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Top of the South Day Trip

Posted by Website Admin on August 06, 2017

Art, wine, local food, adventure and some of New Zealand’s most stunning scenery: the lineup of amazing and varied things to see and do in New Zealand's 'Top of the South' Island is unrivalled.

And the good news is, from The Marlborough Lodge all of these things are just a short drive away, including the nearby city of Nelson in the beautiful Tasman Bay.

Photo: Nelson marina - sail-world.com

Known for its long-established art scene, great cafe culture and stunning natural beauty, Nelson is worth the 1.5 hour drive from the lodge just for the drive itself. Or take a heli flight to cut down the transfer time and take in the stunning views on the way over the Marlborough Sounds and Tasman Bay right out to Abel Tasman.

Following State Highway 6, the trip takes in Pelorus Bridge where you will find virgin native bush and a deep river gorge, popular with river swimmers in summer and known for the barrel scene in The Hobbit which was filmed here. On a hot day, nothing beats an ice cream at the little cafe. If you like to stretch your legs, there are many forest trail walks through the ancient beech trees – some just 10-15 minutes in length.

Photo: Pelorus Bridge - Marlboroughnz.com

On arrival in Nelson, an easy way to enjoy the city is to park at the iSite, which you’ll find at the city’s northern entrance, and take an easy stroll through the central shopping area where high street brands are interspersed with cafes, galleries, great coffee and boutique stores. If you enjoy art, a visit to Craig Potton gallery+store and The Suter Art Gallery are a must.

A must-see is Tahunanui Beach which is only a few minutes’ drive from the central city and a favourite with locals and visitors alike for its white expanse of sand, and beautiful views across sand and sea to rugged mountain ranges, which are snow-capped in winter and spring.

Halfway between city and beach you’ll notice the Boat Shed Cafe, which is set over tranquil harbour waters and overlooks the Boulder Bank and Haulashore Island, the perfect place to stop for morning tea or lunch. A small intimate restaurant with beautiful views - particularly when the sun sets behind the western ranges - the Boat Shed Cafe is a classic Nelson landmark that is very well documented in artworks and photographs.

Photo: Boat Shed Cafe Nelson

Further afield, about half an hour south of Nelson, why not visit the truly idyllic Upper Moutere, which has been called the “Provence of the South”. The green rolling hills, backed by mountain vistas, are home to a staggering array of artists and craftspeople, wineries and other produce including berries, mushrooms, even peonies - and in Moutere Village, you’ll find The Moutere Inn, New Zealand’s oldest pub - which has to be worth a quick pint.

Alternatively, take a break from driving and let local guide Noel Kennedy show you all the best spots on a Wine, Art & Wilderness tour. Noel specialises in luxury and private wine, eco and art tours in both Nelson and Marlborough: His informal, relaxed tours in the comfort of a Mercedes will ensure you see some of Nelson’s less-travelled routes and local attractions, complete with contemporary and historical background information.

Another option is to take the coastal road that winds around Tasman Bay’s secluded inlets to the village of Mapua and enjoy its cluster of art galleries, boutique shops and cafes overlooking the inlet. For something completely different, try Jester House Cafe in nearby Tasman where quirkiness is key and fresh, wholesome, artisan food is a given. Once you’ve enjoyed a meal, take a walk through the grounds which is filled with art of the most unexpected variety - including a giant boot used as a B&B.

Photo: Mapua wharf - mapuawharf.co.nz

All good things must come to an end, but the fact you have to head home should not mean missing out on a tasty afternoon tea. Just 30 minutes before reaching the Lodge you’ll pass through Havelock, New Zealand’s Greenshell Mussel capital. To enjoy a plate of the freshest mussels you’re ever likely to taste, sit down at one of Havelock’s cafes such as The Mussel Pot on the main road or the Slip Inn Cafe down at the marina. Best enjoyed with a glass of boutique Marlborough beer, or a Marlborough sauvignon blanc.

