WHERE I’D RATHER BE: MARL­BOR­OUGH

Herald on Sunday - - SUNDAY TRAVEL - Mag­gie Wicks mag­gie.wicks@nzme.co.nz

WHERE TO EAT

In the small town of Renwick, just out­side Blen­heim, Ar­bour of­fers some very pretty contempora­ry dishes — think wild fen­nel but­ter, crispy duck leg, and whipped cheese­cake to fin­ish — as colour­ful as a tiny work of art. ar­bour.co.nz

The Fore­deck Restau­rant is a fine-din­ing spot at­tached to Bay of Many Coves re­sort. The restau­rant is a very ro­man­tic spot re­served for adults and in­sists on a dress code — no po­lar fleece thank you. bay­of­many­coves.co.nz

Wairau River is one of Marl­bor­ough’s old­est and largest fam­ily-owned winer­ies. The fam­ily tra­di­tion con­tin­ues at the Cel­lar Door restau­rant — it is run by one daugh­ter and the other daugh­ter is head chef. Choose be­tween the sunny lawn, a shel­tered ve­randa or the fire­side in­doors, and dine on lo­cal and sea­sonal bistro fare — as well as the es­tate’s award-win­ning wines. wairau­river­wines.com

WHERE TO DRINK

This is the old­est es­tab­lished wine re­gion in New Zealand, so you’re going to be spoilt for choice, with dozens of cel­lar doors through­out the re­gion.

Scotch Wine Bar is in the mid­dle of Blen­heim. There’s a shar­ing menu, a wine bar and shop, and a huge lo­cal wine list to en­joy. They also hold reg­u­lar tast­ings to sam­ple re­gional or vine­yard ranges, for which you can buy tick­ets. scotch­bar.co.nz

Just out­side Blen­heim, Wither Hills of­fers cel­lar door tast­ings ($5, re­fund­able with the pur­chase of a bottle), Marl­bor­ough plat­ters and an ev­er­chang­ing restau­rant menu, and cy­cling tours through the vine­yard. with­er­hills.co.nz

Moa Beer was founded by wine­maker Josh Scott (the Scott fam­ily planted their first vines in Marl­bor­ough in the 1970s), and the busi­ness of­fers a cel­lar door for craft beer lovers.

You can taste beers and ciders, and there are reg­u­lar guest food trucks. moabeer.com

In Pic­ton, Seu­mus' is the place for a knees-up — the only Ir­ish pub in town, with a garden to en­joy out­side and a dart­board in­side. At this time of the year, you may pre­fer the Ir­ish cof­fee, mulled wine and the fire­side. se­u­musirish­bar.co.nz

WHERE TO STAY

His­toric Furneaux Lodge, built in the early 1900s, sits at the head of En­deav­our In­let, in 800ha of na­tive bush. There are no roads — you’ll need to catch the boat here if you can’t afford a he­li­copter. As well as the mix­ture of rooms to suit many bud­gets, Furneaux of­fers ac­cess to the wa­ter and bush sur­rounds — there are kayaks to bor­row, wildlife cruises, glow-worm caves to ex­plore and the Queen Char­lotte Track runs prac­ti­cally past the bot­tom of the garden. furneaux.co.nz

Pic­ton’s Es­cape to Pic­ton is a charm­ing bou­tique op­tion in a for­mer bank build­ing on the wa­ter­front. There are just three bed­rooms to choose from, and a restau­rant down­stairs that serves only lo­cal pro­duce. es­capetopic­ton.com

Clock­wise from top left: A view of Pic­ton from the Tiro­hanga Track; Bik­ing in Marl­bor­ough; His­toric Furneaux Lodge, Marl­bor­ough Sounds; Walk­ing the Queen Char­lotte track. Pho­tos / Sup­plied and Mike Hey­don

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