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Things to do in Picton

Our most recommended things to do in Picton

Queen Charlotte Sound Mail Boat Cruise from Picton

1. Queen Charlotte Sound Mail Boat Cruise from Picton

Climb aboard the only official licensed New Zealand Post Rural Delivery Service by water in the Queen Charlotte Sound for a truly unique and interesting tour! Join in the excitement of Mail Day as the skipper delivers the New Zealand Rural post bags, groceries and freight to the residents that call the Queen Charlotte Sound waterways home. The Mail has been delivered by boat for over 150 years in the Queen Charlotte Sounds. Admire Marlborough Sounds' magnificent scenery and take a glimpse into daily life in the remote outposts of this region. Operating from Monday to Saturday, no one day is the same. The route changes daily, covering a different area and delivering the mail. During your cruise your skipper will provide interesting and informative commentary on the history of the Marlborough Sounds and the people who lived there then and now. Feel free to ask questions and keep your camera handy for any wildlife encounters.

Marlborough Sounds and Ship Cove Cruise from Picton

2. Marlborough Sounds and Ship Cove Cruise from Picton

Navigate the magnficent waterways of Marlborough Sounds on a morning boat tour, departing from the Picton waterfront. Cruise up through the Queen Charlotte Sound to historical Ship Cove. Warm up with tea and coffee and listen to live commentary on regional historical and natural landmarks. Keep a lookout for marine life such as little blue penguins and Hector’s dolphins — considered the rarest marine dolphin in the world. After about an hour’s journey, your boat drops anchor at Ship Cove. Step ashore for 30 minutes and discover the inlet named by Captain James Cook on 15 January 1770. The Endeavour was anchored here to replenish supplies and the spot became a favourite anchorage of Captain Cook. Dabble in the creek where Captain Cook made home brew for his crew and share the beach with the resident wildlife. Have your photo taken beside the Captain Cook Monument commemorating his visits to this area. Or, just relax and enjoy the tranquil surrounds.

Queen Charlotte Track: Cruise & Self-Guided Hike from Picton

3. Queen Charlotte Track: Cruise & Self-Guided Hike from Picton

Cruise through the Queen Charlotte Sound to walk part of the Queen Charlotte Track, one of the top ten coastal walking tracks in New Zealand. Your self-guided adventure starts with a cruise north from Picton to the historic Ship Cove. Here you can learn about the local area from your skipper, whilst on the lookout for marine wildlife. You will be able to choose between the following two hikes: Furneaux Lodge to Punga Cove Your first hike opportunity will be from Furneaux Lodge to Punga Cove, a 12.7-kilometer hike. You can enjoy 30-minutes ashore at the historic Ship Cove before rejoining the vessel and cruising around to Furneaux Lodge where you can grab a coffee or even brunch. Begin your self-guided hike along the Queen Charlotte Track, where you will learn that this area is rich in history and follows the coastline around the Endeavour Inlet through regenerating native bush to the Punga Cove Resort.  Ship Cove to Furneaux Lodge This hike provides you with the opportunity to hike from Ship Cove to Furneaux Lodge, a trail of 15 kilometers. You will arrive at Ship Cove where you'll begin your self-guided hike of the Queen Charlotte Track. You can climb away from the beach as you pass through native forest regenerating beneath a high canopy of trees. You will then be able to admire stunning views of the sound when you reach Tawa Saddle. The track then drops into Resolution Bay and follows an old bridle path into Endeavour Inlet to Furneaux Lodge. After your walk, you'll have time to relax before boarding your cruise vessel around 4:00 PM for your return boat journey to Picton with an estimated arrival time of 5:30-6:00 PM.

From Picton: Marlborough Sounds Cruise with Seafood

4. From Picton: Marlborough Sounds Cruise with Seafood

Cruise the pristine waters of the Marlborough Sounds on a scenic tour from Picton and admire breathtaking views of nature. Indulge in fresh, locally-caught seafood, including Regal salmon and Greenshell mussels, perfectly paired with a glass of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. Board the vessel at Picton Marina and set sail into the striking Queen Charlotte Sound. Become surrounded by forested hills and keep an eye out for local wildlife, including seals, dolphins, and birds. Learn about local history and the marine farming industry in the area. Enjoy the boat's indoor and outdoor areas for views of the hills from different perspectives and taste delicious seafood paired with a glass of wine. For an extra drink, take advantage of the onboard licensed bar, serving a good range of snacks and Marlborough wines, beers, juice, and bottled water. Finally, turn around and return to Picton Marina.

Onshore Highlights of Marlborough's Wine Region from Picton

5. Onshore Highlights of Marlborough's Wine Region from Picton

The Port of Picton in the Queen Charlotte Sound welcomes cruise ships throughout the season and it is a lovely seaside spot to explore. Just 25 minutes south of Picton, your tour takes you on a scenic journey to enjoy the famous Marlborough wine and gourmet region. The most popular highlights of the day are wine tasting, sampling local gourmet treats and the spectacular scenic routes of the vineyards, Wairau Plains, mountain ranges and farmlands while traveling to and from the most beautiful winery gardens and cellar doors. Experience gourmet treats of cheese tasting, manuka honey, oils, liqueurs, a refreshing gelato or decadent fudge. Seasonal produce is also available at roadside stalls from December through to February. You can take these aboard but must eat them before you disembark. Juicy strawberries, cherries, apricots and nectarines. Although your cruise ship caters well for you, a light tapas or cheese/meat/seafood platter with matching wines is a great way to experience the local cuisine. Your local chauffeur/guide arranges a picturesque winery garden or a chateau high on a hill with magnificent views for your pleasure. If time allows you can also request a stop at the Omaka Aviation Air Centre where you can view Peter Jackson’s amazing displays of his classic aircraft of WW1 and WW2.  The tour can continue and your chauffeur/guide will return for you to join the rest of the group within 1-2 hours. A fabulous memorabilia shop is also there for you along with delicious cafe treats. Generally tours last around 4-5 hours but flexibility is given for each ships schedule and the tour caters for passengers comfort and requirements.  Travel in comfortable small personal vehicles of 6, 9 or 11 seats and will return at least 2 hours prior to your ship's scheduled departure. Before leaving Blenheim you should visit the Makana Boutique Chocolate Confections – a treat not to be missed. For a highlight to end a wonderful day when you arrive back in Picton, why not take advantage of a short 15 minute return drive from the township to the Victoria Domain for high vantage views of Picton Port, Queen Charlotte Sound and your ship. Your local chauffeur/guide is a local owner who has great passion for the Marlborough region and looks forward to sharing it all with you. 

