PLAN YOUR STAY IN MARLBOROUGH
Your hosts at Straw Lodge are committed to helping you experience the very best this diverse and beautiful region can offer. Whether you wish to self-drive or be guided they will help you plan and discover Marlborough's most interesting, beautiful and wild places.
Be warned, whether you have one, two, three, four or more days you will never have enough time to enjoy all that is to offer in Marlborough. One of the most common comments given by guest as they depart Straw Lodge "...we wished we had known... we wished we had given Marlborough more time."
You may not wish to leave the tranquility and beauty of your courtyard and the vineyard setting. You will be welcome to wander in the vineyard and observe the workings of the vineyard day.
Whether it is Churton, the wine of the vineyard, or samples from the world famous wineries of the region you will not be short of choice and quality when in Marlborough. Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is rated throughout the world as the definitive benchmark style for this variety. This is an exceptional international standard and one that New Zealand is justifiably proud of. Early results from its Pinot Noir vintages suggest that this variety could also bring similar acclaim. Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer and Methode sparking wines are among other Marlborough wines that tempt the senses, taste buds and wallet!
You will have several options for touring the wineries.
You can be driven by luxury car and escorted on a private tour; take a tour with a guide and join with a small group in a mini van on a half day or full day tour around the more interesting wineries; take a bike from the lodge and ride the back tracks to access the wineries and restaurants; with a supplied wine map and plenty of inside knowledge and advise from your hosts, you may decide to self-drive. We can help you plan to tour in your own time the wineries that are greatest interest to you and perhaps suggest some boutique wineries you may not have heard of.
The majority of wineries do not charge for their tastings, and whilst they will be delighted if you choose to purchase a bottle or two they realise the limitations of traveling with too much wine in your luggage. What can be easily arranged for you is the shipment to your home of mixed cases of your wine choice. Door-to-door quotes are given and your wine will be shipped and delivered to your door, world-wide.
Some of the finest restaurants of the region are attached to the wineries. You will be able to take a break with a coffee, a cheese board, a vineyard platter or a full gourmet lunch. The large numbers of wineries in the district provide a range of delightfully designed buildings to enrich the tasting process. Many feature galleries, in-house artists, craft shops, olive oil tasting, vine libraries and opportunities to view and learn more of the wine making process.
Sample Marlborough's gourmet food products.
From the world famous green shell mussels, organically farmed salmon, wild meats, fish lamb and beef, fresh organic vegetables and fruit including the wonderful Marlborough cherries, oils, nuts and chocolates, your taste buds will be delighted. Through the summer months you can visit the weekly Farmers market. Purchase your own products and BBQ a treat in the privacy of your vineyard setting. Straw Lodge and the best local restaurants will use the very freshest and best of the local products. Whether you dine in or out there is something for every taste in Marlborough.
Not only does Marlborough have one of New Zealand's top restaurants, Herzogs, but we can arrange for you to extend this special dinning experience with a Herzog 'Kitchen Confidential'. You will become part of the kitchen staff as you learn some of the secrets behind the great dishes before you retire to the dinning room to enjoy the fine cuisine and choose from their extensive wine list. Alternatively you could engage one of New Zealand's top celebrity chefs, Chris Fortune, to demonstrate in the Straw Lodge kitchen, the preparation and stories behind some iconic Marlborough products before enjoying a wonderful gourmet meal together.
Many guests of the Straw Lodge choose to make use of the available bikes to explore the surrounding vineyards, wineries, river banks and countryside. The bikes are off road recreational models not designed for extreme off road conditions but comfortable for the country roads, vineyard rows and river banks that you will be exploring. From Straw Lodge off-road tracks lead to many of the wineries and restaurants of the district. Make a day of it or take a short ride down to the river for a refreshing start to the day.
Walk from the vineyard or seriously trek.
Some of New Zealand's most beautiful walks and trekking areas are found in Marlborough. From Straw Lodge you have walking access to a number of river-side tracks that take you through extensive vineyard areas down to the Wairau and Waihopai Rivers. Swimming holes in the summer can be found as well as interesting bird life. What you will rarely see are other walkers. From Straw Lodge there are also many options to take short or extended day treks. These can be guided or freedom walked. We can help you select the best of the walks to have you home in the evening to the comfort of your vineyard suite.
