A romantic getaway to remember
If you’re looking for the ultimate romantic getaway, here’s three little words for you. No, not those ones (but if you haven’t yet, now could be the time). We’re talking about sunshine, scenery and Sauvignon. It’s the perfect recipe for a romantic weekend away - and you’ll find all the ingredients in the beautiful Marlborough region. Some call it the secret garden of New Zealand, others are lucky enough to call it home, but for a weekend, you can call it paradise.
Just a short 30-minute drive from the Picton Ferry Terminal, the region includes small towns such as Renwick, Wairua, Havelock, and of course, the beautiful town of Blenheim. It’s home to breathtaking scenery, some of New Zealand’s finest vineyards and wineries and seafood that’s coveted around the world. At every turn you’ll find date-worthy galleries, gardens ideal for romantic strolls and markets full of potential gifts, all nestled into a landscape of hills, valleys, oceans and forests.
But with so much to see and even more to sample, it’s hard to know where to begin. So to save you some time, we’ve hand-picked a selection of the most romantic activities for couples. Enjoy – and you’re welcome.
Pick your perfect Marlborough Accommodation
First up in planning your romantic getaway is choosing a place to stay. Well, you’re in luck, because Marlborough accommodation is some of the most stunning and unique in New Zealand. From luxury lodges, boutique hotels and stunning resorts, to cosy cottages, quaint B&Bs and even a five-star Chateau, the perfect place is waiting for the two of you to discover.
Escape to Picton Boutique Hotel
Hopping off the Interislander and ready for a glass of something fancy? Escape To Picton is a stone’s throw from the Interislander Picton Ferry Terminal - where guests are welcomed with a glass of champagne. Downstairs, the restaurant serves up world-class dishes with locally-sourced produce. Upstairs, each of the three suites is decorated with handcrafted furniture and beautiful finishings.
Hopewell Lodge Marlborough Sounds
For a getaway with emphasis on the ‘away’, Hopewell Lodge offers spectacular views over the turquoise waters of the Kenepuru Sounds. Hidden away from the world, you can arrive by water taxi or car, then laze about on the secluded beach, enjoy a massage for two, wander or cycle the trails, hand-pick your own fresh shellfish, or cuddle up as you watch the local glow worms.
Bay of Many Coves Resort
If you’re looking for a touch of luxury, look no further than the Bay of Many Coves. The private, peaceful eco-lodge offers five-star accommodation in the heart of the Marlborough Sounds. You’ll enjoy incredible views over a bay where Bottlenose dolphins play, a fine dining restaurant, stunning apartments with breathtaking views and a relaxed ambience.
Laurella Cottage Blenheim
This beautifully restored 1850s cottage is about as unique as Marlborough accommodation comes. Nestled in the grounds of a stunning national garden, Blenheim’s self-contained Laurella Cottage offers views of the garden from every room, Victorian-inspired furnishings, as well as a private courtyard where you can enjoy alfresco dining and a glass of Marlborough wine.
Marlborough: Sights and Sounds
Marlborough wineries are famous the world over, but the magic of this stunning region goes far beyond the vines. As one of the sunniest and most scenic spots in New Zealand, it’s an idyllic place to escape the noise and experience nature with your other half. It’s also home to some of the world’s best seafood - and one very famous aphrodisiac in particular. Yes, in the romance game, Marlborough comes out top every time - and here’s some of the things that make it so special.
Marlborough Farmers’ Market
For a gentle start to the day, head into Blenheim for the Marlborough Farmers’ Market and wander hand in hand through the stalls of fresh local produce, stopping for a sample or two. You’ll find everything from cheese, bread and vegetables, to wild game, olives and preserves - and it’s all produced right here in wine country. The market is on every Sunday in Blenheim from 9 am-noon.
Picnic at Governors Bay
If you like the idea of a secluded picnic on one of the region’s most stunning beaches, then Governors Bay is your destination. Pack up your picnic - bottle of wine recommended - and take the short drive from the Interislander Picton Ferry Terminal. From there, a beautiful 15-minute walk through a scenic reserve takes you to a white sandy beach, where chances are, you’ll find yourselves alone.
Seafood Odyssea Cruise
If you’re looking for a taste of the Sounds, you’re in the right place. Head back to Picton and take to the waters on the exclusive Seafood Odyssey. As you cruise on the luxury launch, you will be served Regal salmon, Cloudy Bay clams and Greenshell mussels, paired with a glass of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, naturally. The cruise departs from Picton near the Interislander ferry terminal, Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Sunday.
