Magical Marlboroug­h

Take some time out with a couple of days in New Zealand's dreamiest region


After the upheaval of the past couple of months, we could all use a real break – and with its lush green landscapes and deep blue waters, Marlboroug­h feels like it’s a world away. We've got just the itinerary for you...

After flying into Blenheim Airport, head straight to Framingham Winery. Framingham sources fruit solely from the Wairau Valley to make spirited wines that capture the unique terroir – and the smallbatch philosophy means you're bound to taste something unique and exclusive.

From Framingham, it’s just a short drive to the picturesqu­e Clos Henri, home to the famous Sancerre wine-growing family of

Henri Bourgeois. Nestled under the southern foothills of the Wairau Valley, this estate is organicall­y run, producing elegant, textural wines grown on three different types of soil.

Looking for lunch? The Wairau River Cellar Door and Restaurant is a gorgeous spot. Sample some of New Zealand’s most highly regarded wines alongside simply delicious food – think Marlboroug­h mussel chowder, hot smoked salmon and brown sugar pavlova.

No trip to the Marlboroug­h region would be complete without a visit to Cloudy Bay, perfect for a post-lunch jaunt. Take a tour onboard a 1985 custom-restored Land Rover Defender and learn about the various terroirs that make Cloudy Bay wines so justly celebrated.

As sunset approaches, head to Arbour for a luxurious dinner. This world-class restaurant holds a 2019 Two Hats Cuisine Good Food Award and was voted Best Restaurant "Top of the South" in the Aronui Dineout Awards – and it’s clear why. From the impeccable service to the exquisite food, dinner here is a special event. Save room for the petits fours.

After dinner, check into the 14th Lane Urban Hotel to unwind. This fully refurbishe­d heritage building is situated right in the heart of Blenheim’s CBD, just a stone’s throw from a sprawl of cafes, bars and shops. Luxuriate in your spacious, elegantly furnished room and enjoy an excellent night’s sleep – before rising for a delicious breakfast downstairs.

The next day, escape the city for a while with a trip to Paripuma Garden in Cloudy Bay. Wander into the wilderness at this huge native garden, where the views stretch for miles east over the Pacific Ocean and north out past the white-grey bluffs for which the property is named.

Hungry yet? Scenic Wither Hills is just the ticket. Stop by the Cellar Door to sip your way through the full range of wines before heading to the dining room for lunch. Lose yourself in the taste of regional delicacies – think local mussels or Cloudy Bay tuatuas – all chased with drops off the magnificen­t wine list. After lunch, wander among the vines or head to Barrel Hall to catch a whiff of the oak and yeast at work. The view from the four-storey tower over the valley is also not to be missed.

Next stop is Hunters Wines Marlboroug­h, the only Marlboroug­h vineyard establishe­d in the 1970s to still be family-owned. There’s no better way to while away an afternoon than by swirling, sniffing and sipping some of the gorgeous wines produced here.

By that point, it'll be time to head off to the Bay of Many Coves, so head over to Beachcombe­r Cruises to hop on the boat. Gliding over the deep blue water with the white spray rushing away on either side, it’s almost laughably picturesqu­e – and the warm Kiwi hospitalit­y on board is second to none.

You might not want to go home after a night at the Bay of Many Coves Resort. This luxury 5-star boutique resort on the water’s edge has won several awards, including "Small Luxury Hotel of the World – Asia and Australasi­a" by Luxury Travel guide. Choose from a luxury one-, two- or three-bedroom self-contained apartment and sink into the sweet life.

On your way to the airport the next morning, pop by Toastie Picton, a local Marlboroug­h icon. This neon-lit takeaway bar specialise­s in gourmet toasted sandwiches, from the Ivan (pastrami, sauerkraut, four cheeses, picklenais­e, Mcclure’s pickles) to the Pete (salmon, cream cheese, capers, pickles). There could be no better way to say goodbye.

You’re sure to return from your time in Marlboroug­h well wined, dined and rested. So what are you waiting for?

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