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Sunny Blenheim is in the midst of beautiful wine country, and is also a birdwatcher’s paradise where more than 90 species can be observed.

Marlborough has a number of predator free, island sanctuaries – home to protected birds including the Okarito kiwi and rare king shag, as well as long-tailed wattled bat colonies and threatened reptiles and amphibians. The more adventurous can enjoy activities such as whale watching trips, observing the rare Hector’s dolphin in Marlborough Sound, or taking bush walks or kayaking.

To the south east of Blenheim lies an extensive area of wetlands known as Wairau Lagoon. This area supports around 90 species of birds, including the striking royal spoonbill which can be observed in its breeding plumage during the spring months.

With an average of 2,438 hours of sunshine a year, Blenheim enjoys hot, relatively dry summers and crisp winters. The region’s thriving wine and food industry provides plenty of attractionsr, including vineyard tours and discovering artisan food outlets. Just 28 kilometres drive away is the seaport of Picton, the gateway to the Marlborough Sound, Wellington and the North Island. 

View suggested itinerary

Key info

  • Ideal for viewing: Hector’s dolphin, New Zealand falcon, long-tailed wattled bat, royal spoonbill, New Zealand fur seal
  • Where: South Island, New Zealand

Wildlife trips

This wildlife location is featured in the following itinerary:

Kiwis & Whales Galore: South Island Self-drive

This self-drive of New Zealand’s South Island showcases dramatic scenery, from sandy beaches to picturesque snow-capped mountains. Highlights include cetacean-rich Kaikoura, the Otago Peninsula - home to the endangered yellow-eyed penguin - and Stewart Island for southern brown kiwis.

  • When to go: Sep-May
  • Duration inc. flights: 23 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £6,495 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea
Suggested accommodation is shown below. Please contact us for further recommendations.

Vintners Retreat

Located at the top of what is know locally as Marlborough’s Golden Mile of vineyards, the boutique Vintners Retreat offers luxury self-contained accommodation in the heart of one of the world’s most famous and beautiful wine growing regions. The nearby Wairau River bank provides excellent walking opportunities.