Marlborough Sounds, Family Activities


  • Kiwi Guardian Outdoor Adventures

    Get the kids outside to have some FREE family fun connecting with nature at Toyota Kiwi Guardians sites nationwide.

    Toyota Kiwi Guardians highlights family-friendly, treasure hunt style activities at specific Department of Conservation sites that encourage kids to engage with the outdoors and, ultimately, earn themselves a medal for their efforts.

    The goal of the conservation programme is to turn Kiwi kids into guardians of the land and sea.

    A total of 50 sites are operational nationwide. Families can get started on their adventure by downloading the appropriate “treasure hunt” map from:

    Click on the area of New Zealand nearest to where you are to find the choices available closest to home.

    read more
  • Bike Hire Marlborough

    Bike Hire in the heart of the Marlborough wine region. Flat, easy biking and beautiful scenery mean cycling the vineyards is the only way to tour the wineries and makes for a great family day out. Within 3km of our home base at the Vines Village there are over a dozen wineries and river trails, giving you the best location in Marlborough to start riding from.
    Our base at the Vines Village has safe off-road parking and an on-site cafe to pick up a picnic lunch or drink for your day.
    We offer free pick-up and drop-off from your Blenheim and Renwick accommodation so you don't need to bike the 15km from town to get to the heart of the wine region.  Please note your children's ages when booking, so we can prepare their bikes.

    read more
  • Pelorus Mail Boat

    You have the opportunity to join the world famous Pelorus Mail Run in the Marlborough Sounds. You'll visit isolated homesteads nestled in quiet secluded bays, delivering crucial supplies and mail the same way it has been done for decades. View mussel farms and see why Pelorus Sound is the mussel capital of the world. Old timers row out in dinghies to meet us, while some receive their supplies on tiny, unspoilt beaches. The people of the Marlborough Sounds are as much a part of the area as the history and majestic beauty.
    Kids under 14 years go FREE!

    read more
  • Steadfast Traditional Sail

    Steadfast Traditional Sail offers day and extended sailing adventures on board Steadfast, a 60' French pilot cutter.
    Day Cruises depart from the wharf in Picton, leaving at 1pm and returning at 5pm. After clearing the harbour and setting sail, we'll spend the afternoon exploring the beautiful bays and coves of the inner Queen Charlotte Sound.




    read more
  • Edwin Fox Ship and Visitor Centre - Picton

    A child-friendly and all-weather activity. Here at the Edwin Fox and Visitor Centre you will discover the fascinating history of the Edwin Fox (the worlds 9th oldest ship). A permanent display in Picton, where you can learn all about her fascinating round the world adventures and her checkered history from troop carrier to immigrant ship, even convict transporter. Open everyday except Christmas.

    read more
  • Bluebridge Ferry

    We carry passengers and vehicles between Wellington and Picton up to four times daily and offer a range of fares to suit your budget.
    Catching the ferry between Wellington and Picton with Bluebridge is a real treat. Enjoy our kiwi hospitality or kick back in your very own private cabin.
    On-board you'll find a full cafe-style menu, premium L'affare coffee and award-winning Marlborough wines.
    And if you can take your eyes off the views, kick back with free Wi-Fi, free recent release movies and play areas for the kids.
    The Bluebridge journey takes just over three hours. What are you waiting for? Book your Cook Strait ferry now and come on over!

    read more
  • Beachcomber Fun Cruises

    Cruising on Queen Charlotte Sounds is a must-do - the scenery is simply stunning and there's no other way to reach many of the homes dotted around the bays and coves than by boat. Beachcomber Fun Cruises offer a range of excursions around the Queen Charlotte Sounds, including shore stops, fish feeding and dolphin and other wildlife viewing. The boats are spacious and the crew friendly, they will ensure your family has fun on the Sounds! The Magic Mail Run - share the excitement of mail day and say 'hi' to the locals with the only licensed NZ Post Rural delivery service by water in the Queen Charlotte Sounds. Qualmark endorsed.

    read more
  • E-Ko Tours

    If you want a memorable family experience then come and experience E-Ko Tours. Operating in the clear and calm water of Marlborough Sounds there are four nature and Eco tours to choose from - Dolphin Swimming and Viewing, Eco Cruise, Bird Watching Expeditions and Motuara Island Bird Sanctuary or Historic Ship's Cove, where birds are so plentiful, fearless and very vocal that taking the time to sit quietly will have birds come within arms reach. These tours are fully-guided, informative, educational and fun. You will search for Dusky, Bottlenose, Orca and the rare Hectors Dolphin and if conditions allow you will be able to swim up close and personal to see such amazing wildlife in their own environment. With a 90% encounter rate of viewing dolphins your kids will be absolutely enthralled! Any one of these tours will leave you saying “what a memorable and great family experience”.

    read more
  • Ages 4+

    Pelorus Eco Adventures

    Paddle down New Zealands most beautiful river.
    Join our experienced, friendly guides on an eye-opening, fun adventure paddling on the Pelorus river.
    Includes short native bush walk informing about native plants, including the silver fern.
    Explore the famous filming locations used in the second “Hobbit” movie “The Desolation of Smaug”
    Definetly the most beautiful river you ever paddled.

    read more
  • Ages 10+

    Wilderness Guides - Half day kayak trip

    A fantastic experience the whole family will love! The Marlborough Sounds offers some of the most idyllic and scenic kayaking in New Zealand, with calm inlets, lots of wildlife and absolutely stunning scenery.
    Our half day trip sets off from a small bay away from the boats and bustle of Picton harbour. We then hug the shoreline as we make our way past hidden beaches and tucked away coves, on the lookout for seals, little blue penguins, stingrays, dolphins and native birdlife. The pace is easy and no experience is necessary. Our friendly guides will ensure you and the kids are comfortable and safe.

