Located at the head of Queen Charlotte Sound, Picton is your gateway to the South Island's famed Marlborough District. Once known primarily for its lush farm lands and many sheep stations, Marlborough came to international attention thanks to a new agricultural product - wine. The release of the 1985 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc put New Zealand on the map and changed the world's focus on winemaking in the Southern Hemisphere. Today, the Marlborough region boasts dramatic sea and landscapes, fascinating wine country, excellent restaurants and a number of the nation's finest gardens.
Military names abound in this corner of New Zealand - the region is named for the first Duke of Marlborough, while the largest town, Blenheim, is named after his most famous battle. Picton is named for Sir Thomas Picton, a favorite of another general, the first duke of Wellington.
Marlborough wines put New Zealand on the viticultural map.
Queen Charlotte Sound
The sound's colors range from turquoise to emerald - attract seals, sea birds and dolphins including common, bottlenose and Hector's dolphins.
The lodge is home to a Wildlife Recovery Center and an Arts Center with galleries and a sculpture trail.
Omaka Aviation Heritage Center
Home to one of the largest private collections of World War I aircraft in the world.
One of the two major arms of the Marlborough Sounds. In keeping with the area's penchant for place names honoring military heroes, Havelock is named after Sir Henry Havelock, hero of the Indian Mutiny.
This boutique confectioner has garnered international attention for its classic chocolate truffles and macadamia nut candies.
The intricate waterways of the Marlborough Sounds make up a fifth of the New Zealand coastline, making it a perfect spot for exploring by kayak. The spectacular Queen Charlotte Track is one of the most popular walks in New Zealand.
Special Child Pricing Available! Children age 12 and younger, savings up to 50%.
Scenic Cruising on Queen Charlotte Sounds
2.5 hours | Picton | PCN-245
Queen Charlotte Sound
View the dramatic seascapes of Queen Charlotte Sound from the deck of a sightseeing cruise. Your catamaran features both open and enclosed decks for your viewing enjoyment. Feed the pet fish at Double Cove, and sip coffee as you take in this stunning meeting of sky, land and sea.
A two-mile walking tour is the perfect way to get to know charming Picton. Your guide will take you along the waterfront, marina and shoreline to learn the history and biodiversity of the area. Pass over the "Coat-hanger Bridge" and up to a lookout (a 10-minute steady incline). Conclude with refreshments.
A lovely narrated motorcoach tour takes in all the best of Picton and its environs. Travel through the township of Blenheim and out into the Marlborough wine region. Enjoy a little souvenir shopping, stop for photographs, and at the Makana boutique chocolate factory, watch as divine chocolates are handmade, before tasting the finished product.
Located on a peninsula, the Kaipupu Point Mainland Wildlife Sanctuary has a flourishing wildlife population, protected by a predator-proof fence. Set off on a guided two-mile walk along an undulating track to appreciate the beauty of the land and to hear and see a fantastic array of native birds.
Active travelers will relish an invigorating walk in the natural New Zealand landscape. Begin with a cruise in the waters of Queen Charlotte Sound to Mistletoe Bay. Then, embark on a 90-minute guided walk on the Peninsula Loop Trail offering splendid views of lush coastal forest and both Mistletoe and Waterfall Bay.
Tempt your taste buds with the sublime flavors of Marlborough's famed wines and delicious chocolates. Journey through the picturesque countryside favored by artists for its rich colors and contours. Your tour includes a winery visit and tasting and a stop at the Makana boutique chocolate factory to watch the creation of tantalizing chocolate confections.
Knights of the Sky: The Omaka Aviation Heritage Museum
3.5 hours | Picton | PCN-220
Omaka Aviation Heritage Center
Explore the Omaka Aviation Heritage Center, home to a collection of World War I aircraft, an intriguing blend of faithful replicas and authentic aircraft. Board the miniature railway and enjoy a ride along the banks of the Taylor River. Leaving Omaka, watch chocolates being handmade and savor some samples at the Makana Chocolate Factory.
All aboard! Join us on the majestic Marlborough Flyer, a steam train ride from a bygone era. The WWI memorial steam locomotive was built in 1915. The 50-minute journey from Picton to Blenheim includes the climb on the fourth steepest rail in New Zealand and free time to explore charming Blenheim.
Marlborough wines put New Zealand on the viticultural map. Today, the region produces 79 percent of all New Zealand wines. Journey to Blenheim in the heart of wine country, traveling through the picturesque countryside favored by artists for its rich colors and contours, and stop at three premium wine estates for tastings.
Travel off the beaten track in a private, minicoach to explore areas steeped in natural beauty and historic significance. The winding Port Underwood road rewards with coastal views and provides a glimpse of how the New Zealand countryside looked a generation ago. Stop for refreshments at a farmlet in Oyster Bay. Conclude with shopping in Picton.
Discover the warmth of Maori hospitality at the Omaka Marae, a cultural meeting place of local Maori. Interact with these friendly people and learn their 800 years of history and tradition. Then, stop at Vines Village, in the heart of the Marlborough wine country. Visit the wine cellar, café and six artisan boutiques.
Enjoy a tranquil and eco-friendly mode of transportation when you see the beauty of Queen Charlotte Sound from the seat of a kayak on a two-hour paddle. The forested shore is dotted with coves, bays and beaches, while the cold, nutrient rich waters of the sound are home to seals, dolphins and penguins.
Pedal along a four-mile gentle cycling route flanked by lush vineyards and idyllic scenery on a bike tour of Vines Village in the heart of the world-renowned Marlborough wine region. Stop at several cellar doors and learn about the vineyards and some of the most popular varietals grown here. Suitable for all fitness levels. Lunch included.
Delight in two "Gardens of National Significance" on a fun and floral full-day experience. Stroll the gardens at Upton Oaks, the English-inspired garden of Dave and Sue Monahan, developed around a restored 1911 South Pacific villa house. Visit Winterhome, a working sheep farm, complete with a stunning 10-acre formal garden. Enjoy lunch at The Store, a coastal dining venue.
Enjoy this rare opportunity to visit one of New Zealand's pioneering sheep farming districts and meet a farming family at their woolshed. Head into the picturesque high country, take in the impressive views from Mt. Tapuaenuku, savor lunch in a historic Marlborough homestead, and enjoy a tasting at Yealands Estate Winery.