Staying in Blenheim for a few days? If so, you’ll have time to check out all the awesome things our town has to offer AND take in some sites further afield. Picton is one of the towns that we frequently recommend as a day trip to our hotel guests.
Located just 25 minutes north of Blenheim by car, Picton is a quaint town nestled amongst rolling hills and the awe-inspiring waterways that make up the Marlborough Sounds. Many people think of Picton as only a stopping off point on their arrival from or departure to Wellington. As one of the most important transport hubs on the South Island, we can understand why it gets this reputation. But Picton has so much to offer and we think it’s a shame that more people don’t spend a full day in this picturesque part of New Zealand.
Here are a few of the great activities that can be enjoyed during a daytrip to Picton:
It’s hard to describe the sheer beauty of the Marlborough Sounds. This geographic area formed during the last ice age when the ocean flooded the land at the north of the South Island. This led to the formation of narrow waterways snaking into valleys, hundreds of peaky islands, and isolated beaches too numerous to count.
Naturally, one of the best ways to take in the splendour of the Sounds is by boat. There are many options to choose from - just head down to the Town Wharf where you’ll have your pick of tours for the day. These range from day trips to jaunts to a waterfront lodge for lunch. A very popular option is the ‘mailboat run.’ These trips take you on a genuine mail delivery route to villages tucked away in remote parts of the Marlborough Sounds. The villagers depend upon these mail runs to get their mail, groceries, and other essentials. This is an amazing experience that offers a peek into a way of life that is hidden from the outside world.
If you’d like a tour booked in advanced, stop at the Hotel d’Urville reception desk before leaving Blenheim and we’ll help you book ahead.
With all of the water around, you have plenty of options for taking in the fresh sea air. You could hire a kayak for a paddle around Picton. There are also trips for dolphin watching – and even a chance to swim with the dolphins if you’re keen! Stop by the Picton iSite to see which activities are best for the time of year you’ll be visiting.
Another way to explore the scenic, winding coastline is by car. One of the best routes is Queen Charlotte Drive, which offers outstanding views through bush-clad hills onto sparkling waters and pristine coves. Just be sure to leave plenty of time to stop for photos! Even on a rainy day, the views are impressive. You may want to pick up some food in Picton and have a picnic lunch at one of the many scenic overlooks.
Picton is a great jumping off point for the Queen Charlotte Track, one of New Zealand’s most popular walking tracks. The entire journey takes 3 to 5 days, but it’s easy to arrange a shorter walk for those with less time. From Picton, water taxis take day hikers to various drop off points along the trail. You can arrange to be collected from designated areas later in the day. There are also plenty of tracks that start right from Picton town centre. There are shorter and longer walks through a reserve that is accessible by foot or car at several points. You can even walk all the way to ‘The Snout,’ where you’ll enjoy scenic views across Waikawa bay and Queen Charlotte Sound.
Whether your idea of a perfect day involves cruising to a waterfront lodge for an indulgent lunch, an exciting kayak trip, or simply some sightseeing and shopping in a seaside town, you’ll find what you’re looking for in Picton. So, if you’re coming to Blenheim, stay a night longer and include a daytrip to Picton in your agenda!
Have you been to Picton? What was your favourite activity? We’d love to hear from you in the comment area below.