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Cheap Car Hire Blenheim Airport
Blenheim airport is located at the Woodbourne airbase. It only takes 10-15 minutes to drive the 9km from the airport into the centre of Blenheim and Picton is a 30 minute drive away.
It’s often much more economical to hire a car than get multiple shuttles and taxis around the area and booking early can ensure you get a great deal.
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A rental car gives you the freedom and flexibility to make the most of your time exploring Blenheim and surrounding areas. Here are a few of the many attractions around Marlborough you might like to consider checking out. The letters on the map match those below, where you'll find information about each attraction. For more ideas, check out the Marlborough Tourism website.
Sunny Marlborough is the biggest winegrowing region in the country - three-quarters of our wine comes from here, including nearly all New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc! Brancott Estate pioneered sauvignon blanc in the region, while Villa Maria is a household name for good reason. So if you’re a vino connoisseur, prepare to be wowed.
Whether you choose to cycle around, take a guided tour, or self-drive in a rental car, there are 100 plus wineries and dozens of cellar doors on offer to choose from. Find out just what sets Marlborough’s wine apart, from Sauvignon to Pinot Noir, Chardonnay to Cuvee, Pinot Gris to Riesling. Try some new varieties, too - some are only available for purchase at the cellar door.
(It’s worth fitting in a trip to a distillery or brewery as well, since Marlborough also produces its fair share of beers and even fruit brandies and liqueurs.)
Viticulture in Marlborough tends to be both technologically innovative and environmentally conscious. Eco-credentials are essential around here; Yealands Estate has been designed as the world's most sustainable winery. Wither Hills is well down the road to fully organic production.
Great wine should be paired with great food and Marlborough won’t disappoint on that front either. Lunch alfresco among the vines; the wineries offer a broad range of menus to suit all tastes. Seafood is a real strength in this region, which is spoilt with bountiful salmon, mussels, oysters and crayfish. You can even pick your own fruit at local orchards in the summer, or shop for local produce and honey at the farmer’s market.
And if you happen to be visiting in February, be sure to get along to the annual Marlborough Wine and Food Festival. It’s a gourmet extravaganza of epic proportions and not to be missed. Marlborough truly is a hub for foodies and wine lovers - there’s no doubt about it.
B. Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre
Where else can you see Sir Peter Jackson’s own collection of WW1 aircraft? This treasured private collection features one-of-a-kind displays in the Knights of the Sky exhibition, brought to life by Weta Workshop and Wingnut Films.
Here you’ll find the only remaining Caproni Ca 22 in the world; an aircraft known as the ‘Flying Boat’, and the much-photographed ‘aeroplane in a tree’ display with a biplane that’s been tangled up in a dogfight
Along with aircraft, this Omaka museum showcases artifacts from famous aviation figures, from both sides of WW1 - think uniforms, handkerchiefs, photographs - including the Red Baron himself.
Among the Great War aviation memorabilia are items such as badges and embroidery sent home by pilots to their loved ones, adding a human touch to the stories told here. There are objects crafted from battlefield materials (shell cartridges and propellers) too, which add a further personal dimension.
After all that you might feel the urge to get a bit more hands-on, and that’s where the vintage Boeing Stearman comes in - joyrides with helmet and goggles included!
There are also artifacts that actually pre date the Great War on display - acting as an indicator of just how far the aviation industry has come within a relatively short time period.
The Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre is also the home of the Omaka Classic Fighters Airshow - an event held every few second year that includes a weekend schedule of action-packed flying and pyrotechnics. It’s guaranteed to impress, with the next show slated for Easter 2017.
You’ll find the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre located at the historic Omaka Aerodrome, just a few minutes drive from the town centre of Blenheim with your rental car.
C. Molesworth Station
Molesworth Station is well worth the trip from Blenheim! The drive in your rental car begins through rich winegrowing regions before heading towards the Pacific coast, where the roads hug the water’s edge, before heading back inland to the high country of southern Marlborough. As you travel along the Acheron Road you’ll see interpretation panels adorned with visitor information
The land here is full of extremes, with sprawling views over the wide Awatere Valley, to tussocked slopes and towering mountains. Likewise, the weather here at Molesworth varies from sweltering summers to freezing winters.
