NELSON – BLENHEIM (Via ST ARNAUD)
Travel distance is approximately 190kms (119 miles).
Allow at least 2.25 hours drive time (not including stops).
After an enjoyable 2 night stay in the Nelson region of the South Island, it is time to pack your bags, fuel up your vehicle and take a short drive to the grape growing region of Marlborough for a couple of nights stay in Blenheim.
The route today will take you through Richmond and Wakefield along State Highway 6, onto Highway 63 and the beautiful alpine area of St Arnaud. From here you can pretty much follow the Wairau River as you travel through farmland and vineyards as your drive into the Marlborough town of Blenheim.
Plan to stay for 2 nights in Blenheim.
Some notable stops along the route to Blenheim include:
The alpine resort township of St Arnaud is the gateway to Nelson Lakes National Park. The area boasts two ski areas, two fabulous lakes, forests and water activities, making it a fun place for outdoor lovers to enjoy a weekend away.
Located a short distance from St Arnaud, Lake Rotoiti is part of the Nelson Lakes National Park and is a popular lake for trout fishing and short walks. A lovely spot for a ‘driver reviver’ break on your journey, there are plenty of scenic bush and forest walks around the lake, ranging from 15 minute Bellbird walk to 45 minute and 1 hour walks. Make sure you explore the Rotoiti Nature Recovery Project.
THE CORK & KEG PUB
Located in Inkerman Street, Renwick, the heart of Marlborough’s world famous wine region, this is the closest Kiwi experience you’ll have to an old english country pub. Enjoy one of the natural boutique beers or cider made on the premises or a good old Guinness on tap. Hearty blackboard menu features some great lunch and evening meals.
The main town of Marlborough is also the hub for the entire wine district. Along with many fine restaurants serving the best wine and food from the region, there is plenty of cafes and wineries to satisfy your tastebuds. Blenheim has some great shopping and a vibrant nightlife during the weekend.
From private vineyard retreats, to hotels, motels and luxury boutique bed & breakfast style lodgings, to holiday parks and backpackers, you are spoilt for choice when it comes to accommodation in the region. The town is easy to navigate on foot.
Highly recommended Blenheim tourist attractions include…
Marlborough Wine Tours – Enjoy a totally flexible and personalised wine tour to suit your time frame and wine tastes, from 3 hours to all day, let someone else do the driving in your air-conditioned mini van or coach, while you enjoy tasting some of the best New Zealand wines. Most tours include a winery tour and lunch at a vineyard. With so many brilliant wineries and vineyards to visit, you are best to arrange a tour so you don’t miss out on the best!
Dolphin Watching – Enjoy an eco-tour in the Marlborough Sounds as you experience close encounters with seabirds, seals and dolphins. There is also the opportunity to swim with dolphins.
Millennium Art Gallery – Located in the centre of Blenheim and features curated exhibitions of national and regional artists while the gallery shop sells fine pieces of local art and craft plus specialty magazines and cards.
Molesworth Tour – This Qualmark Endorsed sightseeing tour company offering tours in the remote high country of Molesworth Station from 1 to 4 days. Personalised 4WD tours showcasing the high country farming life in the Awatere Valley.
Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre – Located in Omaka, the Aviation Heritage Centre offers a unique aviation experience that brings to life rare aircraft and memorabilia in a multi-sensory experience.
Prenzel Distilling Company – Located in the Riverlands Estate there is also a tasting room in the Mud House complex in Rapaura Road. Taste a delicious range of schnapps, liqueurs, world class Marlborough Fruit Brandies, infused olive oils and the world’s first Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc Vinegar.
River Queen Paddle-Steamer – An authentically styled paddle-steamer that cruises the beautiful Opawa River in Blenheim. Enjoy the tranquil atmosphere while watching the scenery drift past as you relax on the river. Choose from a midday cruise with a 2-course lunch or local produce platter, while the twilight cruise has a 2 course meal available. Special wine tasting packages also available.
New Zealand Itineraries: North Island Suggested Itineraries
Our modern self-drive travel Itineraries have routes specifically for the North Island as well as the South Island, ranging from 5 to 11 days, plus there are some travel routes that take in both the North and South Island’s. Our range of travel itineraries include information regarding travel distances and time to ensure that you can make the best of your time in New Zealand, no longer how short your visit!
- 5 Day Itinerary: Auckland – Rotorua, Rotorua – Taupo, Taupo – Waitomo Caves and Waitomo Caves – Auckland
- 6 Day Itinerary: Auckland – Coromandel, Coromandel – Whitianga, Whitianga – Tauranga, Tauranga – Rotorua and Rotorua – Auckland
- 6 Day Itinerary (route 2): Auckland – Dargaville, Dargaville – Kaitaia, Kaitaia – Paihia, Paihia – Whangarei and Whangarei – Auckland
- 7 Day Itinerary: Auckland – Whitianga, Whitianga – Tauranga, Tauranga – Rotorua, Rotorua – Taupo, Taupo – Napier and Napier – Wellington
- 8 Day Itinerary: Wellington, Wellington – Masterton, Masterton – Wellington, Wellington – Nelson, Nelson – Blenheim and Blenheim – Christchurch
- 9 Day Itinerary: Auckland – Coromandel, Coromandel – Whitianga, Whitianga – Tauranga, Tauranga – Gisborne, Gisborne – Napier, Napier – Taupo, Taupo – Rotorua, Rotorua – Waitomo Caves and Waitomo Caves – Auckland
- 9 Day Itinerary (route 2): Auckland – Whangarei, Whangarei – Paihia, Paihia – Hokianga, Hokianga – Auckland, Auckland – Rotorua, Rotorua – Taupo, Taupo – Waitomo Caves and Waitomo Caves – Auckland
- 11 Day Itinerary: Auckland – Whitianga, Whitianga – Tauranga, Tauranga – Rotorua, Rotorua – Gisborne, Gisborne – Napier, Napier Taupo Napier, Napier – Wellington, Wellington – New Plymouth, New Plymouth – Waitomo and Waitomo Caves – Auckland