Brilliant Marlborough

AD – Destination Marlborough invited us to visit their beautiful region to share all the brilliant activities and adventures on offer with our followers.

For more ideas on exploring Brilliant Marlborough check out Marlborough NZ.

New Zealand is full of amazing hidden gems, and Marlborough certainly stands out as one of the most beautiful places we have had the privilege of visiting.

We flew into Blenheim (Waiharakeke) and were totally astounded at how underrated this little town is, with a population of less than 30,000 people, it is a hive of activity, densely populated with amazing vineyards and gorgeous little bars and restaurants.

We checked into the beautiful Vintners Retreat which is about 10 minutes out of Blenheim, close to Wairau River vineyard and Explore Marlborough bike tours. It is located right on a vineyard, so the views over the vines to the mountains were just incredible.

Vintners retreat has 12 beautiful villas in a private and quiet location, which was perfect for Frankie to ride his bike and scooter with out any worries of cars. The facilities included a heated pool, tennis court, boules and a playground.

We stayed in a two bedroom villa which included a spa bath (perfect for toddlers or a romantic weekend away!), and had a huge lounge and dining area as well as a gorgeous outdoor courtyard which was literally sitting amongst the vines.


We had a beautiful platter delivered from Relish and Rhubarb to enjoy with our beautiful Wairau River rose which we picked up from the cellar door over the road.

@WirauRiverWines @RelishnRhubarb

The villas are only 25 minutes from Picton, where we departed for the Marlborough Sounds. Easy as!

On the first night we had dinner at Scotch Wine Bar in the town centre which proudly boasts a cuisine 1-hat recognition, which gave us the perfect introduction to the amazing cuisine and wine from the region.

Scotch Wine Bar

Located right in the middle of Blenheim, Scotch offers the town’s widest range of wines (local, national, and international), craft beer, cocktails and spirits, along with fun, fresh seasonal food. Scotch is both a wine bar and wine shop. If you want dinner or just aglass of wine, we have got you covered. Their wine shop features more than 300 different wines all held in a temperature-controlled and humidified cellar.

On day two we headed to Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre for a guided tour

Located at Marlborough’s historically significant Omaka Aerodrome, the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre was established to provide a world-class destination for the appreciation of historic aircraft and the stories of the men and women behind the machines. The museum currently comprises of two exhibitions the first being the Knights of the Sky, featuring film maker Sir Peter Jackson’s own collection of WW1 aircraft and artifacts.

We followed that up with an awesome wine tour by bike with Explore Marlborough

We collected our bikes at The Vines Village (great big pirate ship for Frankie to play on) and the Gin room is located at vines village right next door.

This bike tour is self-guided, so you can stop in at any winery you wish however we chose Wairau, Framinghams and Forrest Estate. It was actually so much fun biking through the Marlborough wine region with Frankie in his little bike cart trailing behind daddy 🙂


Bike to Wairau River for lunch at 12pm (Jacksons Road, RD3, Blenheim) and enjoyed a sumptios lunch with paired wines in the beautiful gardens where Frankie and Daddy played and I enjoyed my gorgeous riesling in peace.

After the lunch and the tour around the other vineyards, we had Dinner at Gramados. What an incredible place this is – the service from the good looking owner was what made it! Frankie was treated like a prince and even got to make his own Ice Cream sunday.

Inspired by a small town in southern Brazil, Gramado’s is renowned for its authentic cuisine. Come into a cosy, warm place for dinner or drinks and enjoy the home-style atmosphere.


The next morning we headed off to Picton to enjoy a cruise with Beachcomber Cruises through the Marlborough Sounds.

We headed out to Motuara Island and walked up the hill to the top, looking out for penguin, and Robins amongst other native wildlife.


Beachcomber dropped us off at Bay of Many Coves for our night’s stay.

The Bay of Many Coves is a luxury 5-star boutique resort on the water’s edge in the Marlborough Sound has not only been awarded ‘Small Luxury Hotels of the world” at the Asia and Australasia Awards by Luxury Travel Guide but has also won ‘Australasia’s Best Relaxation Retreat’ at the World Boutique Hotel Awards held in London.


It is absolutely stunning and we certainly felt a million miles from anywhere. It was super peaceful and relaxing. We walked up the back to a nearby waterfall (easy walk for us and Frankie), and spent some time in the Pool and Spa overlooking the water.

We ordered canapes up to our room and sat out on the deck enjoying time as a family with a delicious glass of local wine (or two)…

One night certainly wasn’t long enough at this outstanding property, however we were whisked away by the amazing Mark from Sounds Connection for your half day fishing charter.

Now this was not something we would ever have done in a million years. We are not fishing people and it sounds cold….but we all had the best time! It was super fun and very successful. In fact, it was a highlight for Nona!

Sounds Connection is a leading provider of quality tours in Marlborough, New Zealand. Now operating for over 25 years, Sounds Connection was established by Mark and Maria Baxter in 1993 and remains a family-owned business based in the heart of Marlborough. Their experienced, local tour guides have a passion for what the Marlborough region has to offer, and they love sharing their little slice of paradise with you.


Sounds Connection then dropped us off at the amazing Punga Cove Resort for our night’s stay. From the moment we arrived we felt like we were on holiday mode.

There were lots of people floating around having drinks after walked the Queen Charlotte track and the atmosphere was buzzing. We quickly unpacked and headed down to the waterfront where Mark went for a kayak around the Sound and we enjoyed a Aperol Spritz by the water before having an amazing dinner with outstanding service in the main restaurant.

Set amongst stunning scenery in the magnificent Marlborough Sounds, Punga Cove is the perfect retreat, surrounded by nature. Getting to Punga Cove is easy – by boat from Picton, by foot or bike on the Queen Charlotte Track, or by scenic drive. And, once you are here you can choose to relax and enjoy the many views or enjoy the wide range of land and water-based activities on offer, including walking, biking, swimming, kayaking and paddle boarding.


Dinner at the Punga Fern Restaurant and Bar

We were collected by water taxi from Punga Cove and parted ways with Nona and Poppa who headed to Havelock where they boarded the Pelorus Mail Boat and did the Pelorus Mail Boat day cruise in the Sounds.

The Mail Boat Cruise includes stunning scenery, spectacular wildlife, and an adventure you will never forget. Discover hidden bays and coves – that most tourists never see. Learn the fascinating history of the characters who live tucked away from the world See local wildlife up close and personal, and learn about rare species that call the Marlborough Sounds home


We jumped on another boat and spent the day at the awesome Lochmara Lodge feeding Stingray, and viewing the under water aquarium where the family who own the property, have created an artificial reef to bring back new sea life.

We spent the day on the beach kayaking, making sand castles and enjoying a cider in the sun on what was an outstanding day.

Lochmara is only 15 minutes from Picton so it is actually the perfect day trip for kids, with plenty to do and lots to see.

We then headed back into Picton where we stayed in the beautiful waterfront apartments and explored Picton which has an amazing kids playground on the waterfront as well as a mini golf and carousel ride.

Marlborough really was BRILLIANT with so much to see and do. We can’t wait to head back and explore other parts of the region and highly encourage others to do the same.

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