Blenheim (New Zealand)
Blenheim is the largest town in the Marlborough wine growing region in the northeast of the South Island of New Zealand. Blenheim is always in the hunt for the title of New Zealand's sunniest town. It has a population of around 27,000. It is situated on the Taylor and Opawa rivers.
TranzCoastal, +64 4 495 0775 (email firstname.lastname@example.org , fax +64 4 472 8903 , Freephone 0800 TRAINS (0800 872 467) (NZ only)), . Open 7.00AM - 7.00PM 7 days. The railway station is on Grove Road. Train service operates daily between Christchurch and Picton via Blenheim and Kaikoura. There are stunning views with the Kaikoura mountains on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other. It leaves Christchurch at 7:30AM, arrives at Blenheim at 12:20PM and Picton at 12:50PM. The train leaves Picton at 1:40PM, arrives at Blenheim at 2:10PM and Christchurch at 7:00PM.
There a bus company and two shuttle bus companies traveling Picton-Christchurch return or Picton-Nelson return all of which pass through Blenheim. The bus will drop you off in the railway station, which is also the information centre. The centre of town is south-west from the railway station. If you want to walk into town from the station, cross State Highway 1 at the southern end of the carpark. The river 40m further marks the beginning of the central business district. Nelson Lakes Shuttles specialise in providing transport for trampers, hikers, climbers, mountain bikers and skiers. They run on demand and scheduled services to St Arnaud, Nelson Lakes National Park, Kahurangi National Park, the Richmond Ranges as well as other tramping destinations further afield.
A short 20 minute drive south on State Highway 1 from Picton which is the home of the terminal for the inter-island ferry service from Wellington. From Nelson, Blenheim is 1 1/2 hours east, travelling via Havelock (30 minutes) and Renwick (10 minutes) on State Highway 6. State Highway 62 runs north east from St Arnaud (1 1/4 hours), Murchison (2 hours) and Westport (3 1/2 hours) From the south, State Highway 1 takes you from Christchurch (4 hours), Kaikoura (1 1/2 hours) and Seddon (15 minutes)
Blenheim has a small airport at Woodbourne that has regular services from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, and by commuter aircraft to Wellington and Paraparaumu (just north of Wellington). The airport is 10 minutes from Blenheim and 4 minutes from Renwick. Commuter aircraft also fly from Picton airport, 15 minutes from town.
There is limited public transport in Blenheim which is of no real use to travelers. The centre of town and most accommodation is within easy walking distance. Vineyards and other attractions further afield will require transport. For those without the inclination to bike or without a car, taxis or a tour are the most practical options.
- Neal Shuttle Bus, ☎ 03 577 5277. Often meets planes at the airport. Is happy to arrange a wine trail. Seats 10 (but takes single rides too).
- Marlborough Taxis Ltd, ☎ 03 577 5511.
- Gateway Taxis, ☎ 03 577 2072.
- Wine Tours By Bike, Argrove Lodge, 191 Bells Rd(Pick-up can be arranged from your accommodation), ☎ 03 5776954(email@example.com), . $40 (4 hours), $55 (8 hours).
- Marlborough Information Center, Blenheim Railway Station, SH1, ☎ 03 577 8080(firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: 03 577 8079), .
- Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, Aerodrome Rd(5kms from town, route sign-posted off SH6), ☎ 03 579 1305(email@example.com), . Daily from 10-4pm. Collection of World War I planes lovingly restored and captured in realistic settings. Part of the attraction is the association of Peter Jackson (of Lord of the Rings fame) and weta workshop with the display. His team has turned what could be just a collection of planes into a drama which those with no interest in aviation or military history can enjoy. Worth it.NZ$18 (adult). Concessions available.
- Marlborough Provincial Museum(Brayshaw Museum Park), Arthur Baker Place(off New Renwick Road), ☎ 03 578 1712(firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: 03 578 1739), . Open daily 10AM - 4PM (except Good Friday & Christmas Day). There is a huge amount of artifacts and many displays which relate to the local history. Also houses "Beavertown" a replica "early Blenheim" village. Visit the audiovisual theater which shows both local and international history-oriented films.
- Millennium Public Art Gallery, Seymour Square, ☎ 03 579 2001(email@example.com, fax: 03 579 2162), . Open 7 days. 10AM-5PM M-F. 12-4:30PM Sa, Su and some public holidays.. Entry by gold coin ($1 or $2) donation. Children free.
