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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What our customers say

Extraordinary luxury hotel. This hotel simply could not be improved upon! The building is lovely with an effortlessly elegant decor. We had a large suite with a second room for our son, separated by a huge bathroom. The room was perfect, with just the right amount of flair and panache without feeling overdone. Our bed was extremely comfortable and the linens were fantastic. The whole property has several wrap around porches, which are great for sitting outside and taking in the stunning views of the property, including a small vineyard. The setting is so serene — you are minutes from the local wineries and restaurants but you feel completely away from everything. We went on a tour with the gardener, who showed us the chickens (fresh eggs for breakfast every day!) and beautiful stream and plants. There are lots of citrus trees and gardens on the grounds. In the evenings, we enjoyed canapés and wine in a small chapel on the property, next to a roaring fire. And the food was delicious throughout! We enjoyed our evening dinners immensely and also had very tasty breakfasts, including local preserves and fresh juice. The staff was super friendly and made all of us, including our 8-year old son, feel so welcome. The manager was wonderful and made sure we all felt special. I would highly recommend this location.

CK107 – San Francisco

Wonderful Surprise. My husband booked us here as a treat whilst traveling around the area. It was a truly lovely stay. We wish we booked longer! The staff is brilliant and friendly - always smiling and quick to offer anything we might have needed. The property - WOW! It is incredibly well cared for and decorated to be current whilst maintaining the integrity and the history of the building (a challenge few people get spot on - they do!) . We will surely be back - hopefully when it is warmer so we can take advantage of the pool and more outdoor activities. Still well worth the stay in the offseason - the wineries are still open in June!

Ellie Z

Amazing! The Marlborough Lodge is just amazing! Wonderful room with a perfect bedding. Huge bathroom. Refined decoration. The convent, separate from the the main premise, is a unique place to have an appetitive before the diner. Very nice and professional staff. Interesting wine list. A place to be in the Marlborough Region.

FM – Belgium

A must stay! This place is incredible - located on a great piece of property very close to the airport and has amazing views. It has great food and wine and the rooms and staff are great people. Outdoor fire place where they host pre dinner drinks every night - a must stay if you visit this area!

Mathew K – Bedminster, New Jersey