day when we arrive back in Picton, why not take advantage of a short 15 minute return drive from the township to the Victoria Domain for high vantage views of Picton Port, Queen Charlotte Sound and your ship.Your chauffeur/guide is a local owner who has great passion for the Marlborough region, and looks forward to sharing it all with you.Worry-free Shore Excursion: We will ensure your excursion ends with ample time for you to return to the Picton port for your ship’s departure.  In the extremely unlikely event your ship has departed, we will arrange for transportation to the next port of call. If your ship is delayed and you are unable to attend to this activity, your money will be refunded. See our terms and conditions for full details.

$96.51 Food, Wine & Nightlife

Picton Shore Excursion : Marlborough Wine Tour

ItineraryThis is a typical itinerary for this productStop At: Picton i-SITE Visitor Information Centre, Picton, Marlborough Region, South IslandMeet your guide at the Picton i-Site after your cruise ship docks.  Then board a luxury minibus and enjoy the drive through the Koromiko mountain pass to the Marlborough wine region while your guide points out ecological and historical places of interest; this small-group tour is limited to 11 people to ensure a more intimate atmosphere.You will visit four or five cellar doors (time permitting) around the Marlborough vineyards. Taste their award winning wines and learn how Marlborough's Sauvignon Blanc has reached the pinnacle of sophistication, then take a stroll through a vineyard and learn how climate, soil, and skill combine to make these incredible wines. Marlborough is not all about Sauvignon Blanc - we have stunning Rieslings, crisp and fruity Pinot Gris, oaked and unoaked Chardonnay and our renown Pinot Noir.A stop will be made for lunch (own expense), featuring delicacies such as mussels, salmon, venison or beef when available. Alternatively, a light meal of gourmet local cheeses to pair with your wine might suffice.On the way back to the port, we stop at the chocolate factory for a nibble of hand-made gourmet chocolates. You will return to the Picton wharf at least 90 minutes before your cruise ship departs.Duration: 5 hours

$82.73 Shore Excursions

Picton Shore Excursion: Marlborough Flyer Train Tour

Departure is from Picton Railway Station, which is conveniently located across the road from the cruise ship shuttle drop off point.The hour-long Steam Train journey takes you up the challenging and steep elevation out of Picton (1-in-37 slope), through the Para Wetlands, across the Wairau River into the Wairau Valley and through a sea of vineyards into Blenheim.Disembark at Blenheim Station and explore Blenheim town centre at your leisure (shops, gourmet cafes and restaurants). Walks along the river are also recommended.The Steam Train will then depart Blenheim for the return journey to Picton where you can spend more time at your leisure until you board the shuttle back to the cruise ship.TOUR DURATION:  The tour duration is tailored for each cruise ship to maximize time spent enjoying Marlborough and to ensure a timeous return to Picton for your cruise ship departure. The WWI Memorial steam locomotive was built in 1915 and later named the “Passchendaele”, in memory of the famous 1917 Battle of Passchendaele. 2017 is the centenary anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele. The Steam Train consists of carriages from the same WW1 period.

$68.25 Water Sports

Half day Guided Sea Kayak Tour from Picton

Upon arrival at your departure location on the Picton Waterfront you will receive a detailed safety briefing before setting off on your half day sea kayak adventure.  You will be guided away from the harbour environs to the truly spectacular western end of the Queen Charlotte Sound where there is less boat traffic and many beautiful bays and coves to explore as well as wildlife to see. Wildlife you may see include sting rays, eagle rays, seabirds, including cormorants, little blue penguins, seals, starfish and sometimes even dolphins.If weather permits, you may also have the chance to kayak from Picton Harbour to maximise your time on the water. Your guide will answer questions, share pearls of wisdom and ensure your comfort and wellbeing. Dependent on the weather, your route may vary to take advantage of sea breezes at the back. There is no set route which means all ability levels are catered for on your tour.Your tour will finish back on the Picton Waterfront.

$71.02 Cruises, Sailing & Water Tours

Queen Charlotte Sound Mail Boat Cruise

Head to the waterfront in Picton to meet the mailboat for your 4-hour tour on Queen Charlotte Sound. Every trip starts along the routes detailed below by day of the week, then wraps up with a 15-minute stop at Ship Cove (1st Oct to 30th April). The visit to Ship Cove gives you a chance to disembark at the inlet where Captain Cook anchored his ship, The Endeavor, in 1770. Explore the beach and see a memorial to Captain Cook, several large Maori statues carved from wood, and informative displays about the island. Birds such as oyster catchers, weka, and paradise ducks can be spotted here as well. On Mondays and Thursdays, start by cruising through Queen Charlotte Sound to Kaipapa, a small cove in Kumototo Bay. Continue into Blackwood Bay to drop off mail, then pass a king salmon fish farm en route to Ruakaka Bay where the boat stops at a local residence. Then deliver mail to the Bay of Many Coves Resort and make a few more mail stops at Arapawa Island before pulling into Ship Cove.On Tuesdays and Fridays, the mail boat heads to Curious Cove and then the Tory Channel, traveling along one side past Te Pangu as far as Whekenui, where the Tory Channel enters Cook Strait. Return along the other side of the channel, making a few mail drops along the way, before heading to Ship Cove. The Wednesday and Saturday mail deliveries stop first near the East Bay King Salmon Farm on Arapawa Island. Then sail to the top of East Bay for a couple of mail drops. On Saturdays, the run goes to Cape Jackson, a community that only receives deliveries once per week due to the distance. On your return, stop at Ship Cove.No matter which day of the week you travel, you'll get a glimpse of daily life in the small outposts that dot the Marlborough Sounds, as well as memorable views of the stunning scenery.During the Winter Months we do not stop at Ship Cove.Please advise us if you have an evening connection or are visiting from a cruise ship Please note: This is a sample itinerary that can change based on what time of the year you visit.

Marlborough & Nelson in detail