Marlborough Wine Cruise - 6 Nights
Picton to Picton
Day 1 - Sunday
We meet all of the incoming afternoon flights today at Blenheim and Koromiko and transfer you straight to the ship in Picton Harbour. Once you are settled into your cabins we sail at 5pm and head for our overnight anchorage in Curious Cove. Dinner is served from 7pm.
Day 2 - Monday
After breakfast we are ready for the start of your selected tour.
1. Wine Tour.
Our wine guide greets us at 10am for a relaxing day in the country in the Wairau Valley – NZ’s second largest wine growing area. Our first vineyard is Cloudy Bay, the Marlborough Winery synonymous with Sauvignon Blanc. Cloudy Bay has built a loyal following for its captivating style, but just like the wines, there are many layers to the Cloudy Bay story. There’s the dedicated vineyard crew delivering ripe, concentrated fruit to an inquisitive, freethinking team of winemakers. They have an inspiring environment in which they work... a pure and pristine place of awesome beauty that’s blessed with a unique South Pacific terroir. Together they enhance the distinctive flavours of Marlborough and create a continually evolving range of wines that capture the essence of this special place.
Your lunch break is at the picturesque Allan Scott Wines. After dining on a gourmet 3 course wine matched lunch you can relax in their unique mud brick building and taste their range of wines - and what a taste sensation.
Your day continues at the iconic Wither Hills Winery lying in the lee of the Wither Hills Ranges. The winery and cellar door is an elegant blend of contemporary design and comfortable sophisticate an ideal showcase for Wither Hills’ superbly crafted wines in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere.
2. Garden Tour.
We have arranged a selection of the best gardens in the region to visit on a private basis. The gardens we have on offer are selected from Hortesia House, Woodend Gardens, Broomfield, Arcadia Park and Timaru Lodge. We also attend local art attractions and include lunch on this lovely trip.
We all return to the ship later in the afternoon and cruise away to our dinner anchorage further down the sounds.
Day 3 - Tuesday
We continue cruising the sounds …Relaxation is the theme for the day – a chance to enjoy the serenity of the sounds, interspersed with fabulous food and refreshments. Today we hope to have fresh mussels on the menu for lunch, accompanied by a fine Marlborough sauvignon blanc. The deep, clean and cool waters of the Marlborough Sounds provide an ideal environment for raising green-lipped mussels. As always, our landing craft and fishing tender are at your service. The ship will venture into East Bay, which is a remote section of the sounds and filled with beautiful bays and long stretches of shoreline, which we will have, virtually to ourselves to play. Remember that the sounds make up 1/6th of the entire New Zealand coastline. Beach combing is a lovely way to spend some of the afternoon before we welcome you back onboard with snacks and refreshments.
Day 4 - Wednesday
We are at the wharf after breakfast for the start of your selected tour.
1. Wine Tour.
With our wine guides again we are visiting another 3 different vineyards today. Forrest Estate is family owned and operated; Forrest Wines have defined ‘Quintessential Marlborough’ since 1988. Dr’s John and Brigid Forrest are Forrest wines. Applying their farming heritage and scientific background to the craft of winemaking – resulting in wines of the highest quality and purity.
Herzog is a family owned New Zealand winery and restaurant. We have a gourmet lunch set in the bistro with wine matching your courses. As the name suggests, Hans Herzog’s roots lie in Switzerland where the family has grown wine since 1630. There Hans and Therese owned the successful ‘Taggenberg’ vineyard and restaurant in the Zurich wine country. Here Hans has adopted an experimentalist stance, cultivating an eclectic array of varieties, including Arneis, Barbera, Tempranillo and Zweigelt - as well as the more traditional Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Next on our journey is where Jane Hunter and her late husband Ernie planted their first vineyard in the picturesque Wairau Valley. Jane has been owner, viticulturist and managing director of what has become one of New Zealand’s most established wineries, Hunter’s Wines. Hunter’s Wines have won more than 130 gold medals at national and international wine competitions. Hunter’s Wines was one of the first wineries to achieve ISO accreditation.
The last sensational stop of the day is Makana Chocolate Factory – a delectable combination of assorted hand made chocolates. See the craftsmen creating the chocolates and taste the results. Take home a delectable chocolate truffle to finish off your special Marlborough day out.
2. Whale Watch Kaikoura.
Leaving the ship at 9am we drive south to Kaikoura; the Whale watching capital of New Zealand. Giant Sperm Whales are the stars of the show and year-round residents. A tour may encounter New Zealand Fur Seals, pods of Dusky Dolphins and the endangered Wandering Albatross. Depending on the season you may also see migrating Humpback Whales, Pilot Whales, Blue Whales and Southern Right Whales. Kaikoura often hosts the world’s largest dolphin the Orca and is home to the worlds smallest and rarest marine dolphin the Hectors. Kaikoura also attracts the largest concentration and variety of seabirds on mainland New Zealand.
After everyone is back onboard we sail to one of our favourite coves for dinner.
Day 5 - Thursday
Today we cruise the sounds and will show you several historic points along the way. It was from Motuara Island that James Cook declared sovereignty over the South Island. Now it is a sanctuary for the South Island robin and the South Island saddle back.
For those remaining onboard we will continue to explore the area. You have kayaks to enable a close-up view of the shoreline, landing craft for trips further a field or a fishing tender to try your luck with a rod and reel.
Ship Cove gave safe harbour to Captain James Cook on five occasions during the 1770’s. Visit the monument and read all about his epic journeys.
Day 6 – Friday
We continue cruising the beautiful Marlborough Sounds. Sit back and enjoy the scenery and be pampered by our crew. After breakfast served on the aft deck, we raise the anchor and begin a day of exploration further around the Marlborough Sounds. The water displays a thousand shades of blue and green. The backdrop is a tapestry of native tree ferns, overhanging rata vines and tall beech trees. Seals, dolphins and penguins are a common sight.
After lunch onboard in a sheltered cove, there’s plenty of time for you to create your own adventure in one of the onboard sea kayaks. Once again, your day concludes with an evening of exceptional wine and food matches with our farewell dinner.
Day 7 - Saturday
The ship returns to Picton wharf for disembarking at 9am. We have arranged transfers to the airport.
Please note the itinerary is subject to change due to operational reasons, weather and sea conditions at Captains decision.