The maritime township of Picton (population 4,000) lies at the head of Queen Charlotte Sound and is the arrival point for ferries from the North Island, as well as a growing number of international cruise ships. It plays a major role in providing services and transport by water taxi to a multitude of remote communities in the vast area of islands, peninsulas, and waterways that make up the Marlborough Sounds Maritime Park. View more
The romance of the seas, small ship sizes and intimate atmosphere, Silversea has long been a leader in the ultra-luxury market. Travelling to both iconic and secluded ports, Silversea’s award-winning itineraries inspire wanderlust and exploration. With over 900 destinations, longer port stays and more late-night departures than ever before, even the savviest traveler will find something new. A butler for every suite, a complimentary in-suite bar stocked with your preferences, all-inclusive exquisite dining, award-winning onboard entertainment and an unparalleled space to guest ratio all contribute to the Silversea experience. Not forgetting our famed Italian hospitality, where new faces become old friends. Bienvenuti a bordo.
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Experience the best in Marlborough wines and see one of New Zealand's 'Garden of Significance' gardens on this half-day excursion.
Marlborough is renowned for both its fine wines and its beautiful gardens, celebrated annually with its Marlborough Wine & Food Festival held in February, and Garden Marlborough in November.
From Picton, travel south to Blenheim, the largest centre of the Marlborough region to Wither Hills winery, a bold piece of modern architecture whose clean lines make it both spare and imposing, but undeniably New Zealand-designed with beautiful stone walls and native plant landscaping. Taste some of their recent wines before visiting Cloudy Bay Winery, whose French-Provincial-meets Italianate building fits perfectly with the peaceful surroundings.
Taste the outstanding Sauvignon Blanc and the Pelorus bubbly that many believe have endowed Cloudy Bay with title of Marlborough's benchmark winery. Lastly visit Upton Oaks, the English-inspired garden of Dave and Sue Monahan, developed around their restored 1911 South Pacific villa. The manicured grounds feature brick walls, ponds, perennial borders and a 17th-century-style Elizabethan 'knot' garden, divided into sections by colour.
Please note: This tour requires a minimal amount of walking, for a distance of about 300 yards (280 metres) with some steps at Wither Hills. It is suitable for guests with limited mobility and those who utilise a wheelchair; however, guests must be able to embark and disembark the mini-coach via the bus steps. Due to the limited number of vehicles suitable for touring in the area, space is limited and all seats will be occupied. This tour must be reserved or cancelled no later than 48 hours of arrival in Picton. Minimum participant age is 21 years to drink the wine.
The wealth of the Marlborough region has been built up over many decades on the efforts of its early sheep farmers, but since the mid-seventies the wine industry has prospered. Now nearly 60% of New Zealand's grapes are grown in the Marlborough region grown mainly on the Wairau Plain and Awatere Valley, with Sauvignon Blanc making up 80% of total production. Highlights include visiting a typical working sheep farm as well as one of Blenheim's leading boutique wineries.
Enjoy the diverse changes in scenery from rugged steep forestry hill country to the flat fertile Wairau Valley, the home of the world famous Marlborough wine region. Travelling through the wine region is stunning with row upon row of grapes as far as the eye can see, all set to the backdrop of the barren Wither Hills. First stop is Kaituna Heights Sheep Station, a 1976 acre (800 hectare) sheep and cattle farm for a private sheep dog demonstration. Watch as the shepherd and dogs work together to bring the sheep in from the paddocks into the pens and then watch a sheep shearing and wool carding demonstration.
Framingham Estate Winery
From the farm commence your drive into the wine region. Arrive at Framingham Estate Winery, a wonderful small winery producing a wide range of award winning wines. A great taste of Marlborough with world famous Sauvignon blanc along with the trio of Rieslings, a wonderful aromatic Pinot Gris and the option of a lighter style red - Pinot Noir or the deep, dark divine Montepulciano (a fabulous Italian variety grown in small quantities in Marlborough). For the non-wine drinkers a nice walk around the rose gardens or the underground cellar can be enjoyed.
