Written By: Missy Johnston
There is no reason to wait out the winter months at home when sailing through the stunning Marlborough region of New Zealand is beckoning. Soaking up the warm rays in the country’s sunniest locations. From wine tours to wildlife sanctuaries, there is something for everyone to enjoy on a luxury yacht charter to New Zealand.
After boarding your yacht in Nelson, you may be wondering what to do in Marlborough. This area has many different options for fun, entertainment, and relaxation. The following list of attractions should guarantee that you’ll have an amazing time on your New Zealand private luxury yacht charter.
Spend Time at The Abel Tasman National Park
If you have time to spare in the Nelson-Tasman area before you set off on the rest of your journey, the Abel Tasman National Park should be one of your first stops. It’s the perfect introduction to your New Zealand luxury vacation, with a variety of beautiful coves, waterfalls, and plenty of opportunities to enjoy the warm water.
See Seals and Penguins
Cruise just off the coast of Abel Tasman National Park to Tonga Island to watch seals playing in the surf, or laugh at the penguins waddling back and forth from land to sea. It’s an incredible opportunity to see these creatures living, splashing, and playing in their natural habitats.
Sail To D’Urville Island
Ready to immerse yourself in all of the wilderness and nature New Zealand is famous for? D’Urville Island could be exactly what you’ve been hoping for. This remote island in the Marlborough Sounds only has around 50 permanent residents, so the land and sea are unspoiled slices of paradise.
Take A World-Class Wine Tour
When you think of New Zealand, does wine come to mind? It should. Don’t miss the opportunity to tour and taste your way through one of the best wine countries in the world. Start with the world-renowned Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, and then venture out to try the other varieties. Wine lovers will be pleased to discover that there are more than 150 wineries to choose from in this region alone.
Even if wine isn’t your beverage of choice, don’t despair. There are plenty of local craft beer options to choose from, not to mention an abundance of seafood and other gourmet fare that non-drinkers can enjoy.
Go Bird-Watching at the Kaipupu Point Wildlife Sanctuary
Located near Picton, this wildlife sanctuary is home to some of the most unique plants and animals in New Zealand. The proliferation of rare birds, such as the rowi kiwi and even some penguins, is due in large part to the giant fence that surrounds the area and holds predators at bay. As you walk the 3 km trail through Kaipupu Point Wildlife Sanctuary, look out for dozens of interesting bird species, and keep your camera at the ready.
Splash With the Dolphins, Orcas, And Stingrays
Keep your eyes peeled anytime you’re out in the Marlborough Sounds, because the whole area is ripe for dolphin sightings. You will likely see a variety of species, from bottlenose and dusky dolphins to the rare New Zealand Hector’s Dolphin. Watch them from the comfort of your yacht, or hop in to swim with the dolphins and experience them up close.
Majestic orcas also frequent these waters, as they often venture into the Sounds looking for stingrays. Both orcas and stingrays can be curious creatures, so watch the waters close to your yacht to spot any daring individuals who come in for a closer look which is the safest spot from which to view and enjoy both—you may be surprised how large a stingray can grow to be in the deeper waters of the Sounds.
Take A Scenic Bike Ride on Mountain Paths or Paved Roads
Marlborough’s cycling trails range from beginner-friendly paved roads to advanced mountain biking paths that are not for the faint of heart. Regardless of which you choose, you’ll see some spectacular views. If you’re more in the mood for a leisurely ride than a hair-raising adventure, opt for one of the cycling paths that spans from winery to winery, stopping to sample wines as you go along. Is there a better way to spend an afternoon?
Walk The Stunning Scenic Hiking Trails
If you prefer to walk rather than ride, you can still treat yourself to the incredible views and the joy of exploring Marlborough at your own pace. Do a little bit of research about where you’d like to start and stop before you head out, because most walking paths are dozens of kilometers long. Try the Queen Charlotte Track, The Link Pathway, The Elvy Waterfalls Track, The Nydia Track, or the Wither Hills Farm Park for the most breathtaking scenery.
The Queen Charlotte is one of the most popular options and offers an easier, more beginner-friendly experience than the more rugged and tough Nydia Track. Get a good feel for New Zealand’s landscape in just a few hours of time.
Play Golf or Dine on Fresh Seafood in Blenheim
The town of Blenheim acts as the city center of Marlborough. It has all the local charm and atmosphere you could hope for from a small town, along with some delicious seafood and wine establishments you’d expect from a much larger city.
Once you’ve eaten your fill of the local cuisine, play a few rounds at one of Blenheim’s many gorgeous golf courses or tour the farmer’s markets, hip bars, and art galleries downtown.
Drop Anchor in The Pelorus and Kenepuru Sounds
The Pelorus Sound may be one of your best choices for a day spent sailing around and luxuriating on your yacht. Imagine sitting on your yacht’s deck, sipping a refreshing cocktail, or a lovely local wine, enjoying the stunning scenic backdrop of beaches, coves, and New Zealand bush, all relatively undisturbed by human influence. It’s like immersing yourself in the remote wilderness while still being wrapped in a bubble of luxury.
Pelorus and Kenepuru Sounds are also your best bets for a successful day of fishing. Drop a line into either of these waters and expect to see salmon, blue cod, kingfish, and perhaps even red snapper.
If you prefer to get a little closer to the water, Kenepuru and Pelorus Sounds are also prime spots to set out in a kayak or another smaller vessel. Explore the various coves and beaches at your leisure and get as close as you want to anything that piques your interest.
Visit The Filming Locations of The Lord of The Rings
If you get a sense of deja vu as you tour Marlborough, there is an easy explanation why you may feel as if you’ve seen this place before. Marlborough provided one of the iconic backdrops for the filming of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. The rugged landscape is perfect for exploration on foot, but you can also take horseback tours to experience the region just like many of the characters in the movies.
Hike Or Kayak on The Pelorus River
Your yacht won’t be able to access this beautiful waterway, but the Pelorus River is worth a little time venturing off the beaten path. Lace up your hiking shoes for a pleasant walk along the riverbank to explore the rock formations and waterfalls of the river itself.
In keeping with The Lord of the Rings theme, perhaps you noticed that the Pelorus River was the site where the Hobbits escaped in barrels in The Desolation of Smaug. If your yacht has kayaks, use these to tour this well-known movie location. We can guarantee that a kayak ride will be much more relaxing and enjoyable than careening down the rapid river in barrels like the movie characters.
Visit The Town of Havelock Before You Go
The Pelorus region is near Havelock, the final location on your yacht charter through the Marlborough Sounds. This quaint, picturesque town is a great place to see charming historical buildings and visit a few museums or flea markets. Sample some fresh green-shell mussels if you want an authentic taste by which to remember your luxury travel experience in New Zealand. Consider Havelock your entry point back into civilization after spending a week immersed in the beautiful wilderness of this spectacular country.