Marlborough: Wineries Visit and Tasting Session

6. Marlborough: Wineries Visit and Tasting Session

This half-day tour begins with pickup from the meeting points in Blenheim then heads out into the rolling countryside of Marlborough.  Visit some of the region’s top cellar doors, meet the winemakers, and sample a selection of the very best wines. While you taste, learn about each of the wines and how they’re made, as well as the people who make them and the history of the wineries. At the end of a beautiful afternoon, enjoy drop-off at around 5:30 PM.

Queen Charlotte Sound: Scenic Cruise & Lunch

7. Queen Charlotte Sound: Scenic Cruise & Lunch

Meet your local guide in the morning before boarding your cruise and setting off. Admire the views of Queen Charlotte Sound, or Tōtaranui, as you travel through the ancient, drowned valley. Catch a glimpse of the local marine wildlife before arriving at Endeavour Inlet just in time for lunch. Choose your food from the set menu, which includes stone-baked pizzas. Eat outside on the jetty overlooking the inlet, or inside the cosy café for colder days. Explore the grounds with a short walk, or sit on the beach and drink in the views until it’s time to meet the local supplier back at the jetty for your scenic cruise home at around 3.15 pm.

Picton: Kaipupu Sanctuary with Water Taxi Transport

8. Picton: Kaipupu Sanctuary with Water Taxi Transport

Take a leisurely walk around Kaipupu Sanctuary and enjoy the bird song, native forest, and stunning views across the inner Queen Charlotte Sounds. Allow around 2 hours to explore at your own pace with the convenience of water taxi transport to and from the walking track. Only a 10-minute water taxi ride from Picton Habour, Kaipupu Sanctuary is a great place to explore New Zealand's unique biodiversity. Located in the heart of Picton Harbor, it is a community-driven conservation project that provides visitors with an opportunity to experience the wonder of nature. The 2.7km loop track will take you through recovering native bush, old-growth forest, and a restoration zone. The bush-clad hills are home to many of New Zealand’s unique native birds and insects and New Zealand fur seal can often be found lazing on the jetty during autumn and winter. With a predator-free fence surrounding the area, the sanctuary is a haven for local wildlife. Pest traps are maintained by volunteers to ensure rats, stoats, and possums that swim around the fence are quickly removed. Weed infestations that once smothered the regenerating forests have been significantly reduced, and an extensive education program has seen hundreds of local children visiting the Sanctuary.

Picton: Queen Charlotte Sounds Sightseeing Cruise

9. Picton: Queen Charlotte Sounds Sightseeing Cruise

Hop onboard a sightseeing cruise to see the natural beauty of Queen Charlotte Sounds. Search for local birds and wildlife, and feed fish from onboard the boat. Cruise to Double Cove, Lochmara Bay, and Onahau Bay on a short cruise, perfect for cruise ship passengers short on time. Crossing the main reach of Queen Charlotte Sounds will have you arriving at Double Cove, a sheltered haven of holiday homes, cormorants, and lively local fish. Cruise around the bay taking in some amazing waterfront properties and wildlife nestled in the cove, and stop to feed friendly fish from the vessel. Mullet and Big Blue Cod are among the locals who visit at feeding time, along with sea birds who like to join in the fun. Continue your sightseeing cruise into Lochmara Bay, Onahau Bay, and around the grove arm of the inner Queen Charlotte Sound. This area is surrounded by years of regenerating beach forests and natural beauty. Your friendly skipper will give a full commentary and answer any questions along the way to ensure you take away the best the Marlborough Sounds has to offer.

Marlborough Half-Day Wine Tour from Blenheim

10. Marlborough Half-Day Wine Tour from Blenheim

Discover the flavors of Marlborough on a half-day small-group tour. Be picked up from your Blenheim accommodation and travel through the scenic beauty of the Marlborough vineyards. Collection from Picton is available at a small surcharge per group. Relax in a luxury minibus as your guide shares insight into the region’s history and world famous wines. You will visit five cellar doors on this tour from famous internationally branded cellar doors to boutique family-run wineries. Requests for particular wineries will be accommodated where possible.  Stroll through a vineyard with your guide. Learn about the region’s unique conditions and the challenges wine makers must overcome. A table for lunch at a cellar door restaurant can be booked for you for an additional cost. Sample hand-made chocolates at the local Chocolate Factory. Your tour will end with your safe delivery back to your hotel around 3 PM. 

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Other Sightseeing Options in Picton

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What people are saying about Picton

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 310 reviews

For a half day tour it was amazing taken to some fabulous vineyards even though it was a public holiday and lots were closed

Very friendly staff, well organised. Plenty of things to do on thé ferry

Super experience. Guides were great! Everything was great! 11 out of 10

The team is excellent, from frontbdest to boat crew!

Really great trip! Amazing walk and lovely cruise ☺️