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The picturesque seaside town of Picton is nestled at the head of Queen Charlotte Sound in the Marlborough Sounds. Picton is the South Island port for ferry services that link the main islands of New Zealand. It is also an ideal base to explore the marine, forest and island attractions of the Marlborough Sounds. Built around a very sheltered harbour, the town has an attractive seafront dotted with cafés, shops and galleries.
Picton was once a Māori settlement and is rich in history. Local stories can be uncovered in the National Whale Centre, Picton Museum, or aboard former Crimean vessel the Edwin Fox – the ninth oldest ship in the world – now permanently moored along the foreshore.
These days Picton is a haven for art lovers intent on discovering unique local artworks and delicately crafted jewellery and pottery amid its galleries and souvenir gift shops. When you need a break from browsing the shops, stop and sample fresh local cuisine at one of Picton’s waterfront restaurants or sidewalk cafes where you can sit and enjoy an espresso in the sun.
The Queen Charlotte Track is a major local attraction which you can experience on foot or mountain bike. Or explore the Queen Charlotte Sound with a local cruising, fishing, dolphin watching or sea kayaking business. The Marlborough wine region, famous for its sauvignon blanc, is 20 minutes from Picton. The region has more than 35 cellar doors offering tastings of sauvignon blanc, pinot noir, aromatics and methode traditionelle sparkling wines, ranging from internationally-recognised names to boutique family producers.
Within the wine region, the internationally renowned Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre is home to The Hobbit director Sir Peter Jackson’s rare collection of WW1 aircraft and memorabilia, set in captivating scenes that depict the aircraft in context, bringing stories from the Great War to life.
Port Marlborough, Picton
Waitohi Wharf is the main port facility.
Shakespeare Bay is available for ships longer than 245m.
Channel Depth: 13.4 metres
Max LOA: 804 feet (245 metres)
Draft Alongside: 7.5 metres south-end and 10.0 metres north-end, to be confirmed at time by pilots – 0.3m UKC.
Max LOA: 1,049.9 feet (320 metres)
Max Draft Alongside: 14.5 metres
Shore Gangways: Three, plus two container platforms.
Neap – 2.0 feet (0.6 metres)
[0.5m MLWN – 1.1m MHWN]
Spring – 5.6 feet (1.7 metres)
[0.0m MLWS – 1.7m MHWS]
Picton is part of the Marlborough region which includes the Marlborough Sounds, Blenheim and the Awatere and Wairau Valley wine growing regions.
Distance to the city
Cruise vessels berth at Waitohi Wharf close to the centre of the small township.
Shakespeare Bay is slightly further away from the centre of Picton and is a short 3 minute drive away.
Picton is just a short walk from Waitohi Wharf in Picton Harbour. The pier is the town’s main commercial wharf and is adjacent to the ferry terminal. It is a 10 minute stroll along the waterfront to downtown Picton. A complimentary bus from the wharf to the centre of Picton is provided.
Picton is 20 minutes by car to Blenheim.
If you wish to explore the Queen Charlotte Sound, there are many water taxis and charter boats available for hire. You can find them easily alongside the Foreshore.
Taxi Services (based in Picton):
• Marlborough Shuttles 0800 203027 ( in New Zealand only) or +64 21 133 5946
Alternatively, rental cars are available for hire at the Interislander ferry terminal.
ATM machines/ Currency Exchange
Banks and ATM machines can be found on High Street, Picton.
Mondays to Sundays: 9am – 5.30pm
The shops will open for cruise ships.
- Four Square, 49 High Street, Picton, +64 3 573 6141
- Fresh Choice, High Street, Picton, + 64 3 573 6463
Nearest Internet Cafés
- Free Wifi hotspots: Picton iSITE and the Picton Foreshore
- Picton Library, High Street Picton
- Interislander Ferry terminal, The Foreshore.
- Le Café, London Quay, Picton
- Marlborough Sounds Adventure Co, The Town Wharf, 10 London Quay, Picton
- Marlborough Sounds Adventure Co., The Town Wharf, 10 London Quay, Picton
Picton Post Shop, Mariners Mall, 72 High Street, +64 3 573 6900
Note: Closed in the weekend.
Summer: High of 73F (23°C), low of 54F (12°C)
Winter: High of 55F (13°C), low of 37F (3°C)
Average rainfall of 689 mm and average sunshine of 2470 hours.
Picton i-SITE Visitor Information Centre: The Foreshore, +64 3 520 3113
Blenheim i-SITE Visitor Information Centre: 8 Sinclair Street, across from the Blenheim Railway Station, +64 3 577 8080
What is Picton & Marlborough known for?
Marlborough Sounds, Queen Charlotte Track, Dolphins, Nature Walks, Mountain Biking, Sauvignon Blanc, Wineries, Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, Greenshell Mussels, King Salmon, Cherries, Olive Oil, Gardens…
Attractions & Activities
- Vineyards, wine tours, gourmet food and gardens
- Walking, kayaking, biking and boat cruises
- The Marlborough Sounds
- Greenshell Mussel
- Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre
- Karaka Point for an expansive view up and down the Queen Charlotte Sound both from the carpark and the lookout. It is 7km (4.3 miles) or 15 minutes drive away from city centre.
- Queen Charlotte Drive lookout, a 30 minute walk from the ship, allows unlimited views of the town and the harbour. Bob’s Bay walk – 1 hour return
- Picton foreshore’s National Whale Centre, Museum, Aquarium, Edwin Fox – the world’s 9th oldest ship
- Scenic Flights
For more information on visitor attractions, visit www.MarlboroughNZ.com.
View the full calendar here
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