Things to Do
There’s plenty to do in Picton and The Marlborough Sounds. We’ve listed a number of simple pleasures available in the local area – all easily accessible from Picton.
Walks in and around Picton:
Esson’s Valley Tracks
Walking tracks which lead from the door of Jugglers Rest go off into the bush clad Esson’s Valley (named after the family who built Jugglers Rest) and up to both Humphreys and Barnes Dams where in the evening glow worms may be seen.
The Tirohanga Track
The Tirohanga Track also starts in Esson’s Valley, taking you around the hillside of Picton, and giving fine views of Waikawa, Picton and the Marlborough Sounds – particularly breathtaking at sunset.
(Pictured left: View of Picton and Waikawa from hilltop lookout on Tirohanga Track)
This is a good half day walk out along a finger of land (shaped like a snout) which gives fantastic views of the Tory Channel and Queen Charlotte Sound.
There are other short walks in Picton, around the bays, along the foreshore and through the domain.
(Pictured below: View of Te Mahia Bay, Keneperu Sound – visible from Queen Charlotte Track)
The Queen Charlotte Track
One of New Zealand’s great walks – 71 kms of bush clad hillsides, beautiful secluded bays and fabulous views across the Marlborough Sounds.To do the whole walk takes 3 to 5 days, but it’s also easy to do sections on a daily basis and it’s much less crowded than many other long walks in New Zealand.
Staff at Juggler’s Rest can advise you of different companies and transport options to get into the Queen Charlotte Sounds. You can also get further information by visiting the DOC website.
Food, Drink and Nightlife
There are simply heaps of really good places to eat in Picton.
From fresh seafood caught daily, coffee roasted and ground in nearby Blenheim, Marlborough wine, freshly squeezed juices and delicious cakes – whether it’s cafes, bakeries or restaurants you’re after, you are spoiled for choice.
Le Cafe, The Oxleys Rock Hotel, Mikeys Bar, to name just a few, offer quality live entertainment from musicians and comedians from both New Zealand and the world – providing a great night out for both locals and tourists alike.
(Picture: Sushi night at Jugglers Rest)
This interesting little museum on London Quay, gives the visitor great insight as to how Picton has changed from a whaling port to the important ferry terminus and tourist destination it is today. You can even see old pictures of Jugglers Rest there and read about its original owners and their history as one of the first farming families to settle in Picton.
(Picture: Fishing boat leaves Picton Marina at first light)
The Edwin Fox
Built in 1853 this is one of the worlds oldest existing ships and it is still being restored. It’s an important piece of New Zealand’s history as it brought some of the first white settlers to her shores. For a small fee you can visit the Edwin Fox museum and read about the conditions and the voyage that the first settlers undertook to reach New Zealand.
(Picture: The Edwin Fox)
There’s a great choice of trips and companies to guide you around the stunning Marlborough Sounds in kayaks – or you could hire your own. Whether you choose a one day trip, an overnight excursion or sunset paddle, you will be delighted and amazed by the variety of flora and fauna and the peace and solitude that can be gained from kayaking this beautiful area. We can advise and help organise trips and transport out into the Marlborough Sounds, or you can research yourself! Try Wilderness Guides & Marlborough Sounds Adventure Company – both based in Picton
(Picture: Kayaking in Marlborough Sounds)
It is possible to bike the whole 71kms of Queen Charlotte Track located in The Marlborough Sounds, although between December and March the first section is reserved for walkers only.
There are mountain biking tracks in the local Victoria Domain and plenty of other good challenging rides nearby. There’s no shortage of knowledge here on the best places to go. If this is your thing, you’ve plenty of choice.
Bikes can be hired from Wilderness Guides in Picton.
(Picture: Nikki & local mountain biking views)
Fishing & Pleasure Cruising
With plenty of small coves and inlets easily accessible by both road and boat, it’s possible to catch a variety of fish in the Marlborough Sounds. Or you could simply enjoy watching the amazing fishing skills of others! Wildlife such as seals, cormorants, gannets and dolphins can often be seen from the boats. The famous mailboat cruise, is an excellent, informative way to experience the unspoiled beauty of The Marlborough Sounds from the water, whilst Dolphin Watch Ecotours offer close up natural encounters.
(Picture: A very large starfish!)
Marlborough is now world famous for its wines – in particular Sauvignon Blanc. There are several companies based in Picton who can take you door to door by minibus to a number of vineyards where you can freely taste the best export wines Marlborough has to offer. This enables you to safely (no driving) make a day or half day of tasting – although your head may be a little sore the next day!
(Picture: Grapevine at Jugglers Rest )
There are some great opportunities for diving within the Marlborough Sounds. A short distance from Picton there are several dive-able wrecks, including The Mikhail Lermontov, the biggest cruise ship to sink since the Titanic.
At Go Dive Marlborough you can also take internationally recognised PADI scuba dive courses.
(Pictured above, submerged decks of The Mikhail Lermentov)
The scenery here is unbelievably beautiful, but from the air it is magnificent! For a very reasonable rate you can explore the local area from the air, and even land on the water with Pictons very own floatplane! A service that can deliver you in style to the outlying areas of the Marlborough sounds in minutes rather than the hours it may take to drive on a scenic windy road. Contact Floatplane Al, www.nz-scenic-flights.co.nz for that amazing trip of a lifetime to land on water or fly onto your next destination with Sounds Air. Both offer unbeatable value and stunning views.
Jugglers Rest can provide free safe and secure bag storage during all your activities.
Our advice/suggestions are completely independent and based on our own experiences. For further information on the above activities, including how to book, we suggest that you click on the direct links above, search our website links page or visit the tourist information centre in Picton.