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Can/should we visit Marlborough between two port stops?


marne-c

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My wife and I want to spend some time in the Marlborough vineyard county in New Zealand's South Island. The closest port stops on our Mercury cruise are Christchurch and Wellington.

 

My belief is that we would not have enough time at either of those ports to get to/from Blenheim and visit the Marlborough vineyards in a single day.

 

So does it make sense to leave the ship in Christchurch and take two days (with an overnight somewhere) to drive up to Blenheim, see some vineyards, continue up to Picton or Nelson, take a ferry to Wellington, and rejoin the Mercury there?

 

I've never been to New Zealand, so I'd welcome any input from folks who know the ground.

 

--Marne

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Depending on what time you think you might be able to get off the ship, a better option might be to fly from Christchurch to Blenheim, if getting to the wineries is your primary goal. But the current Air New Zealand timetables don't seem promising for this option, unless you're willing to wait until lunchtime for a flight (there seem to be three a day). But driving would take you 4 hours or so anyway, so you might not lose very much even if you were to wait for a flight.

 

One thing that driving would permit: a stop at Kaikoura to go whale-watching, if that might appeal to you.

 

You should definitely fly from Blenheim to Wellington. Flights are plentiful, fast and (if booked in advance) cheap. Taking the ferry will take far too long for what you're trying to do.

 

In fact, from Wellington there is a theoretically-possible day trip by air to the Blenheim area - but personally I would think that this builds in too much risk.

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Thanks for the info, Globalizer!

 

I agree that visiting Marlborough as a day-trip from either the Christchurch or Wellington would be rushed and risky. That's why I thought that a between-the-two-port-stops plan would be better.

 

I didn't plan to fly from Blenheim to Wellington because I've read here on CC that the ferry ride through Marlborough Sound is spectacular.

 

Anyone else have any thoughts????

 

--Marne

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I didn't plan to fly from Blenheim to Wellington because I've read here on CC that the ferry ride through Marlborough Sound is spectacular.
That's true: It is. But the ferry journey itself is three hours (if there are no delays), to which you have to allow time to get from the Blenheim area (wherever you are) to Picton, plus check-in, and time to disembark at the other end. If you are trying to catch up with your ship before it sails that afternoon, you probably wouldn't have much time to do any wine stuff that day, which then leaves you only with the previous day and the constraints that are there.
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My wife and I want to spend some time in the Marlborough vineyard county in New Zealand's South Island. The closest port stops on our Mercury cruise are Christchurch and Wellington.

 

My belief is that we would not have enough time at either of those ports to get to/from Blenheim and visit the Marlborough vineyards in a single day.

 

So does it make sense to leave the ship in Christchurch and take two days (with an overnight somewhere) to drive up to Blenheim, see some vineyards, continue up to Picton or Nelson, take a ferry to Wellington, and rejoin the Mercury there?

 

I've never been to New Zealand, so I'd welcome any input from folks who know the ground.

 

--Marne

Why dont you organise a wine tour with one of the private tour companies in Wellinton to take you out to the wine region of the Wairarapa, this is a great area for wines [i think the first nz winery was started there]. Its easily doable in a day tour from Wellington and the scenery is great, you go over through some great mountain ranges. just try a google search on wine tours wellington and i am sure you will find a good company. Regards

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I agree with LimoBoy. You'll see so much in all of your stops in NZ (since this is your first trip) that missing Marlborough will not be a big deal. It's fun to stop in wine bars along the way and specifically ask for NZ wines that are not exported.

 

And you will love Christchurch (our favorite city in NZ). It would be sad for you to miss Christchurch and Wellington to go to Marlborough, IMHO. n:)

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Agree with Limoboy...first, you really will enjoy Christchurch and Wellington, especially since this is your first trip to NZ. Missing Marlborough would not be a big deal IF you visit other wine areas. Also suggest that you stop in wine bars, etc. and try NZ wines - ask for those that are NOT exported. I've been sad to find terrific wines and then not be able to bring them home (due to security issues) or take them onboard (due to cruiseline rules).

 

I wouldn't count on ferry or plane schedules to get me back and forth on time - that anxiety would take away the pleasure of touring Marlborough. Just MHO. :)

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