- Catch the rugby at Landsdowne Park(one of the Tasman Makos stadiums), Landsdowne St, ☎ 03 578 4070(firstname.lastname@example.org), . $12 - $35.
- Pollard Park, off Parker St. Beautiful landscaping. Don't miss the roses and camellias.
- Seymour Square, cnr High and Seymour Sts. See the formal gardens.
- Walk in the Wither Hills. Blenheim is framed to the south by a farm park which is open to the public. A great spot for a view over the Wairau valley. Popular with runners and walkers of all fitness levels. Accessable from the end of Scott St, Redwood St and Maxwell Rd.
- Wine Tours by Bike, 191 Bells Rd, ☎ 03 577 6951(email@example.com), . Enjoy the scenery and take a tranquil tour around the wineries by bike. There are around 30 wineries within a 10 km radius of Blenheim that can be explored by bike.Half Day Bike Rental NZ $40.00 pp. Full Day Rental NZ $55.00 pp..
- DeLuxe Wine Tour, 45 Main St, ☎ 03 578 5467(firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: 03 578 2416), . Departs Blenheim at 11:00AM. Take a wine tour taking in the making of wine at Montana, wine appreciation lesson at Forrest Estate etc. Duration is about 5 hours.From $40.00 to $239.00.
- Mud House Village, 193 Rapaura Rd, ☎ 03 572 7170(ourdogRover@xtra.co.nz), . from 10AM, 7 days. Offers wine and coffee tasting. Liqueurs, fruit brandies, infused olive oils etc for sale. Visit the Olive Shop and Quilters Barn (art and craft).
- Marlborough Aero Club, ☎ 03 578 5073, . 7 days. Go on a scenic flight or learn to fly
- Blenheim Golf Club, Parker St, ☎ 03 577 7106(email@example.com). 9 hole
- Marlborough Golf Club(Fairhall), Paynters Road, ☎ 03 578 7646(firstname.lastname@example.org). 18 Hole
- Rarangi Golf Club, Rarangi Beach Road, ☎ 03 570 5709(email@example.com). 18 Hole
- Little Fish Studios, 16 Wynen St, ☎ 03 577 7375. Local artists retail pottery, sculpture and wall art, some with a sense of humour. Reasonable prices.
- Marlborough Farmers Market, A&P Park, cnr Maxwell Rd and Alabama Road, ☎ 03 579 3599 or 03 575 7697(firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: 03 579 3598 or 03 575 7698), . Every Sunday between 9-Noon, November - May. Boutique local growers, live music and $6 breakfasts cooked by local chefs. Quality coffee.
- Bookworld, 67 Market St, ☎ 03 578 4909. Independent retailer with good selection of novels, non-fiction titles and travel literature. Good selection of local books. Carries the Guardian Weekly and Die Spiegel.
- Perrys Book & Map Shop, 4 Arthur St, ☎ 03 578 3195. Another good option for books.
- Thomas's, 54 Market Street, ☎ 03 578 6369(email@example.com, fax: 03 578 6367), . A department store, almost incongruous for a smaller town. Large selection of quality (and highly priced) men's, woman's and homewear.
- New World Supermarket, 1 Freswick St(From the post office walk west, past the police station, over the roundabout/railway tracks. On your right.), ☎ 03 520 9030(firstname.lastname@example.org), . 8am-9pm, 7 days a week. Notable for a selection of local wines, dare I say it often cheaper than at the cellar door.
- Gillan Gallery, Grove Rd(Diagonally opposite the Blenheim Railway Station), ☎ 03 579 4604.
- Blenheim Rotary Car Boot Sale, Grove Road(Public carpark by railway station), ☎ 03 578 5735. Every Saturday, 8am - 12noon. Cheap and cheerful
- Redwood Market, Redwood Tavern carpark, Cleghorn St, ☎ 03 578 9486. Every Saturday, 8am - 12noon. Fruit, vegetables, flowers, plants, arts & crafts, Organised by the Rotary Club of Blenheim South
- Herzog Winery and Restaurant, 81 Jeffries Rd, ☎ 03 572 8770, . A 5 star experience. Multi-award winning dining. October to May, from 7pm Tuesday to Sunday
- Hotel d’Urville, 52 Queen Street, ☎ 03 577 9945, . Fine dining in central Blenheim. Contemporary cuisine in a classic building.
