Picton has developed a reputation in recent years. It’s the doorway to New Zealand’s South Island used by locals and international travelers alike to get to the islands and resorts of the Marlborough Sounds, an interconnected stretch of beautiful landscape. The surrounding area is famous for its wineries, so you can enjoy vineyard tours and tastings while stopped on Picton cruises.
Picton is a hidden gem for international travelers. Beautiful scenery in the Marlborough Sounds and views of the New Zealand countryside make the area particularly memorable for first-time visitors. On the waterfront, explore Pollard Park for a leisurely stroll, or stop at EcoWorld Aquarium to see rescued and protected species during a tour of the wildlife rehabilitation center. On your New Zealand cruise, you’ll be endlessly surprised by its foodie and café scene, outdoor adventures like hiking and kayaking, and beautiful water and mountain views.
Take a short walk on the waterfront to Pollard Park, where you can surround yourself in tranquil nature. Pollard Park is a breath of fresh air where you can walk the park, lay down a blanket in the sunshine, or picnic in the gardens for a relaxing afternoon on your Picton cruise. There’s a playground for kids of all ages and a botanical garden dedicated to preserving local plant life.
On your Picton cruise, stop at EcoWorld Aquarium and Wildlife Rehabilitation to get up close and personal with rescued penguins and other endangered species. EcoWorld is dedicated to preserving and protecting these animals, and it’s the perfect excursion for animal lovers on Picton cruises. Try to time your arrival with feeding times, which are from 11am to 2pm.
In less than a half-hour drive, you can venture from Picton to the picturesque small town of Blenheim, where the food scene and the local vineyards are ideal for a foodie vacation. Blenheim is the heart of Marlborough wine country, New Zealand’s biggest wine-producing region and the home of the celebrated Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc so it’s the perfect destination for winery tours and long lunches.
If you have time to venture, take a car about three hours from Picton to get to the famous Abel Tasman National Park, a glorious coastal paradise of green forests, golden sand beaches and wildlife. Scenic boat rides, dolphin and seal sightings, and hiking across beaches along the Abel Tasman Coast Track are the most popular to-dos in the park. Nature enthusiasts shouldn’t miss New Zealand’s favorite national park.
The Marlborough region and greater Picton is a lush area known for sprawling vineyards and wineries. Leisurely tour one of the wineries, tasting local Sauvignon Blanc and sampling chocolates at Makana Boutique Chocolate Factory along the way.
The Queen Charlotte Track runs along the edge of Queen Charlotte Sound from Picton, and it welcomes plenty of runners, walkers, kayakers, and hikers each day. Adventurous hikers and mountain bikers take a multi-day trip to see the beautiful forest and mountains, but you can also pick a section of the track to explore if you only have an afternoon.
Dolphins and fur seals are two of the exotic species that swim in the waters of this part of New Zealand. Visitors can watch as bottlenose dolphins leap into the waters around the port of Picton, and you may even catch sight of a visiting southern right whale.
Address: Corner of High St and, London Quay, Picton 7220, New Zealand
The coffee culture in Picton is strong, and at Café Cortado you can sip espresso or stay through the early afternoon for a cold beer on tap. Breakfast is available until 2pm. Try out the breakfast burrito or enjoy one of their signature pizzas for lunch.
Picton Village Bakkerij
Address: 46 Auckland Street, Picton, New Zealand 7220
Picton’s top-rated bakery comes with plenty of sweet treats, including rows and rows of fresh-from-the-oven goodies. Come for the carrot cake, stay for the fruit and almond tarts. They even have savories like sausage rolls and lamb pies.
Address: 33 High St, Picton, New Zealand 7220
Breakfast and brunch are the main draw at Gusto, a casual café and eatery in the Marlborough port town of Picton. Try the French toast with bacon or the Eggs benedict. Lunchtime favorites include a popular dish of local mussels. Gusto’s simplicity is all part of its charm.
The Maori people originally lived in this area of New Zealand up to a thousand years ago, and several ancient sites are still preserved in Picton. In the mid 19th century, Welsh settlers arrived in New Zealand and Governor Thomas Gore Browne renamed the area Picton as it’s known today. During the 19th century, the gold rush and trade boomed in the area, so mining was a key industry for Picton. Today, the area is economically boosted by tourism. It attracts visitors from all over the world to enjoy the relaxed vibe and beaches while on Picton cruises. The area is also known for its vibrant wine region and locally sourced seafood, both of which greatly influence Picton’s culinary scene.
The port area of Picton is equipped with standard amenities, like wifi and a bathroom. Your Picton cruise ship will dock at Shakespeare Bay, and from there, shuttles will take cruise passengers to a visitor information center.
Generally, getting around in Picton is pretty uncomplicated. In Picton, car rentals are always an option, as well as taxis, which are an inexpensive way to navigate. The city of Picton also offers bus, ferry, and train systems for locals and travelers. The ferry system is comprehensive and includes amenities like public showers and internet. Downtown Picton is fairly walkable too, at least in terms of getting around the standard tourist sights.
Shopping near the port is somewhat limited, but you’ll be able to find plenty of goodies in Picton, like artisanal glassworks, pottery, and clothing at the city’s downtown boutiques. Souvenirs and gift shops are also scattered around Picton for all your quick souvenir needs. Local jewelers offer designs featuring New Zealand pounamu (jade) and locally grown blue paua pearls, with their beautiful blue tones.
Tipping in New Zealand isn’t a customary practice, and a service charge isn’t included in most restaurant bills here. It is polite to round up to the nearest dollar for exceptional service. The official currency of New Zealand is the New Zealand dollar (NZD). Tipping taxi drivers isn’t really a thing here, either.