Marlborough & Kaikoura Holidays

South Island’s region for walking, wine tasting and whale watching.

The north-eastern region of South Island is home to Marlborough, a region famous for outstanding wines and its spectacularly scenic Sounds. Start your journey in the harbour town of Picton, where the ferries from North Island dock.

The Marlborough Sounds are a great introduction to South Island’s outstanding scenery with coastal inlets surrounded by forested hills that can be explored by boat and kayak. There are some wonderful cycle and hiking routes here too, some of which can take up to five days to complete. The town of Blenheim is gateway to one of the world’s best wine regions, the Marlborough. Sauvignon Blanc is produced here some of which is exported internationally, although it is worth tastings at some of the smaller boutique wineries. Take the very scenic drive from Picton to the coastal town of Kaikōura where you can go in search of New Zealand’s marine life including whales and dolphins.

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Marlborough & Kaikoura Hotels

Our recommendations for the best places to stay in Marlborough & Kaikoura

Bay of Many Coves Resort

Set in a secluded bay in the Marlborough Sounds, this welcoming lodge offers relaxation and fanta...

Chateau Marlborough

Five star luxury at the top of the South Island

Hapuku Lodge, Kaikoura

A luxury eco-friendly lodge with treehouse rooms and magnificent views over the Kaikoura Seaward...

The Lemon Tree Lodge, Kaikoura

A boutique lodge imbued with Swiss charm

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Get to know Marlborough & Kaikōura and those important practicalities when planning your perfect holiday.


GMT +12 (with New Zealand Daylight Time and New Zealand Standard Time applied, this largely equates to 11 hours ahead of the UK from early April to late September and 13 hours ahead from late September to late March)


New Zealand dollar


25½ hours (not including stopover time)


New Zealand has no state religion but the majority of people are Christian


Māori and English

Where are Marlborough & Kaikōura?
Marlborough is located in the northeast corner of New Zealand’s South Island. The coastal town of Kaikōura lies further south along the east coast, nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Kaikōura Ranges.

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Gateway to the south
The seaport of Picton is gateway to the South Island and home to sheltered, drowned valleys of the Marlborough Sounds, picturesque vineyards, outdoor adventures and wildlife encounters. The ferries arrive here from North Island, a journey of 3.5 hours through the Cook Strait. It’s worth browsing the quaint harbour at Picton, lined with cafés, restaurants, galleries and shops.

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World-famous vineyards
The Marlborough region has the perfect climate for wine production. Blenheim is the main town in the region and a good base from which to explore the cellar doors of the Awatere and Wairau valleys. The best way to visit the vineyards and enjoy a tasting or two, is on a guided tour from Blenheim with 30 wineries within easy reach. The wines produced here are world-class – particularly the Sauvignon Blancs from the cellar doors of Cloudy Bay, Villa Maria and Ned.

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Marlborough Sounds
Queen Charlotte, Kenepuru, Pelorus and Mahau make up the Marlborough Sounds. Head to this extensive network of peninsulas, islands and coastal waterways to enjoy breathtaking views over the sea, set against a mountain backdrop. There is plenty to do here including kayaking, fishing, diving and wildlife viewing – you may even be lucky enough to spot dolphins. The Queen Charlotte Track is a wonderful trail attracting hikers and cyclists. It connects Kenepuru and Queen Charlotte Sounds on a 45-mile path. A good level of fitness is required, but the rewards are worth it with spectacular mountain and coastal views throughout.

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Seaside town & wildlife watching
The two-hour drive south from Picton to the coastal town of Kaikōura is spectacular with towering mountains on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other. It’s worth stopping in Kaikōura for a night or two before travelling onto Christchurch that lies three-hours to the south. Kaikōura is famed for its wildlife experiences, in particular whale watching. Boat trips and scenic flights go out in search of albatross, dusky dolphins, seals and sperm whales. If you enjoy seafood, then this is one of the best places to try crayfish – in Maori, Kaikōura means food (kai) crayfish (kōura).

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Marlborough & Kaikoura Weather

Dec - Apr


Marlborough & Kaikoura Weather by Month