Picton is a pretty port town that carries its own charm and magnificent seaside views, but its real claim to fame is as the gateway to two of New Zealand’s most beloved tourist destinations: the Marlborough wine region and surrounding Marlborough Sounds.
Named after a military an associate of the Duke of Wellington who was killed during the Battle of Waterloo, Picton is the main link between the country’s North and South islands – with a frequently scheduled ferry service from Wellington across the Cook Strait taking around three hours. Settled in a sheltered harbour, Picton offers an attractive seafront scattered with restaurants, cafes and a variety of galleries as well as a floating maritime museum and impressive aquarium.
The town is also steeped in history from early Maori traditions to the first landing of Captain James Cook who established nearby Ship Cove as his base in search of provisions on his voyage of discovery. Picton provides a convenient hub for exploring some of the country’s most renowned vineyards as part of Picton wine tours as well as the marine, forest and inland attraction of the famed Marlbourough Sounds.
The waters are home to an amazing variety of marine, including five different species of dolphin, Orca, seals, penguins and visiting Hump Back Whales. Inland, meanwhile, there are numerous hiking trails between the native forests and white sand beaches.
Aside from taking wine tours from Picton, no visit to New Zealand’s South Island would be complete without experiencing the breathtaking Marlborough Sounds; an extensive network of sea-drowned valleys covering 4,000km 2 of sounds, islands and peninsulas that make up one fifth of the country’s entire coastline. Picton is located at the head of the largest Queen Charlotte Sound, which is surrounded by steep, wooded hills and small quiet bays with views straight from a picture postcard. The region can also claim New Zealand’s sunniest climate, lending itself to a range of sea faring activities such as boat cruises, fishing trips, dolphin watching and sea kayaking.
The waters are home to an amazing variety of marine, including five different species of dolphin, Orca, seals, penguins and visiting Hump Back Whales. Inland, meanwhile, there are numerous hiking trails between the native forests and white sand beaches. The Queen Charlotte Track is one New Zealand’s most famous walks, taking in the stunning coastal scenery across a 71km trail that can be walked or travelled on a bicycle – while water taxis provide easy drop off and pick up points along the way.
Marlborough is New Zealand’s largest and most influential wine region, credited with bringing New Zealand wines to the attention of international audiences with the release of its classic Sauvignon Blanc in the 1990s – which is still regarded by some critics as the finest in the world.Wine tours from Picton can visit many of the 141 wineries that are spread over 20,000 hectares of this vast region that accounts for almost 80% of New Zealand’s entire wine production.
Picton wine tours travel to wineries ranging from some of the most recognisable exported brands such as Cloudy Bay Vineyards, Brancott Estate and Oyster Bay to small boutique estates producing premium hand-crafted wines. Sauvignon Blanc still dominates plantings, but Marlbourough also produces some impressive Chardonnay, Riesling and quality Pinot Noir, as well as sparkling wines made using the same ‘methode traditionelle’ technique as Champagne – all of which can be sampled on the best wine tours Picton has to offer.
If you are interested in Picton wine tour packages, contact our local expert to organise exclusive bespoke experiences across the Marlbourough region – including elaborate tastings, luxury stays, fine dining experiences and a range of unique outdoor activities.
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