12 Hours Marlborough

Rows of grapes vines at sunset.

If you’re thinking about taking a day trip through Marlborough but don’t know where to start, we’ve got you covered with our 12-hour itinerary. From eating and drinking to shopping and exploring, our guide will make sure you get the best out of your trip.

Best known for its incredible scenery and revered Sauvignon Blanc wines, this locale has much to offer. Take in the stunning vistas from a vineyard patio with a glass of wine, feed your adventurous spirit with hiking tracks or swimming with dolphins, or potter around the beautiful towns, exploring all that makes them unique.

No matter which path you prefer to take, you’ll feel right at home in this dynamic destination in the northeast of the south.


8.30am: Breakfast at Herb + Olive

62 High Street, Blenheim

The most important meal of the day starts at Herb + Olive, a wholefoods café serving up coffee, kombucha and local seasonal food. These guys have a menu full of delicious dishes, with plenty of vegetarian and vegan options, to be enjoyed in a cosy, rustic atmosphere. They’re involved with the initiative UYO (use your own) which encourages customers to bring their own vessels to enjoy their coffee and food from. The health of the planet, as well as your own, doesn't go unnoticed here.

A view of water and land on a sunny day.

10am: Black Jack Track

Whites Bay tracks, Rarangi

After breakfast head north and do the Black Jack Track walk, which takes you from Pukatea Whites Bay to the edge of a bluff where you'll be greeted with incredible views of Port Underwood, Cook Strait and Cape Campbell. While you’re making your way there or back you might also stumble upon the original cable station that was first used back in 1866, adding a great little dose of history to your nature intake.  

It’s always a good idea to check DOC’s website for the latest track information, alerts and updates.


1.30pm: Wine tasting at Framingham Winery

19 Conders Bend Road, Renwick

Framingham Winery is an accredited environmentally sustainable vineyard that “makes wine by their own rules.”  Their process combines small batches of fruit from different parts of the vineyard, allowing them to build depth of flavour and texture. These small batches also mean small quantities, so get in quick if you want a bottle to take home! Another highlight? The annual Framingham Harvest Concert held in the winery courtyard (a big party that celebrates the harvest with live music from up-and-coming New Zealand artists). Actually, one more—it would be amiss not to mention Framingham Underground, formerly a wine cellar and library space that now hosts a variety of art exhibitions and gigs throughout the year as well as a band room for the local band Renwick Nudes to practise in.

Framed artworks hang on a white wall in a gallery.

3pm: Wander around Blenheim township

It’s time to head back to Blenheim and spend a couple of hours wandering around this small but mighty township. Those who live for fashion will find their heaven at No.4 Boutique, where brands of the moment like La Tribe, P.E Nation and Assembly Label are stocked. For the creative minds, head to the Millennium Public Art Gallery where an ever-changing lineup of exhibitions showcases work by local and international artists alike.

After finishing at the gallery, if you find yourself with a bit of time up your sleeve, take yourself on a self-guided street art tour. As part of an initiative between the Blenheim Business Association and The Economic Action Marlborough Group, there are beautiful murals to discover all throughout the town, with different artists providing their unique takes on the natural beauty that is Marlborough.


A plate of fancy finger food with wine glasses in the background.

5pm: Aperitif at Frank’s Oyster Bar and Eatery

28 Scott Street, Blenheim

Oozing effortlessly cool vibes, Frank’s is the perfect spot for a pre-dinner stop, or, if you’re feeling European, an aperitif. There is plenty to tempt you on the menu but it’s pretty hard to resist the oysters—their specialty after all. Perfectly paired with an expertly poured glass of champagne, Frank’s truly is a little slice of elegant heaven.

People dining around a table at Arbour.

6pm: Dinner at Arbour

36 Godfrey Road, Fairhall, Blenheim

This award-winning restaurant has an ever-changing menu, but one thing that doesn’t change is its commitment to showcasing local growers, hunters and producers. The signature menu the ‘MANY’ is a seven-course experience, and unsurprisingly for this region, the wine list is extensive. The stunning interior serves as the perfect backdrop for a special occasion outing—the definition of ‘special occasion’ is entirely up to you. Bookings are essential!

Photo by David James

White cocktail sitting in a green velvet booth seat.

8pm: Nightcap and Jazz at Bamboo Tiger

50 Queen Street, Blenheim

Indulge in a nightcap at this 1930s Asian fusion cocktail lounge that has live jazz and blues every Friday evening. Plenty of intimate spots make it the perfect place to park up with your favourite libation, a bao bun if you're still hungry, and debrief on your day in this picturesque landscape.

Have more time? Explore these Weekend Markets in Marlborough

Marlborough Artisan Market
42a Alfred Street
If you’re spending the weekend in Marlborough between October and February, you can’t leave without experiencing the Marlborough Artisan Markets. Grab a coffee and a bite to eat while listening to music and browse locally crafted children’s toys, clothes, jewellery, soaps, and much more. Admission is free but make sure to bring some cash with you so you can take some goodies home!

Marlborough Farmers Market 

24 Maxwell Road
Delight in the market’s takeaway brunch options created by local food producers and send your little ones off to enjoy the children's play area while you indulge in a cup of locally roasted coffee. With plenty of picnic tables and chairs, you’ll have no trouble finding a place to relax. Bonus tip: Take some time to chat directly with the award-winning stallholders, and you just might walk away with some of their favourite recipes!