Blenheim is situated on the fertile Wairau Plains in the Marlborough district, at the top of the South Island of New Zealand. Marlborough’s varied attractions include its wine industry, the waterways of the Marlborough Sounds, gourmet foods, adventure activities, museums and heritage centres, relaxing recreational opportunities and so much more.
Blenheim is high on sunshine hours and low on rainfall. Take a stroll in nearby Seymour Square with its well-tended flowerbeds and memorial clock tower. Or wander through the Square in the evening to see the illuminated fountain. Take time for a walk through the lovely gardens in Pollard Park. Enjoy the walks along the banks of the Taylor River or catch the Delta Queen paddle steamer for a journey on the river. The city of 29,000 citizens was claimed piece by piece from the Wairau Plains. Wander the nearby city centre with its quirky lanes and sunny places and sample the cafes and bars on foot. On Sunday visit the Sunday Farmers Market for a cross-section of local produce.
On the outskirts take a drive to the Riverlands Cob Cottage furnished in pioneer style and the Brayshaw Museum Park with its reconstructed colonial village and wine museum. The Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre is an experience like no other. See the evolution of aircraft during WW1 and view parts of the Red Baron’s plane. Walk or cycle on the many kilometres of dedicated tracks. Take a hike or bike in the Wither Hills Farm Park for stunning panoramic views over the city and plains.
The Wairau River which rises over 100 kms away in the western ranges is the life blood of the prosperous wine industry. Take a wine trail and sample some of the regions famous varieties and enjoy the vineyard restaurants. For a relaxing day arrange for a tour of the wineries. The swift upper reaches are ideal for kayaking while Mt Richmond Forest Park lying north of the river is a popular hiking area. Trout fishing is popular on the river and good catches of brown and rainbow trout can be made quite close to Blenheim.
Blenheim is a gateway to the Marlborough Sounds. It is 25 minutes drive on SH1 to Picton on Queen Charlotte Sound. It is 55 minutes drive on SH6 to Havelock on Pelorous Sound. Both offer day boat trips on the Sounds and access to walking tracks including the famous Queen Charlotte Walk. The scenic Queen Charlotte Drive links Picton and Havelock providing spectacular vistas of the Sounds on the drive through native forest.
Blenheim is the centre of the Marlborough region. To the south are the vineyards of the Awatere Valley and access inland to the iconic Molesworth Farm Station. The vivid colours of the Grassmere salt works are a feature on State Highway 1. The coast near Blenheim has rugged beaches and windswept Cape Campbell with its historic lighthouse. Only 25 minutes from Blenheim is native-bush fringed Whites Bay where the first interisland telegraph cable came ashore. This sheltered sandy safe-swimming beach is one of Blenheim’s surprising secrets.
There is a lot to see and do in Blenheim and Marlborough. We’ve mentioned lots above but there is more. Browse our Links page and find the ones that appeal to you. We enjoy helping you make the most of your time in the area. Let us know what you’re interested in and we’ll suggest places to visit. We don’t get any commissions on any tours we tell you about. We want you to enjoy your stay with us and want you to go on your way enthusiastic about your expeiences in Blenheim and Marlborough. Maybe you’ll even come back one day to see more.