Blenheim Scenic Highlights
Blenheim is nestled beneath mountain ranges and is bleached by the summer sun.
Blenheim Scenic Highlights Overview
Blenheim is a region of picturesque contrasts: broad river valleys dotted with wineries, soaring mountains, historic buildings, native forest, isolated beaches, rivers and idyllic waterways.
The Boutique Wineries of the Wairau Plain
Nestled in the Wairau Plain, Blenheim is home to the largest grape growing area in New Zealand. The region's soil types, abundant sunshine, long autumns and crisp, cool winters have proved to be the ingredients needed to produce world class wines.
One of the most popular ways to see and sample what Blenheim has to offer is a wine trail, which might also encompass boutique breweries, olive groves and distilleries.
There are a variety of operators able to tailor a trail to your tastes. Many of the wineries have restaurant and cafe facilities on site—an ideal opportunity to experience alfresco dining amongst the vines.
The Magic of the Marlborough Sounds
Reaching out into the Pacific Ocean like the fingers of a welcoming hand, the Marlborough Sounds area is made up of three main bodies of water—the Queen Charlotte, Kenepuru and Pelorus Sounds. This collection of drowned river valleys is a natural wonder unparalleled in New Zealand.
Bordered by forested hills rising almost vertically from the water's edge, the Marlborough Sounds is a true scenic highlight and is easily explored from either Picton or Havelock. Sail, paddle, kayak or motor through this picturesque maritime area. Fine restaurants and accommodation lodges are scattered throughout to make your stay a comfortable one.
Lake Grassmere Saltworks
located down the coast from Blenheim, Lake Grassmere Saltworks is a large shallow lake that has ponds that develop a deepening pink colour during the summer months. At the same time, huge white mounds appear on the shore.
This fascinating landscape is the result of natural salt production. Seawater, fresh from the Pacific Ocean, is pumped into Lake Grassmere. Warm north-west winds blow across the exposed lake, evaporating water and increasing the concentration of salt. The very salty water is pumped into deep holding pens, then into shallow crystallisation ponds. As the water continues to evaporate, salt forms as a crust on the bottom of the ponds. Then the remaining water is pumped out and the dried salt is harvested, crushed, washed and moved by giant conveyor belts to form huge mounds of sparkling white crystals.
The pink to purple colour of the crystallisation ponds is caused by natural microscopic green algae that change to pink in the high salt concentration, (the same phenomena gives the Red Sea its name). Small pink shrimps thrive in this salty environment.
Other salt works in the world are generally much closer to the equator, but Blenheim warm north-westerly winds, long hours of sunshine and low summer rainfall provide the evaporation needed to extract salt from the sea.
Blenheim is a popular tourist destination and offers a wide range of accommodation options:
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Useful Blenheim Links
To help plan your Blenheim holiday choose from the main categories below:
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- Blenheim Attractions and Activities
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- Blenheim Visitor Information
Blenheim Region Information
Key information and facts about the Blenheim region.
Major activities and attractions in the Blenheim region.