Marlborough is big and popular enough to have some really big festivals and awesome events, while Picton offers a nice range of bars and also has a lot to entertain anyone looking for an enjoyable and fun holiday.
Marlborough has built a reputation for world-class festivals that can leave the region with very few empty beds! A prime example of this is in February each year when international and New Zealand visitors converge on the region for the infamous Blues Brews and BBQ’s and the internationally renowned Marlborough Wine Festival.
The Marlborough Wine Festival is the biggest event and is listed in the AA’s 101 Must Do Weekend experiences. As New Zealand’s premier wine and food experience I highly recommend you partake in at least one festival! The Blues Brews and BBQ’s celebrate the best of summer. Boutique and large breweries showcase their premium beers, as well as ciders, wines and non-alcoholic fruit juices, smoothies and copious amounts of ice water! Heaps of food stalls and great live music to be enjoyed by all.
Another for the foodies is the Havelock Mussel Festival, which is a great family day that is held in March and features top New Zealand entertainers and over 70 stalls offering food, wine and beer, crafts and industry displays.
The Omaka Classic Fighters Airshow is held every 2 years, with the next show due in Easter 2011. Classic Fighters is an awesome airshow featuring Fokker Triplanes mixing it up in the sky with SE5as and Sopwiths, while troops fire original Krupps canons and attack from behind a WW1 tank, all amid the smoke and fire of pyrotechnics and formation aerobatics.
Hunters Garden Marlborough is held in November each year and is considered New Zealand’s premier gardening event. Take part in garden tours, workshops and the annual Garden Fete that boasts over 200 stalls, including food and awesome local products.
Picton also hosts a very popular event when most of Blenheim arrives in the township during December for the family favourite Picton Christmas Parade that ends with a concert on the Picton Foreshore. The Picton Sculpture Symposium also runs an annual stone-carving event on the Picton Foreshore, which is considered to be one of Marlborough’s main art events.
Picton is an enjoyable and relaxing place to unwind at the end of the day and there are plenty of cafes with indoor and outdoor seating available for a relaxing late afternoon or early evening glass of Marlborough wine or refreshing beer and delicious nibbles. Spinnaker Restaurant is a great place to meet with friends for an afternoon refreshment whilst enjoying relaxing views over the Waikawa Marina.
For a ‘night out’ in Picton take a stop in at Seumus’s Irish Pub. They have successfully re-created the cosy atmosphere of a traditional, old-world style Irish pub, complete with the time-worn wood of the furniture, the classic curved bar, and the antiqued fireplace surround. Along with tradition music, visitors can enjoy a Guinness in the beer garden. Of course Le Café is another place to check out as there is quite often live music on a Friday or Saturday evening. Along with great Cuban cigars, this licensed restaurant and bar is a platform for live music of all styles and features local, national and international musicians.
For those seeking a more stylish evening, the Escape to Picton restaurant and bar is a ‘must do’ for the discerning traveller. Relax at the chic bar and peruse the most extensive, high-class wine list to be seen, featuring a mix of top international and New Zealand wines and ports.
If you are looking for something a little bit different, Picton also has an Art House Cinema located next to the Edwin Fox Maritime Museum where you can enjoy some of the best current British and European movies in a comfortable, intimate air-conditioned cinema.