The ferry lands at the picturesque town of Picton, which offers cruising, sailing, fishing and kayaking options for those tempted to explore further afield on the water.
The Queen Charlotte Drive to Havelock and Nelson provides superb views over the Sounds, while trampers can walk the 69km Queen Charlotte Track. Stretching from historic Ship Cove to Anakiwa, the track passes through lush coastal forest and offers panoramic views of the Queen Charlotte and Kenepuru Sounds. There are plenty of entry and exit points and some tour operators provide water transport or pack transfer between those points.
Heading south from Picton, Blenheim is an ideal base from which to explore the region's award-winning vineyards, which are famous for their floral sauvignon blancs. Most of the wineries are along State Highway 6 to Renwick, with a couple on SH1 between Blenheim and Picton (including the internationally famous Cloudy Bay winery). All vineyards offer tastings and cellar door sales, while some have gardens and restaurants to relax in. Wine tours call at the numerous wineries, and for a timeless taste of the region's vintage, there is a horse and gig wineries tour. Art studios, olive groves, a cheese factory, distilleries and breweries can also be visited en route.
History buffs can call at Blenheim's Riverlands Cob Cottage, the Brayshaw Museum Park and the pioneer cottage at Carluke, near the Rai Valley. Blenheim’s Aero Club provides sightseeing options.
Travel south to Kaikoura along the beautiful coastal State Highway 1. The Kaikoura district is a coastal settlement located halfway between Picton and Christchurch. The unique topography of this region, provides an abundantly rich habitiat for marine mammals and seabirds making it an ideal place for experiencing nature in all its glory. Famous for its whale watching, Kaikoura offers much more - whale watch, swim with the seals and dolphins, bird watch, hike in the hills or on the the stunning Kaikoura Peninsula, kayak, surf, diving & fishing.
For those who can't resist exploring the St Arnaud Range in the distance, the mountains offer excellent tramping during the summer, while in winter, skiers are drawn to the Rainbow Skifield. Boating, fishing, kayaking and whitewater rafting are among the other activities.
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