The town of Blenheim (pop. 28,200) is the region’s commercial hub and the beating heart of the famous Marlborough wine district. Blenheim’s compact town centre makes it easy to explore on foot.
Blenheim, Renwick and Wairau Valley
The heart of Marlborough
Blenheim: the heart of Marlborough
Take advantage of a sunny day and watch the world go by from a park bench in the manicured gardens of Seymour Square or Pollard Park, or enjoy some bargain hunting as you browse the local shops. Blenheim offers a selection of places to eat from fine dining restaurants, to trendy cafes and local pubs where you can enjoy a chilled local wine or beer and a coffee that is as good as you will get in the city.
Renwick is a satellite town a few kilometres from Blenheim and close to the airport. Stretching between and beyond the two towns are rows and rows of vines laid out across the stony fertile soils of the Wairau Plains. In autumn the vineyards of the Wairau Valley put on a spectacular show of flaming colour from pale gold to deep ruby that is a wonder to behold.
You can take one of numerous guided Wine and Food Trails from Blenheim or Renwick, or opt for a self-drive exploration or wine cycle tour of the many different wineries of Marlborough’s Wairau Plains
The many motels, backpackers, guest houses and riverside campsites in and around Blenheim make it a great base for exploring the region and indulging in the different leisure activities available here. Dotted across the Wairau Plains are lodges, B&B’s and cottages run by local vintners and other entrepreneurial locals happy to share their hospitality and their love of the Marlborough lifestyle with you.
Blenheim has 8 golf courses within easy drive and vast areas of national parks and reserves to explore. Its local parks are an entrée to the numerous acclaimed private gardens throughout the regions; many of which are showcased during the annual Hunters Garden Marlborough event. The Sunday Farmers Market operates from the Showgrounds from Labour Weekend in October through to Easter.
Farther up the Wairau Valley the vines give way to wide pastoral land and the forest clad foothills of the Richmond and St Arnaud ranges. There are numerous tracks and forestry huts in the Richmond Forest Park or St Arnaud and Raglan ranges if you fancy a few hours or a few days’ tramping.
Blenheim people have lived here for many generations: explore local heritage sites and uncover their stories. You’ll find the remains of Maori sites and records of the early European whalers through to the colonial settlement of the region beginning around 1840.
Step back in time at Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, the world’s largest collection of World War One aircraft. Not just for enthusiasts, this world class attraction will keep you enthralled for hours.
For more contemporary tastes, there are several art galleries, including the Millennium Gallery in central Blenheim, where established and up-and-coming local artists showcase their works.