Once a sleepy agricultural town known primarily for its location in the heart of Marlborough wine country, Blenheim is quickly becoming a holiday destination in its own right. Not only is Blenheim a perfect base for visiting local wineries, but it also offers a number of attractions within the town itself. Here’s a local’s view on how to make the most out of a two-day trip to Blenheim.
Day 1: Check out Blenheim’s local attractions, leaving time to pop into shops along the way
Start your day off with a stroll through time at the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, which offers an intriguing collection of aircraft from the First World War. Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson collaborated on this project and his creative mark is felt throughout. As you walk through the museum, the Great War is brought to life through original and replica aircraft, a series of remarkable dioramas, and captivating life-size displays.
Afterwards, cruise next door to Omaka Classic Cars, where over 100 vehicles from the 1950s to 1980s are on exhibit. The collection takes us back to a time when New Zealanders drove for pleasure, motoring through the countryside in gracefully designed cars. Both collections are open everyday from 10am to 5pm (last entry at 4pm) and are less than a 10-minute drive from Hotel d’Urville.
Head back to the town centre for lunch at one of Blenheim’s exciting restaurants. Our team can recommend a restaurant that will suit your mood – or point you to the closest deli if a picnic lunch is more your style! Enjoy an after lunch walk, starting in Seymour Square where you can check out the War Memorial and Clock Tower. Keep an eye out for the marked walkway that leads to Pollard Park, a local favourite for picnics and leisurely walks. The park is made up of walkways, ponds, and botanical gardens, with floral displays that change throughout the year. On the way back to town, take a wander along the Taylor River (turn off at Hutcheson Street to get back to the town centre).
Finish your day with a wander through the Millennium Art Gallery, a public gallery that showcases work from local and overseas artists. The gallery places an emphasis on community-focused exhibitions, which are often created in conjunction with local festivals and events. It’s a great way to experience the artistic expression of the Marlborough region. The gallery is open from 10:30am to 4:30pm on weekdays and 1:00 to 4:00pm on the weekends.
As your day winds down, perhaps you’d like to enjoy a local wine or craft beer before heading back to the hotel to freshen up for dinner. Pick from one of the many establishments lining the streets in the town centre to sample the best of Blenheim’s artisanal offerings.
Day 2: Further Afield
Now that you’ve enjoyed a day in town, you may wish to venture further afield for a deeper view of the Blenheim area. At Hotel d’Urville, our expert team is always happy to help book a local tour, but we do recommend booking in advance.
Driftwood Eco-tours offers customised tours of Blenheim’s natural surroundings to suit your interests and pace. Will Parsons, who runs the company and leads the tours, is a fount of local knowledge. His family has farmed in the Marlborough region for four generations. Will shares his love of the region with his guests as he guides them through hills, valleys, rivers, and estuaries. On the tour, you can choose to travel by kayak or 4WD to see some of the most beautiful and peaceful scenery in the region. Expect to be spoiled – you’ll enjoy a tasty picnic and local wines on your tour as well!
Other tours in the area include cycling tours, helicopter tours, and marine wildlife tours in the Marlborough Sounds. For those who enjoy a day without an agenda, there are plenty of walks in the area and vast stretches of beautiful coastline to explore.
If you’re planning a trip to Blenheim, you’re probably eager to check out some of the local wineries. We can help you book tours that will take you to several wineries or direct you to some of our nearby favourites, such as Wairau River Wines. There are over 20 wineries located within easy driving distance of the hotel, giving you the opportunity to sample some of New Zealand’s finest wines.
After two days exploring the area, we imagine you’ll be looking forward to a relaxing dinner and a comfortable night at our hotel. And while you are enjoying your last dinner at one of Blenheim’s culinary destinations, we bet you’ll be talking about when you can return to our charming town again.
Have you taken a trip to Blenheim recently? Anything we’ve missed that you think deserves a mention? Drop us a comment below and let us know – we’d love to hear your thoughts on the best way to spend two days in our fantastic part of New Zealand.