Photo: Greenshell mussels - newzealand.com

The Top of the South really does have it all, and more: You’ll probably be planning your next visit before the current one has finished.

 

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The Call of the Wild

Posted by Website Admin on July 13, 2017

Marlborough wine is world-renown, it’s quiet twin but with no less panache is the abundant local produce that pairs so perfectly with the region’s award-winning wine.

From seafood, fruit, nuts and vegetables to cheese, honey and meats of all sorts, local food produced at the top of the South Island really does have a distinctive flavour all of its own – just like wine.   

While much of the local produce is cultivated or captured by skilled locals, some of the tastiest finds are found the age-old way, through traditional foraging.  

The Marlborough Lodge team are great fans of wild food gathering, and using what’s in season and not too far from home. And quite often that means they don't have to leave the 16 acre estate to find it with plentiful fruit, herbs, nuts, flowers and vegetables from the garden and eggs from the estate hens on site.

Photo: Graeme Murray

Recently renown Chinese wine and food blogger, Shu Qiao, visited the gardens with the Marlborough Lodge kitchen team.

Here with Tourism New Zealand to launch the Heart of the Long White Cloud tourism campaign to show New Zealand off to potential Chinese visitors, Shu Qiao headed to the Lodge kitchen to put their foraged finds to culinary use.

While the team explained their holistic philosophy of using every possible component of each product for variations on flavour; whether using key parts of the whole plant from fruit to leaf to root, to nose to tail butchery - with primary and secondary meat cuts each having a purpose in his kitchen and adding a unique flavour to dishes.

Photo: Graeme Murray

Shu Qiao then enjoyed pre-dinner drinks and canapes, followed by a lodge-style gourmet dinner, featuring fresh local cuisine along with the foraged treasures, paired perfectly with Marlborough wine.  

Not only do guests staying at the Lodge enjoy dinner each night but also a full gourmet breakfast each morning. The restaurant is open to the public for lunch and dinner Wednesday-Sunday, with a seasonal, fresh a la carte menu on offer.

No matter what the meal, lodge or restaurant guests all will enjoy the fresh, local, seasonal cuisine – which sums up Marlborough in every mouthful.

Shu Qiao at the Lodge on video

For more see the Tourism New Zealand video of Shu Qiao's visit to Marlborough featuring well-known New Zealand chef Al Brown from 2:07. WATCH VIDEO...

 

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Books, food & wine

Posted by Website Admin on June 30, 2017

There are some things in life that are a perfect match. It’s long been known that fantastic wine and delicious food make a great couple. Add fantastic books and the wonderful authors behind them to the mix and it’s a recipe for indulgence. Here’s where the wonderful Marlborough Book Festival comes in, held at the end of July each year. The Lodge is a proud supporter of this popular event.

Mario from Cloudy Bay wines, a sponsor of the Marlborough Book Festival

A boutique annual festival in Marlborough, at the top of New Zealand’s South Island, the festival has been running for four years and has a very dedicated following. Authors gather at local theatres and wineries to talk about their books, their writing style, their life and what inspires them.

Laughter and tears are the norm at the sessions, as are tasty bites of locally-grown salmon and Marlborough olive oil with handmade bread, washed down with Marlborough wine, personally poured by various local wineries who passionately support the festival.

This year’s festival runs 28-30 July and features 11 eminent authors and 4 journalists from New Zealand and Australia with sessions with everything from craft beer to poetry being discussed, and an art class just down the road at Hunter’s Wines. Authors include emminent poets Emma Neale, Brian Turner and CK Stead together in a poetry panel. Australian dinosaur expert John Pickrell and beer fanatic Alice Gallatley and more. See the programme here...

A festival weekend at the Lodge

Can we suggest spending overnight Saturday 29 July at the Lodge during the Festival, where you can enjoy delicious breakfast and lodge-style dinner prepared by our chef and his team, topped off with a generous slice of book festival during the day. We’ll take you along to your festival sessions and ensure you have an enriching weekend.

