Photo of Marlborough

About Marlborough

Marlborough is probably most familiar to drinkers of crisp Sauvignon Blanc or smooth Pinot Noirs, but it’s not only world class vineyards you’ll find here, this is also where you’ll find the spectacular fjord-like region of the Marlborough Sounds, and Kaikoura, known for whale and dolphin watching cruises. The best places to stay in Marlborough range from tranquil lodges among the vines to resorts perched right on the edge of the Sounds. Wherever you stay this is a wonderful region to explore.

The Marlborough Sounds were once deep valleys flooded after the last ice age, which is why their shorelines are so dramatically jagged and interspersed with beaches, inlets, headlands and peaks.

Picton is thought of by many as the gateway to the South Island and is the best place to land if you want to explore the Marlborough Sounds or walk the Queen Charlotte Track. In summer the ferries are very busy and this is a lively little centre with plenty to do if you have a few more days to spare on either side of your walk or cruise, including a maritime museum and an aquarium.

If you’re travelling to Marlborough to explore the wine region you’ll probably stay near, or at least pass through, Blenheim. Not far from Picton, around 29kms south, it sits between several hills and ranges. As well as being in the heart of wine country, and home of the Cloudy Bay, Saint Clair and Clos Henri estates and cellar doors, Blenheim has several museums and an art gallery.

What Not To Miss

  • Culture vultures should head to the Edwin Fox Maritime Museum, home to a fascinating 161-year old ship with a rich history; from transporting convicts to Australia, to shipping troops off to the Crimean War.
  • Or, there's the Omaka Aviation centre which houses Peter Jackson's own personal collection of WWI aircraft as well as a number of other historical aviation artefacts.
  • Head off hiking for an afternoon through the beautifully scenic Queen Charlotte Track - make sure you remember your camera!
  • Pass by the Saint Clair Family Estate Vineyard Kitchen to enjoy a tasting session of their various wines accompanied with gorgeous cuisine.

The whole region is an extremely popular destination year round. So if you're looking to book one of the best places to stay in Marlborough don't leave it till the last minute - you might be disappointed!

The Best Places to Stay in Marlborough

For something special

  • The Bay of Many Coves Resort is a private, tranquil ecolodge with eleven rooms and apartments. Some rooms have huge decks or floor to ceiling windows, to take advantage of the fantastic views over the bay. There’s also a private jetty, fine dining restaurant and an outdoor pool and hot tub.

Getting away from it all

  • The wonderfully named No Road Inn actually has no road in, you can only reach the four room lodge by water taxi or by foot - this lodge makes a wonderful first night’s stay for walkers on the Queen Charlotte Track. Rooms are light and airy with private outdoor decks and an outdoor hot tub, a native forest garden and good little restaurant.
  • The Antares Homestay has two self contained ‘cottages’, both with a kitchen, living room and two bedrooms. You’re right in the heart of Marlborough wine country, close to the Wairau River, which is a great spot for fishing or birdwatching.
  • Pine Hill Lodge has two beautiful, boutique style rooms and an outdoor hot tub with views out onto the lodge’s orchards, olive groves and walnut trees. You are close to the Tasman Great Taste Trail, so is a great spot for foodies.
  • Old Saint Mary's Convent offers five tastefully decorated suites with modern amenities and stained glass windows. The property is set in 60 aces of gardens where there is an outdoor pool - a peaceful retreat.
  • The 3-room Sennen House, set in an historic 19th century homestead, offers traditional accommodation with four posters and elegant furnishings. Wander around the lovely gardens, stroll through the National Trust protected forest or spend your days whale watching!

For great value

  • The Portage Resort offers a range of accommodation to suit a range of budgets, including several options less than £100 per night. Rooms are modern and light, some with private balconies and the whole resort has spectacular views to Kenepuru Sound. There’s also an outdoor pool and gardens and a seafood restaurant.
  • Chateau Marlborough boasts chic contemporary accommodation in the heart of Blenheim, with rooms starting from just £89 per night! Self-catering suites are also available, plus there's an outdoor pool and a lovely restaurant.
  • Located in Blenheim Town, Botanica B&B boasts two simple but comfortable suites and an award-winning garden. Enjoy an organic breakfast to set you up for the day.
  • Raetihi Lodge is an upmarket stay on Kenepuru Sound. Offering smart contemporary rooms with gorgeous views, there's also a waterfront restaurant and free fishing rods available to use.

For boutique chic

  • The two room Marlborough B&B is a charming little B&B right in amongst wine country, which also has a self catering cottage. The house and cottage are set on seven acres, which support a walnut grove, a few cattle and some free range chicken. Peaceful and perfect for birdwatchers.
  • Just outside Picton, convenient for the Queen Charlotte Track and the Marlborough Sounds, McCormick House is a charming, six room B&B set amongst lush grounds. Individually designed rooms feature luxurious linens and handcrafted furniture.
  • Escape to Picton is a lively three room boutique hotel right on Picton’s waterfront. Rooms are neutrally decorated, but romantic, with nice features like wooden floors and freestanding baths. There’s also an excellent seafood restaurant.
  • Antria Boutique Lodge offers two colourful, quirky suites with plenty of contemporary art on the walls. A relaxing and unfussy break.
  • Located in central Blenheim, Hotel D'Urville is a unique Art Deco spot featuring 1920s style interiors. With a variety of individually decorated rooms, some colourful and some classical, as well as a splendid restaurant and bar, it's a wonderful choice.

For relaxation

  • Vintners Retreat offers luxurious cottage accommodation in amongst the Marlborough vines. Each cottage has its own kitchen, laundry, living room, patio and BBQ. There’s also a swimming pool and tennis courts on site.
  • Lake Timara Lodge is a luxurious lodge with an English country house feel. There are just four rooms, decorated with antiques and bright wallpaper, plus a pool, tennis court, excellent wine cellar and five acres of beautiful, fragrant gardens.

For An Apartment or Villa

If you'd prefer the privacy of a self-catering option then browse through the wide variety available online with our partner

Travel Information

  • Marborough's nicest weather-wise in the summer, from December to March, with the average daily temperature rising to 17°C in February.
  • This however is peak season, so for potentially quieter alternatives consider coming in November or April.
  • Visitors can fly into Marlborough Airport or Picton Airport, both of which are served by flights to Wellington, with the former also taking travellers to and from Christchurch as well as Auckland.
  • From the airport, you can take the bus towards your final destination.
  • For car hire prices, we recommend you visit our online partner Rentalcars.

Still not sure?

Best Hotels in Marlborough