Queen Charlotte Track
Queen Charlotte Track is famous for its coastal forests, native flora and fauna, pristine beaches and stunning views over the Kenepuru Sounds. We recommend fuelling up with brunch and coffee at the Fernaux Lodge, before following the coastline round to Punga Cove. And once you finish the scenic 12.7km walk, the Boatshed Café’s Wood-Fired Pizza is just reward – and it’s perfect for sharing.
After enjoying the outdoors, step through the doors of Makana Confectioners in Blenheim. Famous for its handmade chocolate delicacies, it’s the perfect place to treat your other half. Since you’re in the heart of wine country, you may be tempted by the Marlborough Pinot Noir Truffles. Give yourselves permission - you won’t regret it.
Sounds from the Skies
If you want to experience the true beauty of the Marlborough Sounds, why not take to the skies for a moment you’ll never forget. The turquoise waters, hidden coves, and sea-drowned valleys will leave you breathless. Take off on an adventure with Picton Float Plane or for added romance, choose your beach and they’ll fly you there for an intimate picnic with… (did we mention?) wine.
Just a one-hour boat ride out towards the Queen Charlotte Sound lies Motuara Island. A predator-free bird sanctuary, it’s home to a wide range of rare bird species, including the Yellow-crowned Parakeet and South Island Saddleback, plus King Shags, penguins, fantails, bellbirds and Tuis – just to name a few. It’s a special way to spend some time with a special someone, surrounded by thousands of the country’s most special creatures.
Marlborough: Wineries and Dineries
Of course, there’s nothing more romantic than sipping a glass of your favourite grape juice with your favourite person - and Marlborough wineries offer the perfect backdrop. With more than 30 cellar doors and some incredible world-class eateries, you really are spoilt for choice. But to save you the time you could be spending together, here’s a selection of the best.
Wine Tours By Bike
Tandem for two? Coming right up. The folks at Wine Tours By Bike will happily pick you up and drop you back to your accommodation after. Then, with map in hand and empty wine basket in front, you can be at the first winery in a matter of minutes.
Begin your day at the home of the first ever Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, Brancott Estate. The first vines were planted here in 1973 and the fruits of that labour are now world-famous. Sit back and take in the majestic views with a coffee or wine. If you’re feeling bold, you can experience the rare native New Zealand Falcon up close as you taste the organic Living Land Series wines.
Arrive at Cloudy Bay and enjoy the very best of local seafood served with some of the region’s best wines. In winter, lunches of local seasonal cuisine are served by the open fire. In summer, you can wander through to Jacks Raw Bar and savour Te Matuku Bay raw oysters, cured King Ora Salmon, fresh sashimi, and more. Even better, it’s all paired to perfection with Cloudy Bay wines.
When you’re in the Marlborough region, exceptional wine is pretty much a given. But what makes Saint Clair stand out is their sensational Vineyard Kitchen. The views extend past the vines towards the ever-changing and dramatic Richmond Range. And for some serious X-factor, just ask the staff if there are any tables available in the sunny courtyard, where you’ll get to dine among the vines. It’s nothing short of spectacular.
Venture closer to the rugged coastline and you’ll find the picturesque Yealands Estate. Enjoy a tasting at the cosy and intimate cellar door before winding your way down the self-drive White Road, with majestic views of the mountains and the Cook Strait. Make sure you’ve got the windows down so you can enjoy the sounds of relaxing music playing in the vines. Bliss.
Of course, while views are for looking at, wine is for drinking. And some of the region’s best wine tasting can be found at Wither Hills. There are four different tasting options to choose from, but you can’t go past the Wine Blending experience, which lets you taste some delicious drops, then play Winemaker yourself and discover the thrill and intricacy of creating your very own Pinot Noir or Sauvignon Blanc.
The cherry on top of your romantic getaway is waiting for you at Hans Herzog, where you can indulge in a mouth-watering degustation menu, created by Michelin star trained chefs and carefully matched with the perfect wine for each course. For the finishing touch, wander out to the beautiful veranda and take in the sunset with your glasses of wine in hand.
Tickets for two on the Wellington to Picton Ferry
There really is no better way to get to your destination than over the pristine waters of the Cook Strait. Say goodbye to the mainland as you sail off on the Interislander ferry; for the next three and a half hours, you’ll enjoy nothing but ocean views on one of the most beautiful ferry rides in the world.
If you want to ‘up the romance’, you can book into the Interislander Plus lounge for spectacular views that come served with complimentary wines, beers, and peace and quiet. And after a weekend of romance, there’s a good chance you’ll appreciate the relaxation as you board the Picton to Wellington Ferry for the voyage home.
So what are you waiting for? Book your tickets on the Interislander now and escape to Marlborough, the place for lovers of wine, water, and each other.