When you're not at the festival or enjoying the delicious cuisine, there are many reading spots at the Lodge to curl up with a new book signed by a festival author, including our inviting Library, court-yard facing Great Room and fireside in the Breakfast Room - perfectly accompanied by a glass of Marlborough pinot noir.

See our Marlborough Book Festival package for more information.

 Contact Peter to arrange your stay – [email protected] | +64 3 570 5700 

A world away, yet oh so close

Posted by Website Admin on June 01, 2017

In times gone by, New Zealand was part of the exotic and intriguing 'South Pacific' region, a long journey into the unknown by only the most intrepid of travellers. These days, thankfully, New Zealand is an easy to get to and much-visited destination for many travellers, and on many a bucket list of those yet to experience the delights of 'down under'.

Marlborough, at the top of New Zealand's South Island, still has a touch of that remote and untouched paradise about it. Luckily for travellers, however, Marlborough is right in the centre of New Zealand and easily accessible from just about anywhere.

In terms of flying there are plenty of options, with Blenheim Airport just 10 minutes drive from the Lodge:

  • Air New Zealand flies direct to Blenheim from main cities Auckland (1hr 25 mins) and Wellington (25 mins)
  • Sounds Air flies from Wellington (25 mins), Kaikoura (30 mins), Christchurch (50 mins) and Napier (60 mins)
  • Helicopter transfers from Christchurch, Nelson and Wellington, or another location, direct to the Lodge are also possible.

Other transfer options include ferry and car:

  • From Wellington, take a 3 hour ferry ride on foot or with your vehicle. Cruise across the Cook Strait and through the stunning Marlborough Sounds onboard Interislander or Blue Bridge ferry services; It’s then a short 20 minute drive from Picton to the Lodge.
  • From Christchurch, it’s approximately a six hour drive through the beautiful Arthurs Pass and past Saint Arnaud alpine villages nestled on the shores of Lake Rotoiti.
  • From Nelson, it’s just 80 minutes drive to Blenheim, passing through the ancient beech forests at Pelorus River – where The Hobbit was filmed – and past Havelock, the Greenshell mussel capital of the world.

Once you’re here in Marlborough and enveloped in all the brilliant scenery – not to mention world-class wine and delectable local produce – it takes no imagination at all to feel you’re a world away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Marlborough has just been included in Wine Enthusiast’s Top 10 World Wine Destinations 2017, amongst numerous other accolades, and you’re never stuck for ideas of what to do during your stay here. Simply enjoy the peace and tranquillity, take a wine tour or a seafood cruise to celebrate the region’s icons, enjoy the delicious cuisine offered at many eateries around the region including breakfast and dinner at the Lodge, get active with hiking or biking the many trails, or go on the hunt with fishing and hunting trips.

Whether you're here for a holiday, a special celebration or for a mini break from the Lions Tour, ensure take your camera, because every minute – from sunrise to sunset – is a great photo op in Marlborough.

You can relax and enjoy the region’s splendour for as long as you’re able knowing that, while it might be hard to tear yourself away at the end of your stay, the logistics of leaving Marlborough and heading to your next port of call are as easy as when you arrived. 

Check out our Packages page to see what we have coming up at the Lodge to tempt you to Marlborough.

 

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Local Secrets

Posted by Website Admin on May 25, 2017

Part of the joy of visiting a new place is discovering those wonderful “local secrets”, and here at Marlborough Lodge we’re all too happy to share those Marlborough secrets with our guests so they can enjoy them for themselves.

Every town has its share of locals’ favourite hangouts, and in Blenheim, Ritual Cafe is one example.

 

This central Blenheim cafe has an eclectic style, a food cabinet to die for and of course fantastic coffee. You can either chat to the locals, or unwind with an adult colouring in book in the retro booths if you so prefer.

The Marlborough Farmers’ Market deserves a mention.

