Blenheim & Marlborough – ideas for free time

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Most people visit this region to either explore the Marlborough vineyards or the Marlborough Sounds and both can be done at your own pace. Many of the vineyards have open cellar doors and so it is possible to just turn up and enjoy a tasting. However, if you wish to eat at one of the restaurants we do recommend booking in advance.

For spectacular views of the Sounds, make time to explore the Queen Charlotte Drive, a gentle road that runs between Picton and Havelock and be incorporated in to a scenic circular route starting and ending in Blenheim or Picton. Nearby there are a number of easily accessible walking trails, including of course the Queen Charlotte Track, which wind their way through native bush and alongside the glistening turquoise waters. There are also many options for getting out on the water – from guided wildlife viewing trips to self-guided kayaking, with several tour and rental companies based in Picton.

Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre is home to one of the world’s largest collections of WW1 and WW11 artefacts, including many owned by the creator of the Lord of the Rings movies – Sir Peter Jackson. If you are interested in the Great Wars then this informative exhibition is worth a visit. For those more interested in naval history then the Edwin Fox Maritime Museum should be added to your wish list. The ship of the same name is the world’s 9th oldest and the well worn hull is on display at the Picton waterfront where you can learn all about her round the world adventures.

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