Marlborough Short Walks
Marlborough’s natural beauty is not only world class, but its easy access to stunning wilderness areas makes the scenery so easy to enjoy, for the whole family.
Wither Hills Farm Park - photo: MarlboroughNZ
Stroll for just five minutes from your car and be surrounded by towering cliffs, sea caves and crashing surf?
Or walk for another 20 minutes along forested pathways to reach a white sandy beach where a swim in the ocean is a given?
Even the Marlborough Sounds requires little footwork to enjoy, with as little as 10 minutes of relaxed strolling required to find yourself on a rocky headland with sweeping views across Queen Charlotte Sound, or a secluded, bush-clad beach.
Short walks abound in Marlborough, be it beside a crystal blue river, a rushing creek, rolling hills or along stunning coastal hillsides.
There are walks are for all ages and abilities: Take the kids, or amble along at your leisure, enjoying the feeling of being surrounded by nature with little more than a water bottle and a camera to carry.
Read on for some examples of short walks around Marlborough.
- The Whites Bay Track is one hour return. Starting at Rarangi Beach, follow the signposted track through coastal native bush until you emerge on Port Underwood Rd. Here, enjoy stunning views across the Pacific Ocean as you walk, until you find the signs pointing to the next stage of the track. A relatively steep descent through pine forest leads to beautiful Whites Bay, a safe and pristine swimming beach popular with locals in summer.
Whites Bay - photo: MarlboroughNZ.com
- At Whites Bay you’ll find the 10-minute Pukatea Walk which follows a clear stream from near the beach to the upper camping ground. Great for kids, the track is through bush and bridges the stream twice. Several longer walks connect to this track including the Black Jack Track.
- For views across Blenheim, the Wairau Plain, Cloudy Bay and even to the North Island, visit the Wither Hills Farm Park and choose from the many walks that criss-cross these hills to suit your timeframe and ability. The Wither Hills is a much-loved recreational escape for locals, with options ranging from gently sloping valley meanders to the more challenging climb to the lookout on the highest peak, Mt Vernon.
- Monkey Bay is a rugged cove just five minute walk from the east coast settlement of Rarangi, up a flight of stone stairs and down a narrow cliffside path. At the top is a viewing point towards the North Island, easily visible on a clear day, with interpretive signs.
- Onamalutu Scenic Reserve, on the North Bank of the Wairau River, offers short walks through a stand of mature podocarp forest of matai and kahikatea trees to the Onamalutu River, perfect for swimming and picnics.
- Momorangi Bay Forest Experience is a great walk for kids, with interactive interpretation along the way including bird calls and weta motels. The 20 minute walk takes in bush and streams and is accessible from the back of Momorangi Campground.
- Governers Bay Track is accessible from Queen Charlotte Drive just before Ngakuta Bay and well worth stopping for. From the car, walk an easy 10 minutes downhill to find a classically beautiful Marlborough Sounds beach framed by bush, with clear blue water lapping gently on to the shore.
- Karaka Point is a sacred place for Maori, and the site of a former fortified village overlooking Queen Charlotte Sound. An easy wide track leads from the carpark through bush to the head of the peninsula where you’ll find a rocky beach. Information signs along the way tell the story of the Maori people who once occupied this area and hollows in the earth mark the former settlement. The walk is about 10 minutes one way.
Karaka Point - photo: MarlboroughNZ.com
- On the highway about halfway between Blenheim and Nelson you’ll pass through Pelorus Bridge, a beautiful pocket of rare untouched native forest with the Pelorus River at its heart. There are numerous walks, from mere minutes on wheelchair accessible tracks to more difficult trails of several hours, all starting at one of the two car parks. Choose from one of two short loop walks or just stroll a few minutes downstream and enjoy a swim in the cool, deep Pelorus River.
Pelorus Bridge - photo: MarlboroughNZ.com
Take your own car, or ask Marlborough Tour Company guides to show you some of the best short walks - they know them all.