    read more
  • Ages 12+

    Wilderness Guides - Queen Charlotte Combo Trip

    This unique day trip is absolutely the best way to experience the Marlborough Sounds and Queen Charlotte Track all in one day. You need no experience and the trip is suitable for children 12 years and over. Start your day with our thorough safety briefing, before your guided sea kayak tour, hugging the shoreline and checking out the local wildlife and native bush. Arriving in Anakiwa you can don your walking boots and take to the Queen Charlotte Track - along one of its easiest, yet most scenic sections. Finish your day with a water taxi pick up - a thrilling boat ride with fantastic views back towards where you've been. Note: lunch/nibbles provided.

    read more
  • The Vines Village - Blenheim

    The Vines Village offers an array of artisan stores, where you can experience art, craft, a cafe, wine and shopping all within a family-friendly environment.  Nestled amongst tranquil lakeside grounds and only 15 minutes from Blenheim there are family activities, bike hire, kids' treasure hunts, a pirate playground, free sports equipment & regular family events, including free WiFi and dog parking which make this a great place to visit!

    read more
Map of New Zealand
  • Central Otago
  • Bay of Plenty
  • Coromandel
  • Dunedin
  • Gisborne
  • Fiordland
  • Hawkes Bay
  • North Canterbury
  • Manawatu
  • Nelson & Golden Bay
  • Northland
  • Marlborough Sounds
  • Rotorua
  • Queenstown
  • Taranaki
  • South Canterbury
  • Taupo
  • Southland
  • Waikato
  • Wanaka
  • West Coast
  • Whangarei
  • Bay of Islands
  • Tauranga
  • Gisborne
  • Hamilton
  • Napier
  • Kapiti
  • Palmerston North
  • Whanganui
  • New Plymouth
  • Arrowtown
  • Te Anau
  • Akaroa
  • Ashburton
  • Hanmer
  • Kaikoura
  • Methven
  • Mt Cook
  • Oamaru
  • Tekapo
  • Timaru
  • Abel Tasman
  • Motueka
  • Nelson Lakes
  • Blenheim
  • Picton
  • Catlins
  • Gore
  • Stewart Island
  • Central Plateau
  • Invercargill
  • Cromwell
  • Greymouth
  • Hokitika
  • Westport
  • Glenorchy

Our favourite destinations…

Auckland destination2


New Zealand’s economic heart and biggest city is also an exciting family visitor destination, situated on a sunny harbour with city beaches just minutes away from the CBD. Orientate yourself by heading down to Viaduct Harbour, wandering the waterfront, checking out the super yachts or enjoying the waterfront restaurants. Nearby is the must-visit Sky Tower along with excellent and kid-friendly museums and tons of exciting activities!


Wellington is New Zealand’s capital. Here you will find New Zealand's parliament buildings, including the 'Executive Wing', more well-known as 'The Beehive' due to its distinctive shape. Another icon to look out for is the Wellington Tram, which was the main means of public transport between 1878 and 1964.


With a population of around 400,000 Christchurch, in Canterbury, is the South Island ’s largest city, yet much of it has the feel of a small town. Perhaps that’s why it’s known as the Garden City but with the expansive Hagley Park, Botanic Gardens, Port Hills, River Avon and numerous beaches the city certainly has an open, relaxed feel that’s hard to beat.


With its well-deserved reputation as New Zealand’s activity adventure capital you’ll never run out of activities and things to do in Queenstown, but you may run out of time! With breathtaking scenery, activities and festivals, cafes and restaurants, skiing and snowboarding, shopping and wineries, this lakeside alpine resort rates as one of the world’s top vacation destinations for all ages and seasons.


Rotorua sits on the shore of Lake Rotorua, one of sixteen lakes in the area formed by hundreds of thousands of years of eruptions from the Taupo Volcanic Zone. The area is renowned for its geothermal activity and top of any activity list is to see the bubbling mud pools that are around the region for yourself. The Waimangu Volcanic Valley offers a first hand insight into the devastation caused by the 1886 eruption of Mount Tarawera and is a great place to discover steaming volcanic craters and bubbling, spitting  pools of mud!

Nelson and Golden Bay

The Nelson and Golden Bay regions, at the top of the South Island, boast enviable sunshine hours, glorious sandy beaches, safe swimming spots, lots of wildlife to look out for, and Abel Tasman National Park - an absolute must to explore, on foot, by kayak, your own craft or watertaxi.  Nelson is home to a vibrant arts and crafts community with a fabulous Saturday market, and is close to award-winning wineries and family-friendly bike tracks to take you around the coast.

Hawkes Bay

Napier was rebuilt after the 1931 earthquake and is now known as NZ's Art Deco City.  The Art Deco influence has created a unique city – nowhere else can you see such a varied concentration of art deco style. With over 2,200 sunshine hours a year, Napier is a year-round holiday destination with countless activities to entertain the kids – there's days of entertainment on Marine Parade alone, plus numerous other family-friendly trips and activities.  Add to that the beaches, walks and flat cycle paths, outdoor cafes and entertainment, and you have a perfect holiday destination!


Beautiful, unspoiled beaches, fishing, historic gum fields, kauri forests – the Far North has it all. With subtropical temperatures, it's often known as ‘the Winterless north', with warm, humid summers and mild winters.
Gateway to the Bay of Islands, Paihia is a pretty, lively beachside town and a perfect base for your family holiday. It’s your start point for Bay of Island adventures including day cruises, sailing, kayaking, swimming with dolphins and reef or wreck diving.