Please note: This tour requires a moderate amount of walking. It is suitable for guests with limited mobility and those who utilise a wheelchair; however, guests must be able to embark and disembark the mini-coach via the bus steps and manage some uneven surfaces. Minimum participant age is 21 years to drink the wine.
This off-the-beaten-track half day tour is designed for those who wish to see one of the most ruggedly beautiful harbours of New Zealand. Travelling by mini-coach, visit an area few New Zealanders get to see. The winding road will reward you with a glimpse of how the New Zealand countryside used to look a generation ago.
From Picton, drive out to nearby Karaka Point, and admire the panoramic views over Port Underwood during this photo stop. Steeped in early Maori and European history, Port Underwood was where the South Island Maori chiefs met to sign the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. Later that same year, Anglican missionary Samuel Ironside established the second church mission here in the South Island. Whaling and fishing became the dominant industry of the Port Underwood area, and today, marine mussel farming is centred in Oyster Bay.
After about 40 minutes, the mini-coach brings you to Oyster Bay. Stop at a local cottage for refreshments and the opportunity of talking with the local people about life in Port Underwood. Continue on to Kakapo Bay and stop outside at the Guard Family cemetery, the oldest private cemetery in the South Island and whose descendants still live in Kakapo Bay.
Pass through Ocean and Robin Hood Bays before joining the main highway at Tuamarina to return to Picton.
Please note: This tour requires a minimal amount of walking only; however, sites visited are not wheelchair accessible. It is suitable for guests with limited mobility, able to get on/off the coach via steps. The Port Underwood road is winding, with approximately 10 miles (25 km) of unpaved road. Therefore, this tour is not recommended for guests who suffer from motion sickness. Due to the limited number of vehicles suitable for touring in this area, space is limited and all seats will be occupied.
This pretty drive into the Blenheim's wine district takes you to the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, one of the finest collections of World War I aircraft in the world. Stunningly staged and mounted, the exhibition takes you back to another era.
Visit a leading privately-owned winery and taste delicious chocolate, during this half-day excursion. From Picton, travel down to Blenheim to Omaka Airfield, Blenheim's original airfield built after WW1. Omaka is home to the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, owned by leading Hollywood film director Peter Jackson.
Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre
The facility presents lifelike displays comprised of a spectacular collection of static and airworthy aircraft. As you enter the Aviation Heritage Centre, step back into an era when aviation was a gentleman's sport; when the Knights of the Sky jousted above the clouds on horses made of cloth and wire. Learn about some of the famous aviation aces and their amazing machines and marvel at the early aircraft in which heroes of yesteryear braved the skies. See such rare planes as the Caproni CA 22 (the last one remaining in the world), the Fokker DR.1 tri-plane and the De Havilland D.H.4. Part of the memorabilia collection includes items from Germany's fighter ace Manfred von Richthofen (the Red Baron).
Moa Brewery & Makana Chocolates
Your next visit is to a local micro-brewery. Founded by Josh Scott, Moa Brewery specializes in craft-brewed ales in champagne style; rounded off through the use of winemaking techniques, like bottle ageing and bottle fermentation. The name Moa (New Zealand's extinct giant dinosaur bird) also derives from the region, as in the early days Josh hand delivered brews to archaeologists working at a Moa bone dig near the brewery. Enjoy a tasting of Moa's fine brews.
Your last visit before returning to Picton is to Makana Chocolates where you can view chocolates being hand-made. Be sure to sample the finished product - a local favourite is their macadamia-coated chocolate. Re-board the coach and return to the pier.
Please note: This tour requires a minimal amount of walking for approximately 800 yards (750 metres) over flat, paved surfaces. It is suitable for guests with limited mobility and those who utilise a wheelchair. All guests must be able to embark and disembark the coach via the bus steps. Due to the limited number of vehicles suitable for touring in this area, space is limited and all seats will be occupied. Minimum participant age is 21 years to sample wine.