Blenheim, the commercial hub of the Marlborough region is renowned for its sunshine and vineyards but it has even more to offer. The wine is certainly fantastic but beyond the grape vines there is still plenty of fun to be discovered.
At Blenheim Palms Motel we know this region well and would be delighted to share our local knowledge with you.
You can visit the cellar doors yourself if you wish but a tour is a great way to experience Blenheim's world famous wineries and boutique food producers. They showcase the best the region has to offer and you can relax and indulge yourself without having to worry about the driving.
Go with a group or arrange a private guide for the day. Some tours will take you 'behind the scenes', so you'll get to meet the growers and makers and share their stories as well as sample their delicious products - the award winning wines, the olive oils, the specialty cheeses and handmade chocolates.
With over 100 wineries in the region and a host of artisan food producers, there's something to suit everyone's tastes. Visit well known wineries such as Cloudy Bay, Allan Scott, Hunters, Yealands Estate, Grove Mill, Montana Brancott and many more! Choose a tour to suit your taste buds. Most will pick you up and drop you off directly from your accommodation.
The Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre presents a captivating display of planes and memorabilia from World War 1 in their Knights of the Sky exhibition. It features Sir Peter Jackson’s own collection of WW1 aircraft and artefacts, bringing the dramatic story of the Great War to life in remarkable sets created by WingNut Films and Weta Workshop, New Zealand's Oscar-winning special effects teams.
Highlights of the displays include the world's only Caproni Ca22, an Etrich Taube, and a Morane-Saulinier Type BB. There's also an on-site cafe and souvenir shop.
For those who want to get closer to the action, the Trust that operates the museum also run a vintage joy flights operation at Omaka Airfield. Their Boeing Stearman has three seats so that couples can travel together in the front cockpit. There are a range of different flights available for a spectacular bird’s eye view of the region.
The museum is rated as Marlborough's top attraction on Trip Advisor.
In easy walking distance from central Blenheim is the perfect spot for a family picnic or a relaxing wander after dinner on a summer evening. Pollard Park is Marlborough's secret gem with 24.6 ha of wooded parkland, a meandering stream, fitness trail and golf course.
The beautiful gardens include magnificent large trees (stunning in autumn colours!), rose gardens, a native rockery, rhododendron dell, a scented garden, BBQs and fantastic playgrounds for the kids. We recommend packing a picnic of delicious local goodies and enjoying some leisurely time out in this beautiful area.
For those who enjoy their walks with a golf club in hand, next to the park is a challenging, attractive, tree lined 9-hole course. A fun little course, it will reward the good shots but punish the not so good! It's a friendly club which welcomes visitors for casual play as well as joining in on any competitions on the day.
Blenheim is located in a broad river valley so there's a lot of flat, scenic road cycling to be enjoyed around the vineyards and orchards. For something a little different, hire a tandem and take a self-guided tour around your favourite wineries with your favourite cycle buddy. It's definitely twice the fun!
Cycling in Blenheim with your children is also super enjoyable, particularly on the flatter areas of Blenheim. If you have a Do Little kids bike seat or equivalent then you can have an amazing time on the trails with your child.
If you're keen on hills or heading off road, there are some great biking trails not far from town. The Taylor River Trail is an easy ride from the centre of town alongside the Taylor River and connects with the Wither Hills Farm Park. The 40 hectare mountain bike park offers a range of mountain bike trails right at Blenheim's back door. The Rifle Range is a great option for an easy single track ride that runs along the base of the hills while the Mt Vernon Traverse is a challenging ride over the hills.
Blenheim is the perfect place to base yourself to explore the stunning Marlborough Sounds. These ancient drowned river valleys offer some of the most picturesque landscapes in New Zealand.
Enjoy a fun full dining cruise, or ride on the famous Mail Boat which visits a myriad of bays and homes throughout the Sounds. A favourite trip is the ‘Seafood and Sauvignon’ cruise - enjoy the beautiful coastal views while enjoying green-lipped mussels and Marlborough's world-renowned Sauvignon Blancs.
A cruise out to the Motuara Island Bird Sanctuary is another popular option for those wanting a close encounter with fantastic scenery and wonderful wildlife. You could see playful dolphins, fur seals and numerous seabirds before even landing on Motuara Island. On the island, the blue penguins, saddleback, bellbirds, robins, native pigeons and yellow-crowned parakeets are plentiful, vocal and attract bird lovers from around the world.
It may be worth your while getting in touch with a local rental car company as a means to giving yourself efficient and affordable means of transport in and around Blenheim and the Marlborough Sounds.