This chilled out Sunday morning event at Blenheim’s A&P Park is as much a chance for the region’s producers to sell their wares as it is for locals to meet up and have a coffee, a freshly prepared, locally-sourced hot breakfast and a good chat.

And you haven't really experienced Marlborough without a gourmet pie from The Burleigh accompanied by delicious coffee.

Another hidden source of amazing Marlborough produce is the home - literally - of honey producers J Bush & Sons, who have made local honey for 100 years. Only the locals know that you can fill your own containers straight from their vats, once you locate their wonderfully original pack-house at the end of an overgrown driveway. Expect to find friendly beekeepers full of knowledge who are always keen to share information as they pour golden honey from the tap for you.

Come summer, Hedgerows Hydroponic Strawberries is a must-go, where you will have no trouble spotting the huge, luscious red berries growing within the glasshouses before you even park the car. Hedgerows’ stall, open all summer, is small and friendly and the strawberries picked daily - plus they sell real fruit ice cream too.

And what goes better with strawberries than bubbles? Luckily, Marlborough Lodge is smack bang in the middle of the region’s wine country, so there’s plenty of options to pair your punnet of fresh red goodness with.

One of those options is just a short drive or bike ride from Marlborough Lodge: Methode traditionelle Champagne makers, No1 Family Estate, where the Le Brun family have an impressive 12 generations of Champagne making behind them.

But back to the fruit which in Marlborough grows aplenty, and not just the grapes. Best of all, in many cases you can pick your own, from cherries to raspberries or blackberries - just ask Marlborough Lodge’s staff to point you in the direction of the nearest orchard.

There are many more local secrets than can ever be mentioned here, but we can’t give all of them away now can we, you'll have to come and discover a few of your own to share with us…

 

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Marlborough Adventures

Posted by Website Admin on April 10, 2017

There are those who are happy to sit with a book and relax for their entire holiday and those who are happy to do that for five minutes, then are itching to get out and about, get busy and have some adventures. If you're the latter, or you need to entertain an energetic partner, there are plenty of options here in Marlborough for adventure. 

There really is no shortage of options for those seeking an active, adventure-filled holiday, where busy days of exploring Marlborough are beautifully balanced with sumptuous gourmet dinners and perfectly matched wine on the lodge’s relaxing veranda, or in the well-appointed dining room.

The Marlborough Lodge is located in prime Marlborough wine country, which offers many adventures in itself, but there are many more strings to our bow, we are also mere minutes from some of the best golf courses, mountain bike tracks, nature walks and hunting and fishing spots.

At the Lodge you can do archery under the trees, swim in the heated pool, play tennis next door on the grass courts, or get the heart pumping with a bike ride or run along the local flat, vine-fringed roads.

The Lodge offers a range of activities including archery, tennis, biking and scenic helicopter flights.

Further afield, experienced heli-adventure guides can take you to rarely visited trout fishing rivers surrounded by majestic alpine scenery, or secluded hunting grounds high in the mountains, in just minutes - you’ll not only come home with great stories to tell, but freshly-caught dinner as well for the chef to transform into a thing of beauty on your plate.

For those more into spectacular scenery, simply climb aboard the helicopter and be taken on a scenic flight above Marlborough’s stunning landscapes and enjoy a gourmet mountain-top picnic.

For a more ground-based activity, located just a short drive from the lodge are the Blenheim, Marlborough (Fairhall) and Rarangi Golf Clubs: The choice is yours. For mountainbikers, there are many kilometres of track to explore nearby, from the mixed grade trails on the Wither Hills and Taylor Dam to the more advanced coastal splendour of Mt Robertson above Whites Bay or, slightly, further afield, the Wakamarina.

Other experiences on offer include Marlborough Sounds cruises, wine tasting, Maori culture, gourmet foods, eco encounters, garden and farm tours. Whether you’re travelling alone or with a group, the Lodge can create can personalise adventure activities that suit you.

