Indoor and All-weather Activities in Picton
Picton marks the beginning and the end of a South Island adventure for many travellers, but don’t let a rainy day put a damper on the occasion. The small town on the edge of the Marlborough Sounds and wine region still offers plenty of all-weather attractions, from sipping on local wines to scenic train journeys. Of course, the museums, restaurants and cinema always provide a rainy day alternative to usual cruises, hikes and mountain bike trails.
So check out some indoor and all-weather attractions in this list of things to do in Picton on a rainy day.
1. Tour the Marlborough Wine Region
When in New Zealand’s largest wine region, it would almost be a crime not to do a wine tour! Make a rainy day the day you decide to hit the wineries of Marlborough and taste some of the famous Sauvignon Blanc. What’s more, you won’t have to worry about finding a designated driver as wine tours are available with Sounds Connection or Marlborough Wine Tours from Picton. They’ll pick you up from your accommodation and take you to a selection of cellar doors and wineries, as well as provide commentary about the wine region and perhaps visit a craft brewery and a chocolate factory. Alternatively, private personalised wine tours are an option with Hop n Grape Wine Tours Marlborough or make things more affordable and flexible with Hop on Hop off Wine Tours. Check out more experiences like these in the 7 Things to Do in Picton for Foodies.
Location: Tours pick-up from Picton accommodations, except Hop on Hop off Wine Tours who depart from the Picton i-SITE, The Foreshore, Picton town.
2. Visit the Picton Heritage & Whaling Museum
Of course, you can also rely on a museum for a rainy day activity! The Picton Heritage and Whaling Museum is a cheap all-weather attraction with historical collections from Picton and the Marlborough Sounds. Check out artefacts dating back to the 1700s, from early Maori settlement to the area’s whaling history. We also feature this museum in the 10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Picton.
Location: 9 London Quay, Picton town centre.
3. See the Edwin Fox Historical Ship at its Museum
Another interesting museum in Picton and rainy day saviour, the Edwin Fox Maritime Museum is the home of the world’s oldest surviving merchant ship at 160 years old. Stand behind the hull of this grand ship to experience its scale and learn about the vessel’s fascinating and controversial history carrying cargo and people at this unique museum. There is a small entry fee to this museum.
Location: Dunbar Wharf, Picton town.
4. Ride the Marlborough Flyer Steam Train
More all-weather historical activities can be experienced on the Marlborough Flyer, a 1915 steam train experience. Visit the neighbouring city of Blenheim after a one-hour scenic railway journey through wetlands, across the Wairau River, through a valley of vineyards. You’ll have time to explore the town before the journey back to the Picton Railway Station. Check out some activities there in the 10 Amazing Things to Do in Blenheim.
Location: Picton Railway Station, 3A-B Auckland Street, Picton town.
5. Indulge in a Relaxing Spa Treatment
A rainy day in Picton might be a good excuse to hit the pause button and indulge in a spa treatment. In town, Little Oasis offers massages, facials and an infrared sauna – all in a soothing environment with hot towels, blissful sounds, relaxing candles and aromas. Out in the Queen Charlotte Sound, guests and visitors to the Bay of Many Coves are treated to their on-site Miritu Day Spa, who specialise in New Zealand-sourced botanicals and essential oils. See more experiences like this in the 8 Luxury Activities in Picton.
Location: Little Oasis – 53 Durham Street, Picton town. Bay of Many Coves – Bay of Many Coves, Queen Charlotte Sound, accessible by water taxi.
6. Take a Trip to the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre
Although not strictly in Picton, this is a nearby all-weather attraction that we can’t resist telling you about. The Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre in the neighbouring city of Blenheim showcases World War One and Two aircraft displayed in vivid static scenes that look like something out of a war movie, as they are created by the famous Weta Workshop. There are two separate exhibitions to explore, as well as an on-site cafe. We also list this in the 10 Things to Do in Picton with Kids.
Location: 79 Aerodrome Road, Omaka, Blenheim, approximately 34km (21 miles) from Picton.
7. Take the Coastal Pacific Train
One of New Zealand’s scenic train journeys departs right here from Picton. The Coastal Pacific is a train ride between Picton and Christchurch, taking you along rugged coastline, remote beaches and to the backdrop of mountain scenery. All of this scenery can be admired from the large windows of the carriages or in the outdoors of the open-air viewing carriage. The train also stops at the towns of Blenheim and Kaikoura. Learn more in our guide to the Train Network in New Zealand.
Location: Picton Railway Station, 3A-B Auckland Street, Picton town.
8. Swim with Dolphins
With the idea that you’re going to get wet anyway, why not choose a rainy day to try dolphin swimming in Picton? Slip into the water with wild dolphins on a cruise with E-Ko Tours where your professional guides will teach you how to best interact with the dolphins for a mutually fun experience. With sheltered waters, the Queen Charlotte Sound is one of the best spots for swimming with its pods of bottlenose and dusky dolphins if you’re prone to seasickness, even if it’s a bit drizzly.
Location: 1 Wellington Street, Picton town centre.
9. Watch a Movie
Ok, so this might be a rather unimaginative suggestion, but it still certainly counts! Despite being a small town, Picton does indeed have a cinema. Picton Cinemas is a three-screen boutique cinema showing blockbuster and art house films. While you sit down for a movie, indulge in a snack, coffee or something else from their cafe.
Location: The Foreshore, Picton town.
10. Grab a Bite at Picton’s Restaurants, Cafes and Takeaways
Picton offers a relaxed range of restaurants, cafes and takeaways, which offer Kiwi crowd-pleasers sheltered from the elements. For instance, for breakfast or lunch, check out Gusto for all sorts of naughty treats like French toast with bacon, banana and maple syrup and other cafe crowd-pleasers. DA’s The Barn is a popular option serving good honest Kiwi-style food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Escape to Picton‘s Restaurant is Picton’s closest thing to fine dining with well-presented plates of contemporary New Zealand and French cuisine. And for a classic and casual pub atmosphere with excellent views across the Picton Marina, check out Oxley’s Bar and Kitchen. For links to more recommendations, check out The Foodie Guide to Picton.
Location: Gusto – 33 High Street. DA’s The Barn – 48 High Street. Escape to Picton’s Restaurant – 33 Wellington Street. Oxley’s Bar and Kitchen – 1 Wellington Street.