Blenheim is a town along the Marlborough Region in the South Island that is blessed with abundant vineyards and the best wines produced on this side of New Zealand. It has a beautiful climate and close to an island where there are lots of activities to do like; sailing, boating, fishing, nature hikes, and vineyard tours. One of the best ways to maximize your stay in Blenheim is to discover the best winemakers of the city. Topping the list is the wine estate of the Cloudy Bay in Rapaura. Cloudy Bay is definitely one of the best-known wine producers in New Zealand.
They have a thriving industry and most of their wines are offered with longer storage periods, these well preserved and aged wines also makes them one of the most expensive. It can be found in a beautiful building with an outdoor area where you can relax, enjoy wine, and view the entire city of Blenheim.
When To Go:
Planning a vacation or tour of Blenheim requires considering what type of season best suits your travel plans and things to do. There are plenty of outdoor activities to discover, but the first priority is when to come and explore the wonderful features of this city. The country is situated along the rugged island in the South Pacific Ocean. This signifies that the weather is a bit erratic and relies heavily on the movement of the tides, humidity, and the air coming from the ocean. The reality is, it can be visited any time of the year, but to be specific the months and what weather to expect are broken down below to help you decide when the best time to visit Blenheim is.
Summer season starts from December to January. These outdoor paradise and its beaches are filled with vacationers around these months. Hiking expeditions, biking trails in the forest, and enjoying the sun, are just a few of the things to do on this sunny atmosphere.
Autumn season starts from March to May. If you’re not into huge crowds and long queues at major attractions, this is the best months to visit Blenheim. These months are not busy and the weather is more tolerable, colder, peaceful, with few crowds. The early signs of snow are starting to get visible during these months. You’ll see snow capped hills and enjoy conquering the trails in peace, just wear thick clothing to manage the cold atmosphere during these months.
Winter season starts from July to August. The beauty of Blenheim shines during the winter season. Why so? Because when it comes to outdoor activities, it has lots to offer. If you’re an avid skier, this is the best time to enjoy the cold weather and the skiing slopes, chalets, and winter sports adventures of the city. Along with the cold temperature, the hot springs are accessible in the mountain.
The season of spring starts from September to November. During these months, the days are longer, the snows are melting, and there’s a huge shift in the atmosphere and the ambiance of the city. The meadows are in full bloom, the fruit trees are in season and yield a great harvest, tourists are excited to hit the road, enjoy the fair weather, and go around the vast vineyards, and explore the outdoor activities during these months in Blenheim.
Here are the top attractions and things to do in the city of Blenheim:
Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre
is an eye opening experience about World War 1. The war museum is world class and gathers a wonderful collection of aircraft, articles, and war artifacts that are perfectly displayed and cared for. It is the finest aviation museum, even before that of Washington, DC and the Dulles airport.
Certainly, it is the most beautiful museum in the world and it has a passage noticed and assembled by film director Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings) who created a sumptuous setting stage for this attraction in Blenheim. It is a very special museum with slideshows depicting spectacular scenes of the conflict. If you want, you can also make a tour of a biplane, a bit modern, but not to be missed. It is set in hangars operating in a rural estate for easy access. In addition, there is a cafe and a gift shop that offers very interesting things as toys and games. It is open every day from 10:00 AM to 17:00 PM.
is a beautiful park with many different roses and all kinds of trees. It is pretty fun to just walk around, but it is not very large and there is also a nice playground for the children.
If you’re in the area, it’s nice to see the garden with an interesting flower collection. This is where the cultural festivals and the annual Carnival is held. During the Carnival, all the cultural representatives of the country converge here and dance the Samba on the stage. The park is well maintained, lined with flower beds, and great evening entertainment with free concerts, and musical performances on stage.
has good wines and moderate service on this side of Blenheim. You have to plan a visit to this winery because it closes at 17:00 PM. The ambiance is very nice and even the smell of oak barrels, which blows through the staircase is very pleasant. The wines taste great, the tasting portions are smaller, and the more expensive the wine, the tastier and intoxicating it is. The property impresses with its modern and very clean appearance, as well as breathtaking views of the Marlborough region. The Wine Tasting activity costs 5 NZD, but it is free if you dine at the restaurant, which is highly recommended. The wines in the tasting area are all excellent, especially the Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir. The staffs are very polite and will provide what you are looking for when it comes to wine and explain what makes up the respective wine. If the weather is nice you can also eat on the terrace or drink coffee, which are also grown in the meadows of this stylish winery. A special plus is the observation deck.
Wither Hills is one of the most beautiful estates in the area. On a warm winter day, the garden is relaxing, the terrace offers an exceptional view, and the restaurant is equipped with staffs that are friendly and smiling. The wine and food has a very pleasing presentation with elaborate details. It is priced accordingly. Being a well-known winery, it is possible to participate in the tasting of the product of the local vineyard, which specializes in white wine. Climbing the tower you can admire the surrounding landscape that consists of rows of vines gleaming in the sun. There is an ample parking and attention to detail from the outer walls of the plants along the path leading to the entrance.
is a must for lovers of New Zealand wines. Here, you will get to the actual assembly line and pay for every wine tasting. The winery is highly recommended because of its modern facilities and where decadent wine tasting is the main motto. At the wine tasting area you can choose between 3 categories (2 wines for 5 NZ$, 3 for 10 NZ$, and 6 for 20 NZ$), you will also be given an option to share the wine with another person.
The wines are just extraordinary. In particular, the Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay and the famous sparkling “Pepolurus” are unique. Wineries on a great location, with great tasting wines, what more can you ask for? Be sure not to miss this prominent winery when in Blenheim.