- Black Creek Pizzeria & Boutique Brewery, 1 Dodson Street, ☎ 03 577 8348.
- Roccos Italian Restaurant, 5 Dodson St, ☎ 03 578 6940. Very popular Authentic Italian. Fresh pasta, with seafood a speciality.
- Figaro's, 8 Scott Street, ☎ 03 577 7277. Contemporary and stylish.
- Giorgio's, cnr High and Seymour Sts, ☎ 03 579 1458. Park views from upstairs windows.
- Plaza India Blenheim, 22 Alfred Street, ☎ 03 577 8781.
- Sagai Japanese Restaurant, 35a High Street, ☎ 03 579 4404.
- The Top Spot, 35 High St, ☎ 03 578 3325. If you hanker for retro New Zealand food, the Top Spot has a menu which shouts timewarp and enough chrome furniture to require sunglasses. Will probably have a bottle of cold duck if you ask.
Marlborough is one of the top wine growing areas in New Zealand. A free map  is available from visitor information centres. Some of the wineries in the area are:
- Highfield Estate, Brookby Rd, ☎ 03 572 9244(email@example.com, fax: 03 572 9257), . 10.30am to 5pm, 7 days. The tower at the winery has a commanding view over the lower Wairau River. A great place to get your bearings.
- Seresin Estate, Bedford Rd(Travel west of Renwick on State Highway 6 for a short distance, turn right (north) into Bedford Rd and then left (west) into the vineyard), ☎ 03 572 9408(firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: 03 572 9850), . On a terrace with views over Condors Bend and the Richmond Ranges beyond, this organic vineyard produces premium quality wine and olive oil.
- Villa Maria, corner of Paynters & New Renwick Roads, +64 3 577 9530, (email email@example.com, fax +64 3 577 9585), . The Cellar Shop is open 7 days 10AM to 5PM; May - October 11AM to 5PM. One of NZ's top award winning wineries. Complimentary wine tasting. Winery tours by appointment.
- Hunters Wines, Rapaura Rd, +64 3 572-8489, (email firstname.lastname@example.org, fax +64 3 572-8457, FreePhone 0800 486 837 (NZ only)), . Won over 80 gold medals including the Marquis de Goulaine Trophy for Best Sauvignon Blanc in the World at the 1992 International Wine & Spirit Competition. There is also a restaurant and a native garden.
- Cloudy Bay, Jacksons Rd, +64 3 520 9140, (email email@example.com, fax + 64 3 520 9040), . Open daily (except Good Friday and Christmas Day) 10.00AM - 4.30PM for tastings and cellar door sales. Known for its Sauvignon Blanc and sparkling wines.
- Montana (Brancott Winery), RD4 Riverlands (State Highway One), +64 3 578 2099, (email firstname.lastname@example.org, fax +64 3 578 0463), . Numerous awards including gold at the London International Wine Challenge 2003. Number one selling NZ wine company. The multi-million dollar visitor facility has a restaurant, retail store and the Brancott Theater. Winery tours 10AM to 3PM daily. Cellar door sales 9AM to 5PM on Monday to Sunday.
- Nautilus, 12 Rapaura Rd, +64 3 572 9364, (email email@example.com, fax +64 3 572 9374), . Cellar door sales and tasting Summer 10AM - 5PM. Winter 10.30AM - 4.30PM. Known for its Cuvee NV.
In recent years, Blenheim's drinking scene has diversified:
- The Cornerstone Restaurant & Bar, 70 Queen St, ☎ 03 577 7555. Mon - Sat 10:00am - 1:00am, Sun 10:00am - 0:00am. All things to all people?
- The Suave Jazz & Blues Bar/Cafe, 67 Queen St, ☎ 03 577 8238. Winner of the regional informal category in the 10th Monteith's Beer & Wild Food challenge with a tasty Shank Pie.
- Kokomo Beach Bar, 4/76 Market St, ☎ 03 578 0941. The only night club. Previously named Goat's Don't Shave and Level 42. Still a cultural experience.
- Paddy Barry's Irish Bar, 51 Scott Street, ☎ 03 578 7470. Every town has one. Quiz nights on a Wednesday.
- Koanui Lodge & Backpackers, 33 Main Street, ☎ 03 578 7487(firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: 03 578 7487), . $22 and up.
