What to Do in Havelock, the Greenshell Capital of New Zealand
There’s something for foodies, adventurous-types and even Lord of the Rings nerds in the little Marlborough town of Havelock. While the nearby towns of Blenheim and Picton are the more popular jaunts in this northern region of the South Island, it’s definitely worth getting off the beaten track to discover this beautiful little town on the edge of the Marlborough Sounds. Havelock has proximity to exciting hiking trails, the stunning Pelorus River, Pelorus and Kenepuru Sound, as well as greenshell mussel farms making Havelock have the proud title of the “Greenshell Mussell Capital”. Find out more about how you can experience this delicacy and much more in this list of things to do in Havelock!
1. Walk, Swim or Camp by the Pelorus River
While the Marlborough Sounds might get most of the attention for its stunning landscape, it’s worth also setting your sights on the stunning Pelorus River. While jet boating and kayaking are awesome ways to experience the river (more on those below), the Pelorus Bridge Campsite complete with a cafe and the many hiking trails is more ways to enjoy this hidden gem. Walks range from an easy 30-minute loop on the Tawa Walk to a 4-hour mission on the Daltons Track.
Location: State Highway 6, 18km west of Havelock
2. Visit the Havelock Museum
If you get caught on a rainy day or simply want to culture yourself, you can rely on the Havelock Museum for a quick visit. Set in a disused historic church, the museum holds an interesting collection of machinery from the 1890s gold rush. There’s also footage of a regional mascot, Pelorus Jack the dolphin, and all sorts of pioneering relics with information panels to read.
Location: 47 Main Road
3. Walk or Cycle the Link Pathway
Get spectacular views of the Marlborough Sounds on this community-built walkway and cycleway linking Havelock with Picton. The 42km trail starts soon after you cross the river onto Queen Charlotte Drive. The trail meanders through bush with plenty of uphills and downhills making it around a grade 3 difficulty for mountain bikers. The trail is yet to be completed, but a good chunks of it can still be enjoyed separately from the Picton side and the Havelock side. Find out more in Mountain Biking in Marlborough.
Location: From Havelock, the Link Pathway starts very soon after the river road bridge on Queen Charlotte Drive on the righthand side.
4. Go on a Greenshell Mussel Cruise
Mix local cuisine with spectacular scenery on the Greenshell Mussel Cruise with the Marlborough Tour Company. You’ll explore the Pelorus and Kenepuru Sound while being served freshly-steamed greenshell mussels accompanied by a glass of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. Stop by a mussel farm and learn how this seafood is farmed in Marlborough’s nutrient-rich waters.
Location: Havelock Marina
5. Do a Mail Boat Cruise of the Marlborough Sounds
Available on Sundays during the summer season, the Pelorus Mail Boat cruise gives a unique view into some of the Marlborough Sound’s less-visited nooks and crannies. The cruise includes a one-hour walk is Jacobs Bay, a lunch stop at a secluded lodge, a historic farm tour, a gannet colony viewing, a stop for a swim, a greenshell mussel farm tour and more.
Location: Havelock Marina
6. Take a Scenic Jet Boat Ride Down the Pelorus River
Experience the gourmet food 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 in between a two-course seafood lunch and wine tasting at some of Marlborough’s wineries. The tour does pick-ups from Havelock, Picton of Blenheim accommodation.
Location: Pick-up from your accommodation
7. Kayak in a Hobbit Filming Location
Enjoy the tranquillity and beauty of the Pelorus River on an inflatable kayak with Pelorus Eco Adventures. Your guide will take you to some of the filming locations used in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, as well as gaining an insight into the region’s milling and mining history. Learn more about this filming location in The Hobbit Location Guide.
Location: 48 Main Road
8. Walk the Cullen Point Tracks
Choose either a 10-minute or a 1-hour walk to view the breathtaking scenery across the Pelorus Sound, Mahau Sound and the town of Havelock at the Cullen Point Tracks. The tracks are easy to find at a well-signposted car park along Queen Charlotte Drive.
Location: Queen Charlotte Drive, 5.5km from Havelock
9. Check Out the Local Art Galleries
Be inspired by the local artists and their works on display at The Gallery in Havelock town and at the Shark Nett Gallery along Queen Charlotte Drive. The Gallery houses all sorts of artwork, from pounamu carvings to ceramics to prints. The Shark Nett Gallery is a Maori gallery with carvings where personal guided tours can be arranged.
Location: The Gallery – 60 Main Road. Shark Nett Gallery – 129 Queen Charlotte Drive.