Marlborough Sounds, Walks & Parks

  • Governors Bay Track - Picton

    Governors Bay is accessed via this short walking track ( 10 mins each way), just a 15 minute drive from Picton on Queen Charlotte Drive. Governors Bay is a beautiful golden beach surrounded by lush native bush, and great for swimming. Pack a picnic and your togs for a relaxing day trip to paradise.

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    • Location: 15 minute drive from Picton on Queen Charlotte Drive.
  • Tirohanga Walkway - Picton

    This is a good walk over the hill and should take about 2¼ hours as a round trip (including about half an hour of fairly easy uphill) plus photo snapping time. The view from the Lookout is excellent over the whole of Picton and Waikawa Bay. I would recommend that you start at the Newgate St end as the track is quite steep in places on the Garden Terrace side. The track levels off at a 360 degree viewpoint, then descends via the Esson’s Valley.

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  • Torea Bay to Lochmara Lodge - Queen Charlotte Track

    The older kids will enjoy this 2 ½ – 3 hours walk. Travel by water taxi from Picton to Torea Bay (about 20 minutes). From Torea Bay a short walk up the road takes you to the Queen Charlotte Track. Turn left onto the Track. Here you start the steep climb from the Torea Saddle to the highest point on the Queen Charlotte Track. The climb takes about 45 – 60 minutes, and then follow the track to the well marked Lochmara Lodge turnoff. The views are magnificent, looking out over both the Kenepuru Sound and the Queen Charlotte Sound. The sign showing the way to the privately maintained track down to Lochmara Lodge is reached about 1 hour after the summit. The kids will love looking round the wild life centre at Lochmara Lodge, the cafe is great - a great incentive to keep going when walking.  Catch the water taxi back to Picton.

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    • Location: Water Taxi from Picton to the start.
  • Lake Chalice Hut tracks

    Explore the area around Lake Chalice, the only lake in Mount Richmond Forest Park - the short, easy walk (1 hr to hut / 2 hr 30 min loop) to the hut is ideal for an overnight tramp with children.

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    • Location: 5 km north Renwick (just over the Wairau River bridge) turn off SH6 onto Northbank Road. Follow this for 33 km then turn into Top Valley Road. Continue for 6 km then turn into Staircase Road and follow this for 18 km to the car park.
  • Pollard Park - Blenheim

    Ten minutes' walk from town, this 25-hectare park boasts beautiful blooming and scented gardens, a playground, tennis courts, croquet and a nine-hole golf course. It's pretty as a picture when lit up on summer evenings. Five minutes away, on the way to or from town, is the extensive Taylor River Reserve, a lovely place for a stroll. The full length of the Taylor River Trail between Burleigh Bridge and the Taylor Dam is approximately 5 km, however, there are various points to enter and exit between these two points. The trail is of an off-road nature for the entire length but the terrain is generally flat and considered easy going for most.
    However, the track does cross the river in two places and these crossings can be rough or impassable during high rainfall.

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    • Location: Parker Street, Blenheim
  • Northbank Walking Track - Mount Richmond Forest Park

    The park spans several regions and comprises most of the steep native forest-covered mountain country between Nelson and Blenheim. Top Valley is a popular recreational area, with short walks, swimming holes and picnic and camping areas.   The Riverside Walk  - 2 hr 30 min (4 - 5 km) return - follows an old gold miners’ track. You will see old gold tailings and the historic battery site of the Wellington mine. Forks Walk - 1 hr 30 min return (4 km). This track leads to Whiteheads Clearing, where there are stacked river stones from the mining era.

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    • Location: Northbank Road, Turn off State Highway 6, just north of the Wairau River Bridge, 16 km from Blenheim.
  • Whites Bay tracks

    Whites Bay has walks for a range of abilities, including kids - there are rocky areas for scrambling and exploring and a near-flat sandy beach that's excellent for swimming too. Pukatea Walk (10 min) meanders down to the cable station alongside Pukatea Stream passing through regenerating forest. Black Jack Track (1 hr return or 1 hr 30 min to complete the loop) climbs to a superb viewpoint on the edge of a bluff where Te Whanganui/Port Underwood, Cook Strait and Cape Campbell can be seen. Children need to be closely supervised here. Return the same way or complete a longer, loop option by winding slowly down through regenerating forest. Rarangi Bay–Whites Bay Track (1 hr one way) zig-zags up from Whites Bay to the Port Underwood Road through a pine plantation, then follows the road for about 500m before descending to Rarangi, near the Monkey Bay track. Monkey Bay Walk (20 min return) leads around a rocky point and into Monkey Bay, with its small beach. A lookout point near the beginning of the track offers good views and has signs explaining the way that sea currents have formed Rarangi Beach over thousands of years.

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    • Location: Follow State Highway 1 to Tua Marina (9km north of Blenheim). Turn off at Tua Marina and continue through to Rarangi, stopping at the car park at the base of the hill beside the sea.
  • Queens and Huangshi Chinese Gardens - Nelson

    Queens Gardens is a beautiful example of a classical Victorian ornamental park. Centrally located information panels placed around the garden reveal its history and encourage the kids to walk. The gardens are part of a designated Historic Places Trust precinct. Stroll around and make a game of finding the park’s sculptures, which include The Cupid Fountain, the Water Wheel, the Boer War memorial, Sentinel and fine memorial gates at both main entrances.  Cross the 'Rainbow Bridge” linking the Queens Garden to the Chinese Garden - with its traditional Chinese pavillion with upturned tiled roof, beautiful water features and see if the kids can spot the two stunning Fu Dog statues.

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    • Location: Off Hardy street, Nelson
  • Molesworth Station tramping tracks

    There are five tramping tracks ( 10mins - 2hrs) accessible from the Acheron Road; from short tracks from the cob buildings at Molesworth and Acheron to longer tracks with panorama views.

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    • Location: Acheron Road, Molesworth Station
  • Snout Walkway - Picton

    Standing in Picton and facing out to sea, the tip of the headland that stretches out to your right is called The Snout. This whole area is known as Victoria Domain and is well stocked with swimming beaches, walking and bike tracks and picnic areas. The whole track, past the Queen Charlotte View and right out to Snout Head takes around 1 ½ hours. There’s a toilet and picnic area at the lookout, and a picnic area right at the end of the headland. Track tends to be slippery when wet, but otherwise an easy walk.

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  • Wairau Lagoons Walkway - Blenheim

    This flat loop track (3hrs), is ideal for kids with the added incentive of seeing a shipwreck, it follows the lagoon shoreline to the rusting remains of the Waverley ship. There are plenty of birds to see here – a bird book and pair of binoculars would be a useful addition to your equipment.. There is no fresh water here so carry some with you on the hot, dry days.

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    • Location: Hardings Road, which leaves State Highway 1, 5 km south of Blenheim.
  • Shelleys Beach and Bob's Bay - Picton

    An easy 40 min walk in Victoria Domain, past the historic ship ‘Echo’ moored on the Eastern side of the harbour. The walk to Bob's Bay is quite nice with two options - the upper or lower Bob's Bay track. It takes only 30 minutes to walk from Shelley Beach (just across the waterfront bridge and 10 mins from town) to Bob's Bay and there is a nice grassed area to have a play or picnic, plus good swimming beaches. The track can be quite slippery after rain or in winter.

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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

Auckland

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

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.

Christchurch

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.

Queenstown

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

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!

Northland

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.