Administered by the Department of Conservation, Molesworth Farm itself blends a working farm (said to be New Zealand’s largest, running the country's biggest herd of beef cattle) with tourism and recreation.
The landscapes and natural features of Molesworth Station lend themselves to many outdoor pursuits. There are many walking tracks to explore, from short jaunts to muti-day hikes and no shortage of great picnic spots. Good trout and salmon fishing can be had in the local rivers, streams and lakes, too. Note that fishing is only allowed during certain months and you’ll need to obtain a licence from Fish and Game New Zealand. For the daring, there’s rafting in the summer starting from the Acheron River and following along the Clarence River; you’ll need time to spare as trips are multi-day experiences, usually four days.
You may opt to carry on to Hanmer Springs afterwards, or simply camp overnight - there are campsites near Molesworth Cob Cottage and Acheron Accommodation House, both historic buildings. These old homesteads are visitor attractions in their own right!
When travelling to Molesworth Station be sure to call DOC to check that the road is open as conditions can change rapidly and access can be closed at short notice due to bad weather.
When in Marlborough you can certainly take your pick of scenic riding options - there’s a multitude of trails and routes within a stone’s throw (or at least an easy drive) from Blenheim.
Cycle along the ocean’s edge or riverbanks, through verdant vineyards (there’s even the annual 101km Forrest Estate Graperide, if that tickles your fancy), down long flat straights, or tackle some of the high country trails. A bike tour of wineries at your own pace, stopping for refreshments along the way, is a quintessential Blenheim holiday experience. The weather is generally cooperative, so odds are the sun will be shining and the wind in your hair.
For a more active undertaking, there are plenty of mountain bike trails awaiting discovery.
The dedicated 40 hectare mountain biking park at Wither Hills offers trails for all levels. The Taylor River Trail is an easy mountain bike ride ideal for a family day out, extending from Burleigh Bridge to the Taylor Dam Reserve and connecting up with the Wither Hills Farm Park. Meanwhile, Conders Bend Mountain Bike Park - found next to the Wairau River - comprises about 6 kms of mostly flat track through the forest. Then there’s the Rarangi Pump Track, a family-friendly circuit by the beach and playground - again, suited to all ages and levels.
Alternatively, why not head further afield in your hired car toward Nelson Lakes National Park? Just 90 minutes drive away from Blenheim, you’ll find a number of new and upgraded tracks that will appeal to all skill levels.
E. Marlborough Museum
Did you know that the earliest known site of human habitation in New Zealand was in Marlborough? The Marlborough Provincial Museum’s collections have been built up over half a century (and its archives are open for public research on Tuesdays and Thursdays).
As you might expect, this particular regional museum is devoted to the area and preserving the stories of Marlborough. The photographs, documents and artifacts all relate to local people and places. Its general collections include items from bicycles to furniture, textiles to archaeological finds.
Winemaking and wine heritage is obviously a huge part of the region’s natural and social history, and is naturally a focus in this museum! Recognised as the best wine exhibition in all of Australasia, it includes winemaking equipment, interactive displays, histories of wine brands, and unusual, rare and old wines. Wine lovers will appreciate the depth of the display, but beginners can expect to be just as awed as well.
Don’t miss the Victorian rooms, or the Wairau Bar - significant for the ancient graves of Maori, the earliest known graves in the country. The audio visual theatre is another highlight, playing films at regular intervals throughout the day.
The museum complex is in Brayshaw Park, just a few minutes from our depot in Blenheim, where it is surrounded by all things historic. Simply step outside and into a world of vintage vehicles, machinery, and even Beavertown - a replica street scene in early Blenheim style, based on townships dating back to 1900. Built by volunteers in the 1960s (even before the current museum building), it includes a working stable!
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Jack Webber (Australia)
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Mike Smith (UK)
Great for backpackers like us on a tight budget. Got to do more of the amazing things NZ offers with the money we saved. Awesome!
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