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Things to do in

Picton

Our most recommended things to do in Picton

Queen Charlotte Sound Mail Boat Cruise from Picton

1. Queen Charlotte Sound Mail Boat Cruise from Picton

Climb aboard the only official licensed New Zealand Post Rural Delivery Service by water in the Queen Charlotte Sound for a truly unique and interesting tour! Join in the excitement of Mail Day as the skipper delivers the New Zealand Rural post bags, groceries and freight to the residents that call the Queen Charlotte Sound waterways home. The Mail has been delivered by boat for over 150 years in the Queen Charlotte Sounds. Admire Marlborough Sounds' magnificent scenery and take a glimpse into daily life in the remote outposts of this region. Operating from Monday to Saturday, no one day is the same. The route changes daily, covering a different area and delivering the mail. During your cruise your skipper will provide interesting and informative commentary on the history of the Marlborough Sounds and the people who lived there then and now. Feel free to ask questions and keep your camera handy for any wildlife encounters.

Marlborough Sounds and Ship Cove Cruise from Picton

2. Marlborough Sounds and Ship Cove Cruise from Picton

Navigate the magnficent waterways of Marlborough Sounds on a morning boat tour, departing from the Picton waterfront. Cruise up through the Queen Charlotte Sound to historical Ship Cove. Warm up with tea and coffee and listen to live commentary on regional historical and natural landmarks. Keep a lookout for marine life such as little blue penguins and Hector’s dolphins — considered the rarest marine dolphin in the world. After about an hour’s journey, your boat drops anchor at Ship Cove. Step ashore for 30 minutes and discover the inlet named by Captain James Cook on 15 January 1770. The Endeavour was anchored here to replenish supplies and the spot became a favourite anchorage of Captain Cook. Dabble in the creek where Captain Cook made home brew for his crew and share the beach with the resident wildlife. Have your photo taken beside the Captain Cook Monument commemorating his visits to this area. Or, just relax and enjoy the tranquil surrounds.

Picton: Dolphin Watching & Island Wildlife Sanctuary Cruise

3. Picton: Dolphin Watching & Island Wildlife Sanctuary Cruise

Embark on a unique, fully-guided wildlife and dolphin cruise through the Marlborough Sounds. Begin your journey in Picton, where you will meet the expert team who will take you on a conservation-focused, wildlife adventure for your soul. On the journey, you will be encountering a huge variety of rare, wonderful and interesting species along the way. Enjoy the engaging commentary and fantastic viewing areas which allow you to enjoy playful Hector’s, Bottlenose, or Dusky Dolphins with a 90 percent encounter rate. You will also have an opportunity to see New Zealand fur seals and numerous seabirds before landing on Motuara Island for a 1-hour nature lover’s walk to remember, great for adults and kids alike. After returning to the boat, sit back and relax with a hot drink and cookies before making our way back to Picton and stopping to check out any extra species you can discover.

Queen Charlotte Sound: Scenic Cruise & Lunch

4. Queen Charlotte Sound: Scenic Cruise & Lunch

Meet your local guide in the morning before boarding your cruise and setting off. Admire the views of Queen Charlotte Sound, or Tōtaranui, as you travel through the ancient, drowned valley. Catch a glimpse of the local marine wildlife before arriving at Endeavour Inlet just in time for lunch. Choose your food from the set menu, which includes stone-baked pizzas. Eat outside on the jetty overlooking the inlet, or inside the cosy café for colder days. Explore the grounds with a short walk, or sit on the beach and drink in the views until it’s time to meet the local supplier back at the jetty for your scenic cruise home at around 3.15 pm.

Queen Charlotte Sound Cruise with Lunch

5. Queen Charlotte Sound Cruise with Lunch

Board your boat in the morning to take a relaxing cruise through Queen Charlotte Sound, or Tōtaranui. Take in the stunning views of the ancient, drowned valley and catch a glimpse of the local marine wildlife. Arrive at Endeavour Inlet just in time for lunch at a 3-star Marlborough Sounds resort. Choose from the set menu and enjoy your lunch on the sweeping lawn overlooking the sound or inside the cosy, historic, homestead restaurant. Explore the grounds with a short walk, or simply drink in the views before meeting the local supplier at the jetty for your scenic cruise home at approximately 3 pm.