- Leeways Backpackers, 33 Lansdowne St, ☎ 03 579 2213(email@example.com). $18 - $22 per person.
- Lugano Motor Lodge, cnr High & Henry Streets, ☎ 03 577 8808(firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: 03 577 8809), .
- 193 Aorangi Manor, 193 High St, ☎ 03 578 2022(email@example.com, fax: 03 578 2021), . $115.00 - $145.00.
- Hotel d'Urville, 52 Queen Street, ☎ 03 577 9945(firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: 03 577 9946), . checkin: 2:00pm; checkout: 11:00am. Stylish central accommodation with high quality restaurant attached. (Tastefully) themed rooms. $195.00-$335.00 inc breakfast.
- Vintners Retreat Hotel and Villas, 190 & 55 Rapaura Road, ☎ 03 572 5094(email@example.com), . Located in the heart of the wine growing district. Rural vistas.
- Marlborough Bed & Breakfast, Bush Road, Tuamarina, ☎ 03 570 5430, . Delicious food, stunning location, friendly hospitable hosts.$245.
- Travelstop Cyber Centre, 3 Market St, ☎ 03 579 1902(firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: 03 579 1902), . 10am to 9pm Monday to Saturday.
- PCMedia, 16 High St, ☎ 03 5781100, .
- Blenheim District Library, 33 Arthur Street, ☎ 03 520 7491(email@example.com, fax: 03 578 2783), .
- Post Office, Cnr Scott & Main Street, ☎ 03 578 3904. 8:30am to 5:15pm Monday - Friday, 9:30am to 12:30pm Saturday.
- Blenheim is a gateway to the Marlborough Sounds, sunken valleys offering yachting, fishing and dolphin watching.
- The Wairau Bar won't be to everybody's taste, but there is beauty if you look. Located at the mouth of the Wairau river (hence the name), the site allows sweaping views of the Wairau Lagoons, Cloudy Bay and over to the North Island. Above the stony beach (not good for swimming) is collections of coastal plants, salty dunes and Māori pits. The Waiau Bar was the site of shipwrecks when it was a major transport hub in the 1920's. To enjoy the area you will have to ignore the vehicle access to seemingly everywhere. Access from Blenheim is taking State Highway 1 north, and turning right (east) into the township of Spring Creek. After passing the township and crossing the Wairau River, turn right onto Wairau Bar Rd. The Wairau Bar is at the end of the road.
- The best sea swimming in the region can be found at White's Bay. The horseshoe shaped bay protects the sandy beach from the worst weather. Surf club and a Department of Conservation campground have basic facilities but don't expect a shop. Bush walks run up behind the beach and take from 10 minutes to all day. The walk over the ridge from Rarangi takes approximately one hour. The historic telegraph office which linked the North and South Island provides interest although it is not currently open to the public. To drive to White's Bay drive north from Blenheim on State Highway 1 and turn right (east) at Tuamarina. Travel through the seaside settlement of Rarangi and continue to follow the Port Underwood Rd. Spectular views over the lower Wairau from the ridgeline. The turn into White's Bay is just before the end of the tar-seal.
- The Port Underwood Rd can be followed through to Picton. This, for the most part, gravel road twists around the coast passing Robin Hood Bay, the site of an early missionary settlement featuring a stud and mud cottage built in 1854 by the whaler Captain Jackson and the pits of a kumura (sweet potato) garden are evident just off the foreshore. The road takes 1 1/4 hours from Rarangi to Picton giving periodically spectacular views over Port Underwood and points south.
- Nelson Lakes National Park and its gateway village St Arnaud, offering bush walking, fresh water fishing and beautiful mountain scenery. Is about an hour away by car.
- Ski Rainbow. 1 1/4 hours to the bottom of the access road, Rainbow Skifield  is the northern most skifield in the South Island, is close to the village of St Arnaud.
- Pelorus Bridge on the road towards nelson is an excellent day picnic destination during summer. The area is very scenic and the river surreal. Plus the opportunity to have a swim during a hot summers day and stay overnight at the campground.
This page was last edited at 03:49, on 1 February 2009 by Quentin Davies. Based on work by Mark Jaroski, David, Ian Kirk and Tim Graham, Wikitravel user(s) Morph, Episteme, Huttite, Chris j wood and Nzpcmad and Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel.