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Walk, Wine and Dine Your Way through Nelson and Marlborough

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Nelson biking
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Marlborough vineyard
Mussel Farm at Sunset Marlborough
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Walk, Wine and Dine Your Way through Nelson and Marlborough

story by: House of Travel

The northern end of New Zealand's wonderfully diverse South Island packs in two of the country's main draws for tourists - outdoor adventure and wine. The Marlborough region is not only one of the premier wine regions in all of New Zealand, but the entire world. Meanwhile, Nelson, situated as the gateway to the Abel Tasman National Park, is jam-packed with sports and outdoor adventures of virtually every conceivable kind.

Join the two together and you've got a pretty unforgettable trip - get your blood pumping on the bush trails and sandy shores of Nelson, then calm it all back down again in the sprawling vineyards of Blenheim, the heart of the Marlborough wine region.

From hot beaches to cool beers in Nelson
If you're coming from the North Island, your trip to the Marlborough region will begin with a spectacular ferry ride through the Marlborough Sounds. There really is no better way to set yourself up for a stay in this breathtaking part of New Zealand. The ferry docks at Picton and from there it's just over 100 kilometres to Nelson.

How you spend your time in Nelson really depends on what kind of traveller you are. Ardent hikers will immediately make their way north to the Abel Tasman National Park, where tracks that take anything from one hour to five days invite you to explore the rugged and beautiful coastline.

Further north again is the Golden Bay area, with its relaxing sandy beaches and beautiful scenery. The fact that Nelson regularly tops the New Zealand temperature charts means that this is one of the best areas in the country to lounge on a beach and work on your tan.

Meanwhile, adventure seekers will flock to Nelson Beach for some epic kitesurfing, take to a kayak and explore the hidden secrets of the Marlborough Sounds, or strap themselves in for some intense white water rafting and jet boating in Murchison, one of New Zealand's best rafting spots.

And after all that activity you can reward yourself with a cold beer at any of the outstanding breweries in the Nelson region, the self-proclaimed craft brewing capital of New Zealand. After you've toured some breweries and whetted your beer palate, it's time to switch drinks and head for the wine-soaked vineyards of Blenheim.

Your choice of cellar doors in Blenheim
As you make your way to Blenheim you needn't worry about leaving the sun behind. The town boasts an estimated average of 2,438 hours of sunshine a year, so don't forget your sun lotion.

There are all kinds of great attractions and activities to entertain visitors here. Whale watching and dolphin tours, fantastic hiking and walking routes, great fishing opportunities and wintertime skiing ensure that the Blenheim part of your trip can be just as action packed as the Nelson leg.

But wine is the real attraction here. The Marlborough region boasts roughly 65 wineries and vineyards, around 20 of which are within driving distance of Blenheim. It's such an iconic wine location that it's the final destination on the Great New Zealand Wine Trail, a 480-kilometre-long trail across both islands that encompasses over 80 per cent of New Zealand's wine-producing regions.

Sauvignon Blanc is what the region is famous for, but as you knock on the various cellar doors around Blenheim you can sample plenty more varietals, including Pinot Noir, Aromatics and Chardonnay. Most of the vineyards host regular tasting sessions and events, while some have their own restaurants. Wander through the streets of Blenheim and you'll encounter one top class restaurant after another. Quality wine deserves to accompany quality food, and the restaurants in Blenheim live up to the daunting task of serving food befitting the region's outstanding wines.

Scenery, adventure and top quality wine - it's what great Kiwi holidays are made of!

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