Queen Charlotte Track: Cruise & Self-Guided Hike from Picton

6. Queen Charlotte Track: Cruise & Self-Guided Hike from Picton

Cruise through the Queen Charlotte Sound to walk part of the Queen Charlotte Track, one of the top ten coastal walking tracks in New Zealand. Your self-guided adventure starts with a cruise north from Picton to the historic Ship Cove. Here you can learn about the local area from your skipper, whilst on the lookout for marine wildlife. You will be able to choose between the following two hikes: Furneaux Lodge to Punga Cove Your first hike opportunity will be from Furneaux Lodge to Punga Cove, a 12.7-kilometer hike. You can enjoy 30-minutes ashore at the historic Ship Cove before rejoining the vessel and cruising around to Furneaux Lodge where you can grab a coffee or even brunch. Begin your self-guided hike along the Queen Charlotte Track, where you will learn that this area is rich in history and follows the coastline around the Endeavour Inlet through regenerating native bush to the Punga Cove Resort.  Ship Cove to Furneaux Lodge This hike provides you with the opportunity to hike from Ship Cove to Furneaux Lodge, a trail of 15 kilometers. You will arrive at Ship Cove where you'll begin your self-guided hike of the Queen Charlotte Track. You can climb away from the beach as you pass through native forest regenerating beneath a high canopy of trees. You will then be able to admire stunning views of the sound when you reach Tawa Saddle. The track then drops into Resolution Bay and follows an old bridle path into Endeavour Inlet to Furneaux Lodge. After your walk, you'll have time to relax before boarding your cruise vessel around 4:00 PM for your return boat journey to Picton with an estimated arrival time of 5:30-6:00 PM.

Picton and Marlborough Sounds: Seafood Odyssea Cruise

7. Picton and Marlborough Sounds: Seafood Odyssea Cruise

Stroll aboard the vessel at Picton Marina to cruise the pristine waters of the Marlborough Sounds. Indulge in some fresh, locally-caught seafood, including Regal salmon, Cloudy Bay clams and Greenshell mussels, perfectly paired with a glass of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc for the ultimate food/wine match.  Relax and enjoy the natural beauty of the Queen Charlotte Sound while cruising aboard our luxury launch, and learn about the local history and marine farming industry. Make use of the on board licensed bar, serving a good range of Marlborough wines, along with beers, juice and bottled water. A range of light snacks, including chips and peanuts, are available to purchase. Enjoy the boat's indoor and outdoor areas for views of the forested hills and clear blue waters from different perspectives. Then, journey back to Picton Marina for an estimated arrival time of 16:30.  

Marlborough Half-Day Wine Tour from Blenheim

8. Marlborough Half-Day Wine Tour from Blenheim

Discover the flavors of Marlborough on a half-day small-group tour. Be picked up from your Blenheim accommodation and travel through the scenic beauty of the Marlborough vineyards. Collection from Picton is available at a small surcharge per group. Relax in a luxury minibus as your guide shares insight into the region’s history and world famous wines. You will visit five cellar doors on this tour from famous internationally branded cellar doors to boutique family-run wineries. Requests for particular wineries will be accommodated where possible.  Stroll through a vineyard with your guide. Learn about the region’s unique conditions and the challenges wine makers must overcome. A table for lunch at a cellar door restaurant can be booked for you for an additional cost. Sample hand-made chocolates at the local Chocolate Factory. Your tour will end with your safe delivery back to your hotel around 3 PM. 

