Blenheim is a small town on the North tip of the South Island. It may not seem very exciting in travel books, or online. That’s because it’s not run down with tour companies or chain hostels. With the lack of information available about the town, travellers are unaware of what it has to offer.
Most travellers stay in Blenheim for a few months to work in the vineyards, but very few people stop here as a tourist destination. If you have the means to get here, even for just a day, it is worth the pit stop. It is a quick 20-minute commute from Picton, the town you enter when taking the ferry from the North Island.
Here are our top activities to convince you why Blenheim, New Zealand doesn’t suck!
1. Try the local wine
Blenheim, in New Zealand has a core vineyard trail that can take up at least 2 days of your time. It’s the best vineyard route in New Zealand if you ask me. Join a wine tour of the region.
You’re not a wine connoisseur? Blenheim also has the MOA brewery open for tasting and a chocolate factory. Can’t go wrong with that! I was toast by the end of my wine tour in Blenheim.
2. Stay and have drinks at the Grovetown Country Hotel and Pub
Just a 2-minute drive outside the city centre on Highway 1, this pub-hostel is perfect for people of any age. It’s also got a fair amount of accommodation facilities for camper vans and tents visiting Blenheim.
With a bar attached to it, stumbling home at the end of the night is a quick crawl up the stairway. The best night to grab a beer there is on a Friday when all the locals come out for good food and cheap beer. It’s also crawling with backpackers who like to take advantage of the free pool table, especially during the warmer month.
The pub itself has an immense amount of history and its regular customers will be more than willing to chat with you. If you’re not feeling the pub, peek out back where you can usually find a few backpackers drinking beers or listening to music and hanging out.
Note: There are a lot of awesome people, but not everyone is awesome. Maybe see how good their ‘high five’ is before you make friends!
3. Try fresh mussels
Ask around if anyone knows a fisherman you can buy some fresh mussels from. While this sounds a bit random, the odds of finding fresh mussels from a local fisherman are high.
If you are a bit shy, another option is to hop a town over to Picton where the mussel factory is. At Picton, you can purchase some mouth-watering mussels. Or you could be a cheat and do it the easy way – eat out, as I will mention in my next point.
4. Get your eat on
The restaurants in Blenheim left much to be desired. Don’t bother eating in town, most of the places other than Thai take-out weren’t great. Alas, most vineyards have restaurants attached to their tasting area.
Sit on the patio, with views of the elongating vineyards and rolling mountains in the background. At the same time, you’ll be eating melt-in-your-mouth food and drinking delicious wine! Keep in mind, most places close fairly early. You should call and make sure they are open if you plan to eat there.
5. Go on a trek with phenomenal views
Blenheim is surrounded by lush scenery, mountains, ocean coasts and riversides. The multitudes of hiking trails to choose from are endless. You can also ride a bike down to the river or the Blenheim beach for swimming, surfing or just laying in the sun. If you’re lazy, you can also reach most of these spots by car.
Blenheim, New Zealand is a great place to see, even if just for a day or two!