Walking Trails in Marlborough
See, Marlborough isn’t just about the wine! With exceptional coastal scenery along the Marlborough Sounds and spectacular inland landscapes such as the Pelorus River and the Mount Richmond Forest Park, the South Island region of Marlborough is a hiker’s dream. Mix that with the sunny climate that Marlborough receives and you have the perfect recipe to tie up your hiking boots and hit the trails. We’ll go through some of the walking highlights in this list of awesome walks in Marlborough.
While you’re here, you might also be interested in 10 Marlborough Must-Dos and 10 Blenheim Must-Dos.
1. Black Jack Track (1h30min Loop)
Soak up the coastal scenery at one of the many Whites Bay and Rarangi walks available just north of Blenheim. The Black Jack Track is one of the best tracks to experience the area. From Whites Bay, the track climbs to an awesome viewpoint on the edge of a bluff. The walk continues as a loop through regenerating forest.
Location: Start from the Cable Station Carpark signposted off Port Underwood Road, 9km (6 miles) north of Blenheim.
2. Queen Charlotte Track (3-5 Days One Way)
The most popular multi-day hike of the area, the Queen Charlotte Track offers tremendous views of the Queen Charlotte Sound in between treks through coastal forest. Most start the track by taking a ferry to the historic Ship Cave and making their way along the 70km (43.5-mile) track to the end at Anakiwa. Accommodation choices on the track range from campsites to more luxurious lodges. Find out more in our Guide to the Queen Charlotte Track.
Location: Ship Cove, Marlborough Sounds (transport available from Picton)
3. Wairau Lagoons Walkway (3-hour Loop)
Explore one of the very few accessible estuaries on foot on the eastern South Island at the Wairau Lagoons. The lagoons have formed over the last 6,500 years and are rich in bird and fish species. Enjoy this area on the 3-hour loop Wairau Lagoons Walkway, which is almost entirely flat. Along the way, you’ll also see the rusting Waverley ship.
Location: End of Hardings Road, 1.5km (0.9 miles) south of Blenheim
4. Wither Hills Farm Park (15 minutes – 3 Hours One Way)
Spend as long or as little as you want walking in this 1,100ha (2,718-acre) working farm with a myriad of walking trails to choose from. Enjoy gentle walks to the Rotary Lookout (20 minutes one way) or make it a longer mission by following the trails to Mt Vernon. There are single-lane mountain biking trails to enjoy too – find out more in Mountain Biking in Marlborough.
Location: The main entrance is at Rifle Range Place off Taylor Pass Road. Other accesses include Taylor Pass Road, Forest Hills Drive, Weld Street, Fyffe Street, Redwood Street, Dry Hills Lane or Cob Cottage Road.
5. Tirohanga Track (45 Minutes One Way)
Get a great view of Picton and the Queen Charlotte Sound from the Tirohanga Track, otherwise known as the Hilltop View. It’s steep but well worth it for the vistas. If you have more time, you can make this a loop by continuing along the track after the Hilltop View down to the streets of Picton. It takes around 2 hours to complete the whole loop. For more walks in Picton, simply head to 12 Awesome Hikes in Picton.
Location: Start this walk either on Newgate Street or from Garden Terrace, Picton.
6. Pelorus Bridge Scenic Reserve Walks (30 Minutes – 4 Hours Return)
Starting from the Pelorus Bridge Scenic Reserve campsite, a network of exciting walking and hiking trails awaits showcasing the spectacular river gorge scenery of the Pelorus River. An easy-going trail, the Tawa Trail (30-minute loop) weaves through a forest and over river terraces formed thousands of years ago. The Elvy Waterfalls Track (2 hours return) leads to two picturesque waterfalls. For something a little longer, choose either the Trig K Track or Daltons Track – both a 4-hour return. The walks are located near the town of Havelock. See more things to do in the area in 9 Fun Things to Do in Havelock.
Location: State Highway 6, 18km (11 miles) west of Havelock.
7. Goat Hill Track (1 Hour One Way)
If your travels bring you to the secluded settlement of Okiwi Bay at the entrance to the French Pass road, then don’t miss this picturesque hiking trail. The Goat Hill Track is a one-way trail taking walkers along the coastal cliffs of Okiwi Bay with a lookout across to off-shore islands.
Location: Start from Croisilles Road, approximately 5km (3 miles) east of the Okiwi Bay village.
8. Cullen Point Tracks
A fantastic walk near the town of Havelock, the Cullen Point Tracks consist of a 10-minute lookout track and a 1-hour loop track. Both offer breathtaking scenery across the Pelorus Sound, Mahau Sound and the town of Havelock. The tracks are well-signposted car park along Queen Charlotte Drive.
Location: Queen Charlotte Drive, 5.5km (3.4 miles) from Havelock.
9. Mount Richmond Forest Park (1h30min Return – 4 Days)
Serious hikers should set their sights on the stunning Mount Richmond Forest Park. You are spoiled for choice when it comes to multi-day tramping trails. For an easy walk, try the Lake Chalice Hut Tracks (2-hour return). The Pelorus Track (3-4 days), Old Man Circuit (2 days) and Chalice-Gouter Track (2-3 days) are all fantastic hikes incorporating alpine landscapes and ancient forest.
Location: There are multiple access roads along State Highway 6 between Blenheim and Nelson.
10. The Link Pathway, Picton to Whenuanui Bay Lookout (1h30min One Way)
Pictons latest hiking addition is definitely worth discovering even if the whole 42km (26-mile) track linking Picton to Havelock is not yet complete. Hike (or bike) in the forests of the Whenuanui Bay Scenic Reserve until you reach openings in the trees to reveal outstanding views of Queen Charlotte Sound. Until the full track is complete, we recommend walking to the two viewpoint benches overlooking Whenuanui Bay and returning the same way.
Location: The start of the Link Pathway is about 3km up Queen Charlotte Drive. Look out for an opening in the trees on your left side, with an offroad parking area 50m (55 yards) further up to your right. The pathway is easy to miss so keep an eye out!