Visit Picton, Marlborough, NZ

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  • Picton is located in the Marlborough Sounds, at the top of the South Island, and is the main port for the inter-island ferries. It is very popular for hiking, cycling, sailing, sea kayaking and eco-tours. 

    Picton sits at the head of Queen Charlotte Sound, a 30 km long channel of deep water that meets Cook Strait. The surrounding hills are steep and forested, which makes road transport. The Queen Charlotte Track is a famous coastal walk in this area, which 3-5 days to walk or 1-3 days to cycle.

    The Marlborough region is known for its vineyards and sauvignon blanc wines, and also for a gourmet tradition that uses local produce, especially seafood. Winery and restaurant tours are popular.

    Accommodation in Picton (NZ)

    Picton has a good range of accommodation, including hotels and motels, travel inns andbed & breakfast establishments.

    There are also holiday parks at Picton and nearby Waikawa for camping and motor home travellers.

    Luxury and eco-lodges are to be found in the environs of Picton. There are also holiday homes to rent.

    Transport around Picton

    Picton is the southern terminus of the inter-island ferry route, which sails into Queen Charlotte Sound through the stunning and narrow Tory Channel. Train services continue south to Kaikoura and Christchurch.

    Picton’s small airport has schedules to and from Wellington. Charter flights can be arranged to other small South Island airports.

    Within Picton and around the Marlborough region, there are regular bus services and private, shuttle services that will take travellers and their equipment from destination to destination. There are also mountain bikes and motor scooters available for hire at Picton, which can be used to explore the coastline to Waikawa and beyond.

    Tourist Activities around Picton

    The Queen Charlotte Track along the coast of Queen Charlotte Sound is one of New Zealand’s classic walks. It takes 3-5 days for walkers to complete the 71 km journey. It can also be travelled by mountain bike, taking 1-3 days. It is also possible to kayak part of all the route, travelling alone or with a guided group. There are also many other walking tracks and mountain bike trails to enjoy.

    Scenic cruises are popular within the Sounds, and can deliver guests to resorts located at bays and islands only accessible by water. Some cruises have a nature them, and will visit places where seals, dolphins and whales are found, along with sea birds.

    Smaller boats and yachts are moored at Waikawa, a short distance from Picton’s centre. Here is is possible to hire a sailing boat or motor launch for free-itinerary touring, which might include diving and fishing. However, inexperienced boaties should beware of strong currents in narrow areas, such as French Pass, and rough seas in areas exposed to Cook Strait.

    Picton has a range of cafes, bars and restaurants that are entertaining to visit. Wine and food tours of surrounding vineyards and restaurants can be booked easily.

    There are many craftspeople around the Picton area, including carvers, potters, glass artists and jewellers. Craft galleries and gift shops within the town have some excellent work for sale.

    Maori cultural activities and education can be found at Waikawa marae.

    Picton has an 18-hole golf course, as well as mini-golf by the sea front.

    • Scroll down for Picton accommodation & activity listings