Located in the heart of Marlborough wine country, Blenheim is known as a hub for wine tourism.
With more than 50 wineries located along the town’s edges and many more within a short driving distance, it’s hard to imagine visiting here and not imbibing.
The region is also famous for the annual Marlborough Wine and Food Festival, held in February each year at the Brancott Estate.
However wine tasting and tours aren’t the only attraction in Blenheim, there are lots of other fun activities to occupy your time while visiting.
Where to Stay
Sunny Blenheim is a great place to base yourself to explore the Marlborough region.
Stay at Blenheim TOP 10 and introduce yourselves to friendly hosts Arnold and Chile Kremer. Hire bikes from the park to explore the town, or do your very own winery tour, equipped with your phone’s GPS, a local map and winery guide.
Cycle through the quiet countryside and explore the vast array of wineries in the district. There are plenty of wineries within 10 km of Blenheim and the roads are flat, so you don’t need to be a trained cyclist to enjoy yourself. Choose a sunny day and head out with friends, as a group or solo, either way you are guaranteed to have plenty of fun.
Your other TOP 10 option in the region is Picton TOP 10 Holiday Park, located at the head of Queen Charlotte Sound, which gives you access to the Marlborough region as well as the beautiful Marlborough Sounds, and of course the Cook Strait Ferry terminal for travelers heading to the North Island.
1. The River Queen Riverboat cruises
Iconic to Blenheim, the River Queen is a family owned and operated river boat that travels up and down the Opawa River. Relax on the purpose built boat as you wine and dine while enjoying the peaceful journey along the most scenic sections of the river. Even when the River Queen isn’t traveling, you can pop in while she’s moored at the dock for coffee and light refreshments.
2. Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre
Peter Jackson, Wingnut Films and Weta Workshop came together to produce this amazing attraction which is also filled with rare and unique memorabilia and dramatic depictions of past war-time events. The showmanship and quality of the exhibitions at Omaka is enough to captivate any visitor and incite an interest in aviation. This is a definite must-do!
3. The Millennium Art Gallery
Located right in the centre of Blenheim, the Millennium Art Gallery is filled with stunning art ranging from photography and paintings to sculptures and crafts. The Millennium Art Gallery is dedicated to hosting and promoting locally produced exhibitions, making this the perfect stop for anyone who wants to see the direct result of the area’s scenery on the artistic imagination.
4. Blenheim Dive Centre
Sure, the town itself is landlocked, but that’s not say you can’t organise a great diving trip from Blenheim. For scuba diving, free-diving or spearfishing, pop into the Blenheim Dive Centre. Operating for over two decades, the crew cater for experienced divers as well as first-timers. With a variety of dive options, including the famous ‘Koi’ dive you’ll find a great dive to suit you. One of the most popular options is the ‘Twin Wrecks’ dive, which will take you to see the Koi—a sunken 84ft steamer that once plied the waters of the Nelson region during the early 1900’s.
5. Makana Confections
Wine isn’t the only indulgence in the region. To satisfy your sweet tooth, pay a visit to Makana Confections. This company produces fine, gourmet chocolates and candies. From Marlborough Pinot Noir Truffles to chocolate dipped apricots, you’ll find some great treats to share (or not).
6. Delights for Connoisseurs of Caffeine and Gourmet Foods
Hunters Garden Cafe is nestled in a picturesque garden setting at the famous Hunters Winery, allowing diners to enjoy an alfresco meal with a glass or two of Hunters’ best.
The Fix Cafe in Market Street is regarded to have the best coffee in Blenheim as well as great food for a light lunch or anytime break.
Figaro’s is another great place for coffee, with the added bonus of a great little tapas menu for Friday nights. Figaros are licensed, so you can choose from a selection of beers and great Marlborough wines to have with your meal.
If you are in Blenheim over a weekend, one of the best ways to sample all of the local gourmet delights is a visit to the Marlborough Farmers Market on a Sunday morning. Stallholders sell everything from oysters to empanadas, locally grown pinenuts to Riverina almonds and figs.
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