Nelson & Marlborough

It was Marlborough’s Sauvignon Blanc that first put the region on the map. And since the 1980s, it has grown to be one of the most celebrated wine-producing areas in the world. Throw in quiet beaches, a handful of natural wonders, and some lively towns, and you have one of the country’s best-loved regions.

With more hours of sunshine than anywhere in the country, Marlborough’s idyllic vineyards recline in the shade of Richmond Range with wineries speckling the banks of the Wairau River. Most offer excellent tours, gourmet restaurants, and even accommodation.

Earning its reputation as one of New Zealand’s prettiest regions, Marlborough drifts from rolling green to a sumptuous coast, with breathtaking natural attractions like the famous Marlborough Sounds. Deep, flooded valleys spread in a series of picture-perfect bays, tiny islands, and rugged peninsulas.

A proportion of the Sounds are working farms due to the high concentration of salmon and mussels, and much of it can only be explored by water; the perfect excuse for a luxury eco-boat tour. Mussel cruises offer the freshest seafood accompanied by Sauvignon Blanc as you relax on the water, and wildlife-spotting tours let you explore the hidden nooks and islets and look for the rare Hectors Dolphin.

A boat trip out to the remote Tui Nature Reserve includes a conservation tour on the reserve’s hectares of national trust land, where you can see endemic species such as the Blue Penguin and Fluttering Shearwaters. The reserve is packed with walking trails, charming little beaches, and even accommodation lodges – it’s no wonder it’s considered a top 10 eco destination in the world.

The South Island’s oldest city, Nelson, is a popular destination with Abel Tasman National Park for its picturesque location and pleasant climate. It’s handy for wine tours and close to a number of beaches, but you may want to spend some time in the city itself. A community of painters and artists have created a vibrant and infectious atmosphere that earns it a reputation as the jewel of the South.

Experience one of the top wine regions on the planet with a luxury tour of Marlborough. Using Lightfoot’s concierge-style service, you can design the perfect itinerary that is tailor-made for you.

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