Picton
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Our most recommended Picton Wheelchair Accessible

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.

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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.

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Havelock and Marlborough Sounds: Greenshell Mussel Cruise

3. Havelock and Marlborough Sounds: Greenshell Mussel Cruise

Climb aboard the MV Spirit at Havelock Marina, and set sail across the shimmering waters of Marlborough Sounds at 13:30. Indulge in some freshly steamed mussels paired with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc from the area. Experience the ultimate food and wine pairing as you take in the spectacular views. Cruise across the tranquil waters of Pelorus Sound and Kenepuru Sound, and learn about the local history. Visit a mussel farm to experience the green-lipped mussel fishing industry first hand. Make use of the on board licensed bar, serving a good range of Marlborough wines, along with beers, juice and bottled water. A range of light snacks, including chips and peanuts, are available to purchase. Enjoy the boat's indoor and outdoor areas for views of the forested hills and clear blue waters from different perspectives. Then, journey back to Havelock Marina for an estimated arrival time of 16:30.  

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Onshore Highlights of Marlborough's Wine Region from Picton

4. 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. 

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From Picton: Private Wine and Gourmet Tour of Marlborough

5. From Picton: Private Wine and Gourmet Tour of Marlborough

Create your perfect day in the Marlborough wine region on a 6-hour tour priced for a group of up to 6 people. Your chauffeur/guide will help you pick the best spots to enjoy the fantastic wines of Marlborough and peaceful vineyard settings. You’ll be taken on an exciting wine and gourmet experience on this private day tour from Picton. Enjoy stunning views of the Marlborough wine region and taste fine wines and delicious gourmet treats. Your interests are the priority for the day and might include visits to award-winning gardens, local producers, and talented local artisans. Your tour is tailored especially for you. If you’re interested in history, you could enjoy a stop at the Heritage Air Museum to see Peter Jackson's amazing classic aircraft displays. If you’re interested in arts and crafts, you can stop meet a local artist and visit a renowned gallery. Additional highlights could include a local brewery, a private home gourmet kitchen, or a scenic drive around the bays of Marlborough Sounds. Sit back and relax with wide views from the windows as you meander through the Wairau Plains, the expansive vineyards, the rolling hills of the valley, and the local horticultural and farming spots, with the Pacific Ocean nearby. As Marlborough is the heart of the New Zealand wine region, wine tasting is usually at the top of the list. The many wineries and cellar door hosts offer a truly personal experience to showcase award-winning wines all year round. Treats of Marlborough's gourmet and local produce can be slipped in to suit. Tastings can include local cheeses as well, along with the Manuka honey, peanut butters with a difference, black garlic, smoked mushrooms and lots more. During the season, from November through to February, local produce can be found at roadside stalls. You’ll find asparagus, juicy cherries, strawberries, raspberries, apricots, nectarines and more. Lunch venues run from a beautiful winery garden restaurant to a chateau on a hill with amazing views. Wine tasting is available or you could enjoy a glass or bottle of wine suited to your menu choices. Cheese platters are also offered at some of the cellar doors to accompany your wine tasting. A major highlight of all tours is a stop at the Makana Chocolate Boutique, where you’ll be tempted, to say the least. If you are attending a Marlborough event or are visiting on business and prefer the privacy of your own chauffeured tour, your chauffeur/guide will create a custom itinerary to suit your requirements. Private appointments can be arranged for your specific industry.

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Private Shore Excursion from Picton: Marlborough Highlights

6. Private Shore Excursion from Picton: Marlborough Highlights

The Port of Picton in the Queen Charlotte Sound welcomes cruise ships through-out the season. Just 25 minutes south of Picton your local chauffeur will take you on a scenic journey to enjoy the famous Marlborough wines.   Your personal tour offers great flexibility to combine your favourite requests  with a local chauffeur's recommendations of the area. Enjoy a full wine tour experience or mix with other Marlborough gourmet and local attractions. On arrival into the Blenheim countryside of the Wairau Valley you can start tasting some sensational wines before a relaxing break for brunch, lunch or afternoon refreshment (at your own cost) applicable to your ships schedule.  A popular choice could be a light tapas platter of mouth-watering cheese, meats and seafood with matching wines at a picturesque winery spot or while you overlook the Valley views of vineyards and the surrounding landscapes. More wine tasting could follow or try some of the local gourmet oils, liqueurs, local cheeses, garlic noir, peanut butters, Manuka honey or a refreshing gelato. Your itinerary could vary depending on some of the options you choose on the day. Some exciting options you could consider could be a visit to an award winning garden, a visit to a renowned local artist’s personal gallery, a visit to another special artisan gallery and the opportunity to see the pet sheep.  You could also choose a visit to the Omaka Aviation Museum to view Peter Jackson’s classic air craft displays from WW1 and WW2 or a helicopter ride over the Wairau Valley and Tasman Bays. A must stop is the Makana Boutique Chocolate Confections – a tasty treat  not to be missed. Some activities will be subject to availability on the day if not pre-booked and  any entry fees may be payable to the organizer on the day. When you have booked please ask about these options and they can be pre-booked for you. Once back in Picton you may like to take in the breath-taking views overlooking the Port of Picton, Queen Charlotte Sound and your ship. You will travel in a comfortable vehicle of up to six seats to suit the single traveller, couples and friends.  Your local chauffeur is a local owner who has great passion for Marlborough and would look forward to sharing it with you.

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What people are saying about Picton

Overall rating

4.9 / 5

based on 13 reviews

Had such an amazing day. Comfortable boat and interesting facts shared by the captain. Great way to see the sounds and see how people live in the more isolated places. Would highly recommend!

We had a lovely trip on the 'Mail Boat'. Phil was our Skipper and while operating the boat expertly, he entertained us with amusing snippets of life in the Sounds and history of the area.

Great trip to do, the skipper was very knowledgeable and friendly. The boast is very spacious and comfortable and accommodates various tour options

A wonderful afternoon with Phil on the mailboat. Very informative and a great sense of humour

Absolutely beautiful part of the world. With a captain that was very informative