The Best Things to Do in Blenheim
In the heart of New Zealand’s largest wine region, Blenheim is your “foodie” capital of New Zealand. It comes as no surprise that winery-hopping, tasting chocolate and visiting a unique beer garden features on this list of the best things to do in Blenheim.
Blenheim has heaps more attractions to keep you entertained while visiting the Marlborough region. The town holds a couple of fascinating and affordable museums while giving you plenty of options to enjoy the great outdoors in the various parks and reserves in the district. So take a look at our must-dos in Blenheim to make the most of your time here.
1. Taste Some Sauvignon Blanc at Blenheim’s Wineries
Tasting the region’s world-renowned Sauvignon Blanc is a must-do in Blenheim! Marlborough produces 75% of New Zealand’s wine with 85% of that being Sauvignon Blanc. With cellar doors found all over the district offering free tastings, there’s no excuse to not see what all the fuss is about. Learn more about it at 10 Best Wineries in Blenheim.
Location: Pick up a Marlborough Wine Trail map from any accommodation or i-SITE for a location of the region’s cellar doors.
2. Cycle Around Blenheim’s Wineries
On the subject of wine, the Blenheim area has more than 30 different wineries. That’s a lot to get through! To avoid drinking and driving, do a winery crawl by bike. Not only does this give you a bit of time to refresh between tastings (because, yes, most wineries offer free tastings), but it’s a cruisy way to get around quickly on the flat land. Bike hire operators in the region, like Explore Marlborough, offer self-guided and guided tours – find out more on Viator and Tripadvisor.
Location: Pick up a Marlborough Wine Trail map from any accommodation or i-SITE for a location of the region’s wineries. Otherwise, bike hire with Explore Marlborough is available from 193 Rapaura Road, approximately 16km (10 miles) from Blenheim town centre.
3. Jump on a Wine Tour
Ok, we promise this is the last time we’ll talk about wine, but you should at least know your options. Let someone else handle the driving or hire a bike so you can sample as many wines as you like guilt-free. There are many wine tours to book onto in Blenheim where your local guide will share their favourite wineries with you. Some of our recommendations are Sounds Connection (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor), Marlborough Wine Tours (on Viator and Tripadvisor) and Explore Marlborough (on Viator and Tripadvisor). See the 10 Excellent Wine Tours in New Zealand for more information.
Location: Accommodation pick-ups are included in the above tours.
4. Hike or Bike in Wither Hills Farm Park
This working cattle and sheep farm situated in the southern boundaries of Blenheim gives you the opportunity to take in some spectacular views of the surrounding hills, vineyards and town. There are a number of walking tracks in the Wither Hills Farm Park ranging in length. There is also a dedicated mountain bike park with single tracks graded 2 to 4. Both walking and biking tracks are well-signposted from the main entrance.
Location: The main entrance is at Rifle Range Place off Taylor Pass Road, approximately 5km (3 miles) from Blenheim town centre. Other accesses include: Taylor Pass Road, Forest Hills Drive, Weld Street, Fyffe Street, Redwood Street, Dry Hills Lane or Cob Cottage Road.
5. Check Out the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre
See vintage aircraft in vivid scenes at this unique display of rare original and replica aircraft at the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre. Static scenes have been put together by movie giants Sir Peter Jackson, Wingnut Films and Weta Studios. This museum like no other allows visitors to learn about the evolution of aviation along with stories from some of the first pilots to fly them. Find out more on Viator and Tripadvisor.
Location: 79 Aerodrome Road, Omaka, approximately 5.5km (3.4 miles) from Blenheim town centre.
6. Relax in the “Biergarten”
Dodson Street is Blenheim’s famous beer garden which boasts the largest selection of craft beers in New Zealand. With a menu of German, Italian and Kiwi influences and more funky seating areas than you can shake a stick at, there are plenty of options to keep coming back for more. Sit at the “worst seat in the house” for a discount!
Location: 1 Dodson Street, Blenheim.
7. Take a Look Around the Marlborough Museum
When first arriving in Blenheim, there’s no better introduction to the region than the Marlborough Museum to gain some perspective. Learn the ins and outs of New Zealand’s largest wine-making region, the fascinating story and Maori artefacts from New Zealand’s earliest settlement, and about the lives of the region’s pioneers.
Location: 26 Arthur Baker Place, Redwoodtown, approximately 2.8km (1.7 miles) from Blenheim town centre.
8. Take a Stroll in Pollard Park
Every large town has a go-to garden and Pollard Park is Blenheim’s. This pretty park is a local’s favourite with 26ha (64 acres) of wooded parkland and gardens. Stroll through rose gardens, a floral garden, the rhododendron dell, the scented garden and more!
Location: Parker Street or McLauchlan Street, approximately 1.5km (0.9 miles) from Blenheim town centre.
9. Visit a Chocolate Factory
Nestled in the vineyard country is Marlborough’s very own chocolate factory. Go to Makana Confections for some free chocolate tastings and to watch the chocolatiers at work through huge windows looking into the chocolate factory.
Location: The corner of Rapaura & O’Dwyers Roads, approximately 8km (5 miles) from Blenheim town centre.
10. Hang Out At Harling Park
If you can’t get enough of the parks in Blenheim, then give Harling Park a go! The Japanese theme provides a charming environment for walks, picnicking or just hanging out. The park also provides access to Wither Hills Farm Park (see above).
Location: Howick Road, approximately 4km (2.5 miles) from Blenheim town centre.
11. Go to the Marlborough Wine and Food Festival
A day of food, wine and live music: what’s not to love? New Zealand’s biggest wine festival is a must-go if it coincides with your trip to Blenheim. Usually held for one day in February, the Marlborough Food & Wine Festival has heaps of entertainment, from aviation shows to celebrity chef cooking demonstrations. For more information on festivals in New Zealand, check out How to Volunteer for a Festival in New Zealand.
Location: Brancott Vineyard, approximately 11km (6.8 miles) from Blenheim town centre.
12. Do a Jet Boat Wine Tasting Tour
Experience the gourmet cuisine of the Marlborough region in a unique and exciting way with a private jet boat tour with Pelorus Jet. Enjoy a thrilling ride through the Pelorus Sound and Pelorus River, complete with 360° spins and near-misses. Plus, because you’re in the wine and foodie capital of New Zealand, the tour wouldn’t be a Marlborough tour without a seafood lunch and wine tasting at some of Marlboroughs wineries. Ok, we broke our promise; we had to talk about wine in Blenheim one last time! Find out more about the experience on Viator and Tripadvisor.
Location: Pick-up available from your Blenheim accommodation.
13. Check Out One of the Nearby Towns
Blenheim might be the biggest hub of the Marlborough region, but this corner of the South Island has a few other amazing towns worth venturing to. Visit the Greenshell Capital of New Zealand, Havelock, to cruise through the Pelorus Sound, hike along the Pelorus River and, of course, try its famous greenshell mussels. There’s also the harbour town of Picton with a huge range of water adventures to choose from in the stunning Marlborough Sounds. Start planning your visit with our 9 Fun Things to Do in Havelock and 10 Epic Things to Do in Picton.
Location: Hacklock is 40km (25 miles) north of Blenheim. Picton is 28km (17 miles) north of Blenheim.