Bubbly Grape Wine Tours
is a good and funny wine tour for half a day organized by Kerry, the boss of the company. The tour usually starts at 12:00 PM on board a minibus and along with 4 other guests and an itinerary of wineries to visit in Blenheim. Kerry is a funny companion and likes to tell jokes while driving, which sets everything right before the first sip of wine to a good mood. But Kerry also knew a lot of viticulture itself in New Zealand as well as the individual growers, and the route of wineries to be visited.
The wine tour starts with “Drylands” where you can go to their assortment of wines and have a wine tasting before moving on to “Cloudy Bay”, one of the top winemakers and unbelievably beautiful winery here in Blenheim. The tour proceeds up to the “Bouldevines” where, in addition to wine tasting, there is an opportunity to try the excellent cuisine. After dinner, the tour continues up to “Bladen Wines”, one of the first wineries in the region. Kerry tells very interesting stories about the beginning and problems of viticulture and how to choose a good wine. The final part of the winery tour is the trip to “Villa Maria”; it is also a very nice property with fine wines. All in all, the nearly 5 hours you will spend with Kerry during the tour is very amusing, interesting, and absolutely worth the money. The tour is very well organized and usually done in small groups of up to 12 participants, do not miss it!
Highlight Wine Tours
is one of the package tour choices where you can spend a beautiful day in the vineyards. Ask for Dave and his red American convertible for a ride in the vineyards of the region, he knows everyone and everyone knows him. He is helpful, friendly, a lover of wine and an assurance that you will spend a wonderful time to your preference and without having to worry about driving after a few drinks. You will also discover the best wines of the region with their special flavors. It is a beautiful discovery of the region with a careful guide.
The tour guide Dave shows great enthusiasm and an authority on wines for that matter. He responds to the wishes of the group and for this purpose, he has an answer to every question. The winery itinerary is carefully selected on a tour that is designed for everyone, whether or not a certified wine expert. The choice of wine is interesting and there is a strong chance to taste the rare and different wines of New Zealand.
Na Clachan Wine Tours
A wine tour is a must when visiting the area around Blenheim. Driving yourself is not recommended, which is why it is advisable to avail of the Na Clachan Wine Tours with Helen. The advance booking via their website before your arrival can be done easily, Helen will even pick you up from the hotel where you are billeted. She is very friendly and gives lots of interesting information about the wine region. The tour begins with a good meal, which serves as a great “base” for the ensuing wine tour. The wine tasting itself is also very enjoyable.
After 4 hours and 5 wineries, you’ll be a bit tipsy, but Helen can manage everything and deliver you safely to your hotel before the day is over. Helen, aside from being funny has a very extensive knowledge of the individual wineries (in some cases even more than the wineries owner). Before starting the tour, they ask the guests for preferences and will make wines that are appropriate for their taste (e.g. white wine or sweet red wine) along the tour. The conclusion of the wine tour ends at the Makana Chocolate Factory, and a chance to taste the best chocolates of Blenheim. The
Na Clachan Wine Tours
is highly recommended. Blenheim i-SITE Visitor Information Centre It is here at the Blenheim i-SITE Visitor Information Center where you will find all the tourism information, guides and maps about the city. It is an all in one place about the finest attractions and things to do in Blenheim City.
Like all i-Site, it is comprehensive, has numerous pamphlets of the various activities that can be performed in Blenheim and the rest of the country. The staffs are nice and very knowledgeable. Here, you can make all reserves related to the hike in Abel Tazman (shelters and water taxi). They also have a computer that lets you browse the website of the region to find accommodation, activities or any other information in the area.
Hans Herzog Estate
has it all; an old wine shop with free wine tasting of their interesting selections. If you have visited their vineyard and wine factory, do not miss the “Secret Garden”. It is a good place to stay and where you can really have a great lunch/menu. It has a fine dining restaurant and an affordable Cottage if you need to stay directly on the estate.
The name suggests it; Hans Herzog comes from the German-speaking countries, more precisely from Switzerland. The ambiance on the patio seen right next to the vineyard areas is extremely pleasant, the food is excellent and the Viognier wine is awesome. They have friendly and professional (partly German-speaking) staff. For the small restaurant, it is highly recommended to make a reservation because it is always crowded with curious tourists. The cuisine is on a high level and certainly not cheap, but it is worth every penny.
Brancott Estate Heritage Centre
is a highly advanced winery located on a beautiful hill with vineyards in the foreground. As a wine lover, you should go and spend at least half day here. They have a very large selection of wines. The free wine tasting is possible, but for a few dollars, there is a wider range of fine wines. It has successfully mixed the combination of delicious wine and word class restaurant located in a prime location in Blenheim.
Wairau River Wines
is not only an interesting winery in Blenheim, it is also a snack house with a selection of pizza, salads, hamburgers, good olives, and a choice of wine from their own collection.
It has a nice wine terrace with mountain views and where the servings come in average price value. They have an exquisite wine cellar and an excellent restaurant. The restaurant fills you with really great tastes using meat, fish and fresh vegetables from the salad bowl area of Blenheim. The wines are the best and come in two fine choices; the Pinot Grigio and Viognier.
Rock Ferry Wines
is not only a charming winery in Blenheim; they also have a very good restaurant that serves excellent traditional dishes. You can book a table before going there or booking the winery tour. The food is impeccable, not to mention the wine, where there is a decadent tasting of Pinot Noir. The crew here is very attentive, the service is lovable, food is delicious, and the wines are carefully preserved and aged from their own collection and the blessings of their abundant vineyard.
Blenheim will not only amuse visitors with an all green landscape, it has the best selection of the wineries and estates that use to belong to the noble class of the city in the early times. There are wineries that specialize in high class wines and there are others that offer free wine tasting and complement this overall experience by setting up their own restaurant specializing in traditional dishes in New Zealand. If you are travelling along the Marlborough region, do not miss a visit to Blenheim City.