Attractions, Activities & Day Itineraries
Picton & the Sounds
Two common comments from guests are that they did not realise how lovely the area is and wished they could stay longer.
The longer guests stay the more they enjoy seeing our part of the "Top of the South".
Regardless of how long you are here we can help you maximise your time in Picton and if requested make local trip bookings on your behalf at no charge.
We have a great range of walks from very short to one of 3 hours plus. Then there is the well known Queen Charlotte Track which is a 4-5 days hike but a section can be walked in a day using local ferry boats for drop off and pick up.
We have a guide map of the tracks. Most are close to our B&B. Bikes can be hired.
The most popular walk is to Bob's Bay which is 70min. return from our B&B. It starts from the end of Shelley Beach, with a gentle gradient till near the end when the track drops down to the bay. You can see inter-island ferries passing below.
There are two particularly attractive walks, which are not well known, through virgin native forest that take you to our water reservoir lakes. Level walking from the car park beside an attractive stream. Both walks are about 80 min. return.
A morning walk is recommended then a magic mail boat afternoon cruise is a must even if you have arrived by ferry from Wellington. Learn about the history of Queen Charlotte Sound , visit Ship Cove which was a favourite anchorage of Captain Cook during his three voyages. See wildlife, penguins and often fur seals or dolphins. Website: www.beachcombercruises.co.nz
Alternatively, a cruise to walk a section of the well known Queen Charlotte track, say from Ship Cove to Endeavour Inlet, with an optional add-on visit to Motuara Island predator free reserve where you can see endangered native birds and nesting dolphins.
For ardent cyclists a section or two, of the track is popular.
If you prefer another type of cruise we recommend the 'Seafood Odyssea' which includes visits to salmon and oyster farms together with seafood and NZ award winning sauvignon blanc wine tastings. A bonus would be seeing visiting dolphins or fur seals. Website: www.marlboroughtourcompany.co.nz
A third option is a cruise with E-Ko Tours. They have a morning Sunshine Tour, an afternoon Wildlife Tour and a Dolphin Swim and View Tour. All are within the sheltered waters of the Marlborough Sounds. They seek out dolphins and often find them. The various species found in our Sounds are - dusky, bottlenose, common, orca and the rare hector. We also have fur seals, penguins, king shags and other seabirds in the Sounds. Website: www.e-ko.nz
Marlborough has NZ's two largest wine regions. A wine tour in the afternoon will take you to a few of our winery cellar doors for tastings. The wine experience concludes with a stop at a boutique chocolate factory before returning to Picton. If you wished to visit a particular winery then we can arrange that for you. There is also a full day tour option with lunch at a winery. Website: www.soundsconnection.com
Unique attractions called "Knights of the Sky" located at the aviation centre near Blenheim is a must see. There are separate exhibition buildings of WW1 and WW2 displays. They include realistic scenes created by famous NZer Sir Peter Jackson who is known as Director of the 'Lord of the Rings' and 'Hobbit' movies. A visit may suit your timetable best if on your way to Picton from the south or heading in that direction. Website: www.omaka.org.nz
An alternative trip would be a short boat ride to Lochmara Lodge on the other side of Queen Charlotte Sound from Picton where there are fascinating bush walks. Enjoy a meal and a glass of wine. View sea life from their underwater 'submarine'. The Lodge has it's own vessel and a schedule which allows you to depart from Picton and return at times to suit most visitors.
No problem. There are many other options including a visit to the Nelson region.
Part or half days
If time is limited then a 15 min. drive from Picton to visit Karaka Point is well worthwhile. It is the site of where a Maori Pa fortification was located many years ago. A 10 min. walk from the car park takes you to the promontory where views are to be had up and down Queen Charlotte Sound.
Visiting our retail shops is also recommended. Those that sell souvenirs offer unique items at reasonable prices. Our lovely foreshore is a must see. We also have some interesting museums. A pleasant walk around the inner harbour to Shelley Beach is also recommended. Afterwards relax and enjoy a coffee at one of our cafes or restaurants.
If wishing to see some of our countryside then a drive to Havelock, 40min. away, by way of the Queen Charlotte Sound road is well worthwhile. Lunch overlooking the Marina then return to Picton by the inland road, again only 40 min. drive time. If you have an extra hour available we suggest you drive a bit further on from Havelock to the Pelorus native bush reserve where the filming of the barrel scene in the Hobbit movie took place on the river.