Queen Charlotte Track
Nydia Track in the Pelorous Sound
Nelson Lakes National Park's Lake Rotoiti area
Mount Richmond Ranges
Marlborough has a number of courses for you to visit. Straw Lodge offers free use of its three golf sets. Wairau Valley Course is particularly popular with guests. It is a nine hole country course that provides some interesting holes and wonderful mountain views. The green fees are just $15.00 and it is only a 15min. drive down the valley.
Art & craft tours.
Many artists and crafts people have been attracted to Marlborough for its natural beauty, unpolluted environment, pleasant climate and general unhurried pace of life. The range of work is diverse from handweaving, painting, bone carving, china and glass work, quilting craft, pottery, wood turning and sculpture, Polynesian and contemporary designs in bone, jade and wood, sculpture and traditional Maori carvings, alpaca goods and paua and jade jewellery
The artist's studios are dotted throughout the region and it is possible to combine a personal tour to many with other activities and visits such as wine tasting, farm activities, interesting restaurants and general sightseeing along the way.
Blenheim is a comfortable 2hr. drive to Kaikoura where we can arrange for you to take a whale-watch tour. It is rare that whales are not seen in this beautiful area of Marlborough.
Cruise the Marlborough Sounds.
It is possible to combine a cruise in the Sounds, not only some great walks, dolphin and bird watching but also a visit to a mussel farm to share in a feast of this region's delicacy, the green shell mussel.
Swim with the dolphins.
Day tour in the Marlborough Sounds and swim with dolphins. All equipment is supplied for you to share in possibly one of the most exciting and exhilarating nature experiences.
View rare birds.
Combine a boat trip out in the Marlborough Sounds and visit a remote bird sanctuary. You will walk amongst some of the world's rarest birds.
Drive and discover the diversity of the region.
- With their local knowledge your hosts at Straw Lodge are able to help you discover out-of-way places and the diversity of Marlborough's cottage industries and the beauty of the region far from the main roads. You may wish to participate in farm activities, see freshwater crayfish (koura) being farmed in the clear spring waters of the Wairau Valley, participate in aromatherapy sessions and view the beautiful lavender garden of Leighvander, see how sheep's milk cheeses are produced, visit a day spa or simply sightsee in some majestic back-country and waterways of the Marlborough Sounds.
- The historic Molesworth Station and stunning Rainbow Valley are two areas linked by back-country roads that are limited to summer access. Day trips into this beautiful area provide an exhilarating "wilderness driving" experience. Other routes take you high into the Richmond Range, through mixed beech forest, alongside clear mountain streams to swimming holes and picnic spots, and to Onamalutu Reserve and the unique remnants of tall podocarp forest that once would have covered much of the alluvial plains of the Wairau valley.
- A trip from Blenheim to the picturesque sea side town of Picton via Whites Bay and Port Underwood provides magnificent views of the Wairau Valley, Marlborough coastline and Sounds over to the North Island of New Zealand. There
- From Picton a trip around Queen Charlotte Drive and onto the green shell mussel capital of the world, Havelock, completes a day of insight and exploration of this area most visitors would not experience.
- You can drive deep into the mass of waterways of the Marlborough Sounds to learn and see more of the unique culture, flora and fauna, and landscapes of this very special area. For example a visit to the French Pass settlement and Elaine Bay fishing port offers wonderful panoramic views and opportunities for short walks through bush and coastline not normally accessed by visitors on tight schedules and without local knowledge.
- It is a pleasant 1 ½ hour drive to Nelson to visit the local galleries and the wonderful World Of Wearable Arts Museum., 'WOW'.
fly-fish or sea-fish.
If your passion is fly-fishing the clear waters and seclusion of Marlborough's rivers and small streams will provide a challenging fishing experience that will often prove to be very rewarding. We can provide a quote for a professional fly-fishing guide for you. Saltwater sports fishing in the Sounds for kahawai, blue cod and snapper is great fun. There are numerous services in either Queen Charlotte Sounds or Pelorous/Keneporu Sounds that provide a variety of opportunities to enjoy saltwater fishing. We can provide a quote if you wished to take a professional fishing charter. Fishing in the Sounds does not require a fishing license, just a desire to give it a go and enjoy a wonderfully unspoiled area of bush and clean waters that is the envy of so many in the world.
During the winter months the Rainbow Ski Field offers good skiing and some wonderful scenery. Situated in the Nelson Lakes National Park it is a 1 ½ hour drive from Straw Lodge to the field.