There are many options for getting out and about and enjoying all that Marlborough has to offer, including walking, cruising the Marlborough Sounds and exploring the Marlborough wine region

 

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Long Luxury Weekend: Sydney to Marlborough

Posted by Website Admin on April 07, 2017

Swapping the busy streets of Sydney for the peaceful sunny vineyard-filled plains of Marlborough was a breeze and the rewards were many, including a massive drop in stress levels from the moment I arrived in this beautiful province.

I grabbed the 9.45am Sydney-Blenheim Friday connection on Air New Zealand - a Qantas codeshare, which got me into Wellington at 3pm NZ time. I had plenty of time to enjoy a coffee from the Fuel counter, shop at NZ-made Icebreaker who make great merino wear, then get on my flight to Blenheim. A short 25 minute flight over the stunning Marlborough Sounds - ancient sunken valleys featuring one-fifth of New Zealand's coastline and I was there by 6pm.

Arriving at Blenheim Airport, I was met by Toby, a friendly young man from The Marlborough Lodge. Within minutes we were driving the sunny lanes flanked by lush, grape-sprinked grapevines, and arriving at the beautiful Victorian Lodge nestled in amongst the vineyards and trees. A convivial drink with fellow Aussie General Manager Peter White in the Great Room later and I was encounced in my very stylish and comfortable Premium Suite with views over the 16 acre estate.

After a quick relax on my super comfy bed and a rejuvenating splash in the double tub in the palatial ensuite, it was off to  pre-dinner drinks and canapes in the courtyard, in front of the roaring outdoor fireplace. Marlborough sauvignon blanc in hand with a platter of delicious Bluff oysters in the shell invitingly standing by, to say I was winding down was rather an understatement.

We were then summoned to the Dining Room for an endless and truly spiritual series of delicious courses served lodge-style and made up primarily of locally-sourced produce. Not only did the restaurant team make it taste heavenly, but it was almost too pretty to eat.

  

It was then back to the courtyard and fireplace, for a digestive port and some shared stories with the other guests, before trundling off for a peaceful night's rest.

The next day, fortified by a full breakfast again featuring great coffee and some delicious smoked mussels with scrambled eggs, I was off on a Marlborough Icons Tour - wine tasting by morning, waterfront lunch, and seafood cruise by afternoon. Beautiful bliss and a really great taste of the best that Marlborough has to offer.

A divine repeat of the night before with a longer bath and more fireside lingering, followed by another fab sleep and tasty breakfast. Then a relax about the estate until I headed off for my 11.25am Air New Zealand/Qantas flight back to Sydney, via Auckland this time for a different shopping experience. Home by 5.40pm Australia time - plenty of time to get myself organised for back to work Monday.

What a brilliant weekend!

 

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Lunch, Marlborough Style

Posted by Website Admin on October 07, 2016

While staying at Marlborough Lodge, there is every reason to enjoy the best of Marlborough’s world-class food and wine scene by taking a long, very long, lunch.

The lodge is perfectly located in the heart of Marlborough’s famed “golden mile” of wineries, and there are no shortage of choices for a sumptuous cafe, cellar door or restaurant lunch. Or, you can choose to seek lunch further afield to combine the outing with a drive through stunning Marlborough scenery or a cruise in the stunning Marlborough Sounds.

Golden Mile lunch

The closest all-year winery lunch options to The Marlborough Lodge are Saint Clair Vineyard Kitchen, Rock Ferry Wines Cafe, Wairau River Wines and Twelve Trees Restaurant at Allan Scott Wines – all within easy biking distance, some even a short walk.

Within minutes of leaving your Marlborough Lodge suite you can be seated at your sunny courtyard table, crisp sauvignon blanc in hand, in summer, or fireside with a glass of red in winter.

Also nearby is Vines Village Cafe which offers a more casual lunch experience, perfect for families, with sweeping views overlooking a private pond to the northern ranges, and a shopping village to explore following lunch.

