Picton Rental Car Travel Itinerary
As the ferry pulls in at the picture-postcard town of Picton, visitors are overloaded with a great range of adventure and water-based activities. Whether you are sticking around for a bit or just passing through you will find sailing, cruising, hiking, mountain biking, fishing and kayaking are just some of the activities on offer.
Not sure how to choose? We have put together this handy guide to seven days in Picton and its beautiful surrounds.
Spend the morning exploring the streets of Picton and get a feel for the place.
- The Edwin Fox Maritime Museum is definitely worth a look. See the world’s ninth oldest ship, learn about its colourful history as a 19th-century former convict and cargo ship. Explore the ships depths and spot some of the relics found on board while discovering the interesting stories of the people whose lives were intertwined with its historic journeys.
- Grab a leisurely lunch on the waterfront at the Seabreeze Café, or head down High Street for your choice of cafes and restaurants.
- After lunch take a walk along the waterfront back towards the ship to visit the EcoWorld Aquarium. The Aquarium is a shelter that rehabilitates native animals such as reptiles, giant Weta and blue penguins. Go big and get the ‘Behind The Scenes Tour’ admission – it’s well worth it!
Time for some exercise – and some views!
- Heading out on the water, Kaipupu Point is the destination for the morning. Grab a Water Taxi at the Picton Waterfront Wharf and make your way over to the Kaipupu Point Mainland Sanctuary. Roughly 15 minutes by boat the sanctuary is home to some stunning New Zealand native birds and wildlife as well as a “creche site” for the rare Rowi Kiwi.
- Explore the Island’s 2.7 km circular bush track and keep an eye out for Korimako, Kereru, Tui, Kakaruwai and even the rare Little Blue Penguin. Bring along a picnic lunch or snacks and watch the boats go by in the Harbour.
- Want to make it a bit more challenging? Hire a Kayak and make your own way across to the Island.
Grab your sun glasses, and your sun hat, its out on the water we go.
- Today we are out on the water in search of dolphins, fur seals and seabirds! Local business E-Ko Tours run cruises out through the Marlborough Sounds to various points of interest including Motuara Island, the Tory Channel entrance in the Cook Strait and Ship Cove.
- Enjoy traveling through the picturesque Queen Charlotte Sound encountering a variety of wonderful wildlife along the way – there is even the chance to spot some migrating whales between the months of May and August.
- Tours range from around 2 to 4 hours and sometimes special offers are available so check out the website before you arrive and book ahead to avoid disappointment.
A mini road trip is in store for today so grab a coffee and let’s hit the road.
- For stunning views over the sounds and native bushland, take Queen Charlotte Drive through to Havelock. Although only about 40 minutes’ drive, this is one of the most scenic drives you will encounter, leave extra time for stops along the way.
- Whenuanui Bay, Ngakuta Bay, Momorangi Bay and Okiwa Bay are worth a look along with the Cullens Point lookout – the views out across the Sounds are simply stunning. Take along a picnic lunch and find your favourite Bay to enjoy the sunshine, fresh air and beautiful surroundings.
Heading south out of Picton today we hit the road to taste the fabulous wines of the region.
- Taking the road south towards Blenheim, this is the heart of the Marlborough wine region. Explore the vineyards and sample their floral Sauvignon Blanc, sparkling Chardonnay, complex Pinot Noir and many more. Just make sure you have a sober driver with you if you plan on sampling the wines!
- When you find yourself feeling a bit peckish the Brancott Estate Cellar Door & Restaurant is a great place for a fresh seasonal lunch prepared from the finest local produce. Save some room for their delicious Sticky Date Pudding or homemade fudge for afters.
- Almost all of the vineyards you will come across in Blenheim provide taster samples for you to try, along with cellar door sales. Many have gardens and restaurants for you to enjoy a meal – paired with their very own perfectly matched wines of course!
Taking in a bit of Blenheim…
- For those interested in history, the Blenheim’s Riverlands Cob Cottage and the Brayshaw Heritage Park all offer an interesting visit with a historic twist. Or head out to the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre for the chance to take a flight in a US Army Boeing Stearman or a Russian Yak 3 Fighter.
- Need to stretch your legs and get some fresh air? The Wither Hills Farm Park offers a great range of walking and mountain biking tracks with options for all fitness levels. Set on a working sheep and cattle farm, Wither Hills Farm Park is the perfect place to have a picnic lunch while enjoying the fantastic views.
- Choose from a range of short and long walks, over grassy hillsides and valleys. See some of New Zealand’s famous sheep wandering past while grazing the hills, take your time and make the most of the outdoors.
Following the scenic State Highway 1 along the coast, Kaikoura is the destination today.
- Kaikoura is a small coastal settlement halfway between Picton and Christchurch. As a unique habitat for marine mammals and seabirds, the region is the perfect place for those who want to enjoy nature in its marine form.
- Although it is most famous for whale and dolphin watching and amazing crayfish, Kaikoura offers many activities for the active relaxers out there. Such as swimming with seals and dolphins, bird watching, kayaking, surfing, diving, fishing, and hiking around the hills or Kaikoura Peninsula.
- The St Arnaud Mountain Range is viewable from Kaikoura, and offers both tramping during the summer, and skiing at Rainbow Skifield in the winter. You can also enjoy boating, kayaking, whitewater rafting and fishing.