At the north-eastern tip of the South Island you’ll find Marlborough, one of New Zealand’s most celebrated wine regions known for its outstanding Sauvignon Blanc. The seaport of Picton is the gateway to the sheltered, drowned valleys of the Marlborough Sounds, of which there are four – Queen Charlotte, Kenepuru, Pelorus, and Mahau. Head to this extensive network of peninsulas, islands and coastal waterways to enjoy breathtaking views over the sea and green mountains, as well as activities including boating, fishing, diving and wildlife viewing – you may even be lucky enough to spot dolphins.
We highly recommend a trip to the enchanting seaside town of Kaikoura; it’s just a two-hour drive down the east coast from Picton, and three hours north of the South Island’s main city, Christchurch. Kaikoura is overlooked by majestic mountains and is a fantastic place to visit if you’re looking for a magical wildlife experience – its coastal waters are home to albatross and dusky dolphins, and it’s also a great place for watching Giant Sperm Whales.