Private Shore Excursion from Picton: Marlborough Highlights

9. Private Shore Excursion from Picton: Marlborough Highlights

The Port of Picton in the Queen Charlotte Sound welcomes cruise ships through-out the season. Just 25 minutes south of Picton your local chauffeur will take you on a scenic journey to enjoy the famous Marlborough wines.   Your personal tour offers great flexibility to combine your favourite requests  with a local chauffeur's recommendations of the area. Enjoy a full wine tour experience or mix with other Marlborough gourmet and local attractions. On arrival into the Blenheim countryside of the Wairau Valley you can start tasting some sensational wines before a relaxing break for brunch, lunch or afternoon refreshment (at your own cost) applicable to your ships schedule.  A popular choice could be a light tapas platter of mouth-watering cheese, meats and seafood with matching wines at a picturesque winery spot or while you overlook the Valley views of vineyards and the surrounding landscapes. More wine tasting could follow or try some of the local gourmet oils, liqueurs, local cheeses, garlic noir, peanut butters, Manuka honey or a refreshing gelato. Your itinerary could vary depending on some of the options you choose on the day. Some exciting options you could consider could be a visit to an award winning garden, a visit to a renowned local artist’s personal gallery, a visit to another special artisan gallery and the opportunity to see the pet sheep.  You could also choose a visit to the Omaka Aviation Museum to view Peter Jackson’s classic air craft displays from WW1 and WW2 .  A must stop is the Makana Boutique Chocolate Confections – a tasty treat  not to be missed. Some activities will be subject to availability on the day if not pre-booked and  any entry fees may be payable to the organizer on the day. When you have booked please ask about these options and they can be pre-booked for you. Once back in Picton you may like to take in the breath-taking views overlooking the Port of Picton, Queen Charlotte Sound and your ship. You will travel in a comfortable vehicle of up to six or 9 seats to suit the single traveller, couples and friends.  Your local chauffeur is a local owner who has great passion for Marlborough and would look forward to sharing it with you.

Onshore Highlights of Marlborough's Wine Region from Picton

10. Onshore Highlights of Marlborough's Wine Region from Picton

The Port of Picton in the Queen Charlotte Sound welcomes cruise ships throughout the season and it is a lovely seaside spot to explore. Just 25 minutes south of Picton, your tour takes you on a scenic journey to enjoy the famous Marlborough wine and gourmet region. The most popular highlights of the day are wine tasting, sampling local gourmet treats and the spectacular scenic routes of the vineyards, Wairau Plains, mountain ranges and farmlands while traveling to and from the most beautiful winery gardens and cellar doors. Experience gourmet treats of cheese tasting, manuka honey, oils, liqueurs, a refreshing gelato or decadent fudge. Seasonal produce is also available at roadside stalls from December through to February. You can take these aboard but must eat them before you disembark. Juicy strawberries, cherries, apricots and nectarines. Although your cruise ship caters well for you, a light tapas or cheese/meat/seafood platter with matching wines is a great way to experience the local cuisine. Your local chauffeur/guide arranges a picturesque winery garden or a chateau high on a hill with magnificent views for your pleasure. If time allows you can also request a stop at the Omaka Aviation Air Centre where you can view Peter Jackson’s amazing displays of his classic aircraft of WW1 and WW2.  The tour can continue and your chauffeur/guide will return for you to join the rest of the group within 1-2 hours. A fabulous memorabilia shop is also there for you along with delicious cafe treats. Generally tours last around 4-5 hours but flexibility is given for each ships schedule and the tour caters for passengers comfort and requirements.  Travel in comfortable small personal vehicles of 6, 9 or 11 seats and will return at least 2 hours prior to your ship's scheduled departure. Before leaving Blenheim you should visit the Makana Boutique Chocolate Confections – a treat not to be missed. For a highlight to end a wonderful day when you arrive back in Picton, why not take advantage of a short 15 minute return drive from the township to the Victoria Domain for high vantage views of Picton Port, Queen Charlotte Sound and your ship. Your local chauffeur/guide is a local owner who has great passion for the Marlborough region and looks forward to sharing it all with you. 

Other Sightseeing Options in Picton

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What people are saying about Picton

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 292 reviews

on the ride out to ship cove we saw dolphins and the guide gave us plenty of time to see them and managed to position the boat so we could all get amazing photos.

The most wonderful experience. The skipper had so much knowledge, it made for an incredibly interesting journey. Thanks Beachcombers

Very knowledgeable skipper. Taking in the scenery from a different point of view was great.

Most amazing experience the guides were top notch Thanku Andy and courtney

we saw dolphin. ,any sea birds and rare birds on the island