Category Archives: General

Heli Adventures

Posted by Website Admin on August 14, 2017

There are many angles from which to experience the stunning and impossibly varied natural beauty of New Zealand’s ‘Top of the South’ Island - road, sea, bush track - but one of the best has to be from the sky.

Helicopter tours are often the only way to reach some of this region’s spectacular scenic gems which, due to their isolation, are rarely seen. If you choose to begin your tour from here at The Marlborough Lodge, your helicopter will simply land on our lawn.

If you’re joining us from elsewhere, we can arrange New Zealand-wide heli transfers for you and your luggage, to get to and from Marlborough as swiftly as possible without delay and with incredible scenic vistas along the way.

Reid Helicopters Nelson, one of our preferred suppliers, is one of the most established and experienced companies at the Top of the South Island, with current owner and pilot Toby Reid succeeding two generations of his family.

Toby and his team spend their days flying over, and to, pockets of beauty that few people are lucky enough to ever see.

Based in Wakefield, just south of Nelson, Reid Helicopters is in a wonderfully central location to offer their clients the best of what this area has to offer, in absolute comfort and style. 

Whether you wish to view the turquoise waters and golden sands of the Abel Tasman National Park from a unique birds-eye perspective, land on a wild, isolated West Coast beach or atop a snowy peak, or visit filming locations from director Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy in Kahurangi National Park, Toby has tours to meet every requirement.

Alternatively, enjoy a picnic like no other with a delicious lunch prepared by your personal chef on an island in the Marlborough Sounds, or take our bespoke Marlborough Sounds heli tour.

You could even visit the clearest lake in the world, Blue Lake/Rotomairewhenua in Nelson Lakes National Park, which would normally take two days or more to walk to. Or if it’s more adventure you’re after, then enquire about heli-tramping or mountain biking.

Whether it’s a transfer, a full day adventure including lunch or a half day tour closer to home, enquire with us to help create a bespoke itinerary just for you. The sky really is the limit.

 

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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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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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