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Top Things to do in Marlborough

Marlborough is a truly beautiful region of New Zealand, known for its beautiful sheltered bays and waterways and its vast vineyards. Marlborough is the largest wine growing region in New Zealand, world famous for the production of delicious Sauvignon Blanc.

1. Explore the Marlborough Sounds

Queen Charlotte Track, Malborough. Copyright: Miles Holden
Queen Charlotte Track, Malborough. Copyright: Miles Holden

The beautiful Queen Charlotte, Kenepuru and Pelorus Sounds are home to all kinds of bird and sea life, including terns, shags, blue penguins, dolphins and seals. You can explore them by boat, kayak, or you can hike around the many trails.

The famous Queen Charlotte Track offers 67 kilometres of trail following lush coastal forest, coves, inlets, and skyline ridges. The breathtaking views of the Queen Charlotte and Kenepuru Sounds are world famous.

Guided trout fishing and hunting tours are popular activities - the average brown trout caught here weighs between one to three kilograms, depending on the fishing ground.

2. D'Urville Island

King shags / kawau pateketeke on D'Urville Island. Copyright: Driftwood Eco-Tours
King shags / kawau pateketeke on D'Urville Island. Copyright: Driftwood Eco-Tours

D'Urville Island (Rangitoto ki te Tonga meaning "red heavens look to the south") is the eighth largest island in New Zealand. Nestled in the Marlborough Sounds, the island only has around 50 residents with approximately 6,000ha of public conservation land.

To explore D'Urville Island, join a tour operator on a variety of adventures. Charter a fishing trip and fish for snapper, king fish and groper which are in abundance in the waters around the island. Fishing charters may also include diving or snorkelling activities. Guided eco tours of D'Urville Island are a must do, where you can meet the locals, learn the history of the island, see regenerated forest and encounter wildlife and flora such at flowering Rewarewa, Fluttering Shearwaters, Dolphin and Fernbird. If you have a 4x4 you can join a tag along 4x4 tour and explore the island outback.

For a self-guided tour, the island can be visted by taking the barge or water tax from French Pass Village across to D'Urville Island.

3. Wineries and Wine Tours

Vineyards in Marlborough
Vineyards in Marlborough

As New Zealand's largest grape growing and wine making region, Marlborough has around 65 wineries, with 290 grape growers and some 4,054 hectares in grape production. Most of the wineries provide wine tasting sessions and many have a cafe or restaurant on site.

Sauvignon Blanc is Marlborough's most popularly produced wine, but you can also find Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Cabernet Sauvignon produced here.

Wine trail maps make it easy to find your way around the vineyards, or you can join a Marlbough wine tour.