Wine, wildlife and wonderful scenery: Marlborough in New Zealand’s South Island has all the makings of an unforgettable adventure. But in between the hikes, boat trips, helicopter tours and wine tastings, you’ll need somewhere to rest, recharge and refrigerate the bottle or two you picked up at the vineyards. Here are the best holiday apartments in Marlborough.
This homely two-bedroom apartment right next to Picton marina is a convenient stop, especially if you’re arriving from or heading to Wellington by ferry. It feels more lived in than a typical aparthotel, with quirky ornaments, magazines and a well-equipped kitchen with extra touches, such as herbal tea bags. This is also the departure point for Marlborough Sounds tours – an essential for any South Island itinerary.
Sandwiched between Picton ferry terminal and the town centre, Picton Luxury Waterfront Apartments feature plush bedrooms, modern kitchens and wide balconies overlooking the harbour. Picton Memorial Park and the Heritage & Whaling Museum are just over the road, but if it’s food you’re after, Gusto on the high street does a mean all-day breakfast (try the French toast – you won’t regret it).
Around the corner from the luxury apartments, the apartments here have up to three double bedrooms, full kitchens and fantastic harbour views. Spend an evening watching the ferries come and go from your balcony as the sun sets. Want to get out on the water yourself? Nearby Kaipupu Wildlife Sanctuary is a haven for local birdlife, and the peninsula can be reached by water taxi – but adventurous types might like to make the journey by kayak.
Decorated in a French country style, the two romantic cottages at Olive & Vine Estate near Blenheim sit within a working vineyard and olive grove and feature verandas with barbecues and private cedar hot tubs. If you stay for two nights or more, you’ll receive a complimentary bottle of wine – but there are plenty of cellar doors in the vicinity if you’d like to sample the local sauvignon blancs.
This renovated Edwardian-era homestead comprises five luxury suites with private balconies or terraces – some of which feature grand fireplaces and roll-top baths. Enjoy a lazy breakfast on the wisteria-lined veranda, play a game of pétanque or sample a glass of your hosts’ organic chardonnay before making your way south to spot whales off the Kaikoura coast.
Set within secluded parklands and surrounded by vineyards, the Marlborough Lodge is a heavenly high-end retreat. Once a Victorian convent, the building has been renovated – and relocated – and now hosts wine lovers and honeymooners in 10 unique rooms. The pool and tennis courts are ideal for summer days, and on cooler evenings you can sip wine around the outdoor fireplace. Don’t miss dinner at upscale restaurant Harvest, which sources fruit, veg and herbs from the hotel garden.