Marlborough’s coastline does not end with the Marlborough Sounds: the region stretches south along the eastern Pacific Coast through Marlborough’s southernmost settlements: Seddon, Ward and Kekerengu.
Awatere and the Pacific Coast
High Country Meets the Sea
Marlborough’s Pacific Coast
This rugged stretch of New Zealand coastline has long been valued by local Maori for its plentiful catches of fish, abundant shellfish beds and succulent crayfish (a type of lobster). It is home to fur seals, penguins and other wildlife attracted to the rich harvests to be had from its turbulent waters, fed by the nutrient-rich currents that flow here from some of the deepest sea canyons of the Pacific.
Heading south from Blenheim along State Highway 1 takes you through the expansive Awatere Valley where Marlborough’s winemaking traditions continue to spread across the landscape. Take a tour of Yealands Estate, New Zealand’s largest privately owned vineyard, to be enthralled by the innovation that has earned them numerous awards for their sustainability.
Flaxbourne Station is recognised as the birthplace of New Zealand’s sheep farming industry and this area also marks the beginning of the country’s largest working farm, Molesworth Station, covering almost half a million acres (185,000 hectares).
Molesworth Station is opened to tour companies for 6 months of the year from October through to late May. You can take a quick trip across in convoy or enjoy 2-4 days of guided 4WD tours as well as assisted mountain biking journeys through this stunning alpine landscape, visiting the station’s main homestead and other places of interest along the way. If you prefer a self drive experience then the track is open to the public from 28 December to 3rd April.
For those who like to get out and about on foot, there is a four day hike across coastal farmland on the 54km Cape Campbell Walkway for a closer look at the 148 year old lighthouse.
In the summertime, locals and visitors have their favourite places to camp and swim, including the popular Marfell’s Beach, and all year round you can visit the seal colony at the southern end of Ward Beach or the unique solar salt works which run 1800 hectares of lakes in various shades of pink at Lake Grassmere.
Tucked away between rolling farmland and the sea are a number of guest houses, farmstays, homestays and B&Bs as well as coastal campsites, where you can spend a few days enjoying a spot of fishing, beachcombing or walking one of the many coastal tracks. For a truly authentic taste of rustic New Zealand you can also stay in some of the high country farm estates still operating in the area complete with home cooking.