Menus in all these establishments focus on fresh and local ingredients and flavours, so you can expect a great Marlborough taste experience every time.

    

Urban lunch

Blenheim is a short, easy drive from The Marlborough Lodge.

On the banks of the Taylor River you’ll find Raupo, which offers a French-infused menu combined with Kiwi favourites. For a more casual bite to eat and a great coffee, Watery Mouth Cafe overlooking central Seymour Square offers a selection of lunch options with a view, or try 23 Grove Rd Coffee House on the main highway opposite the train station (there’s parking round the back).

For a gourmet twist on the classic Kiwi pie, head for The Burleigh delicatessen on New Renwick Road. Don’t let the small, unassuming shop front put you off - within its walls are incredible award-winning pork belly, steak and blue cheese and jerk chicken pies, and pork shoulder sausage rolls, along with delicious coffee.

Scenic lunch

Head west from The Marlborough Lodge where vineyards turn into lush green valleys, and you’ll eventually find yourself in Havelock; head east, and it’s Picton. Either destination marks one end of the celebrated, scenic Queen Charlotte Drive - make a day of it, and do lunch on the way!

In Havelock, enjoy fresh Greenshell mussels at the Slip Inn overlooking the marina, with the knowledge that this seafood was grown in the very water you are looking at.

In Picton, Le Cafe on the waterfront is as popular with visitors as it is locals for its good coffee and fresh food. Across the intersection is Cafe Cortado, where seafood and pizza feature high on the menu while set slightly back from waterfront crowds you’ll find Gusto renowned for its coffee.

There’s no shortage in Marlborough to treat yourself to a delicious lunch in a beautiful place - the most difficult part is choosing where to go.

Luxury cruise lunch

For a deliciously decadent dining experience, you could head out on our private launch MV Tarquin from Picton for an onboard chef-prepared gourmet lunch paired with Marlborough wine. Enjoy the beautiful scenery while you dine alfresco on the deck or inside the cabin, where the stunning views are just as good.

While staying at Marlborough Lodge, there is every reason to enjoy the best of Marlborough’s world-class food and wine scene by taking a long, very long, lunch.

The lodge is perfectly located in the heart of Marlborough’s famed “golden mile” of wineries, and there are no shortage of choices for a sumptuous cafe, cellar door or restaurant lunch. Or, you can choose to seek lunch further afield to combine the outing with a drive through stunning Marlborough scenery.

  

Picnic lunch

Have the kitchen whip you up a delicious picnic lunch and let your exploring take you where you wish - be it the beach, riverside, to the hills, among the vineyards, in a park or in the forest.

Just ask one of our staff for ideas, directions and transport if required. 

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Renovation Tour

Posted by Website Admin on September 06, 2016

Peter White, our new General Manager, takes you on a snapshot tour of The Marlborough Lodge mid-renovation. The extensive renovation inside, outside and throughout the 16 acre grounds is on track for our November 2016 opening.

 

Peter & the Lodge in the Media

Posted by Website Admin on September 03, 2016

Our new General Manager, Peter White, was featured in the business section of the Blenheim Sun yesterday:

Peter started three weeks ago and is full on into overseeing the extensive renovations, hiring staff including chef and housekeeping teams, as well as finalising interior design, marketing collateral and more.  

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What our customers say

Fantastic place you have here and I wish you every success - you have great heart and hospitality!

Chee Kin - Singapore

Lovely, relaxing stay, charming team, and amazing food. Well done!!

John & Rose

I would like to stay longer. Excellent location!

Bingel

Beautiful spot in Blenheim. Absolutely loved our stay at The Marlborough Lodge, we enjoyed the Kingfisher room which had beautiful windows from the buildings church history, was hugely spacious and had a stunning outlook onto the surrounding grounds. Amazing food and the best omelette I've ever had for breakfast! This place is very special and we look forward to returning in the years to come! Big thank you to the lovely staff!

KLM