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Blenheim (New Zealand)

Photo © A. L. K. v. H.

Travel Guide Oceania Polynesia New Zealand South Island Marlborough Region Blenheim

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Introduction

NZ 101: Marlborough wine region

NZ 101: Marlborough wine region

© All Rights Reserved daveliz

Blenheim is the largest town in the Marlborough Region on New Zealand's South Island. The town has approximately 30,000 inhabitants. The surrounding area is well known as a centre of New Zealand's wine industry. It enjoys one of New Zealand's sunniest climates, with hot, relatively dry summers and crisp winters.

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Sights and Activities

  • Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, 79 Aerodrome Rd (beside Omaka Aerodrome (not Blenheim Airport) 5 km from town, route sign-posted off SH6), ☎ +64 3 579 1305, e-mail: info@omaka.org.nz. Daily 10:00am-5:00pm (last entry 4:00pm) except 25–26 Dec. Collection of World War I planes lovingly restored and captured in realistic settings. Part of the attraction is the association of Peter Jackson (of Lord of the Rings fame) and Weta Workshop with the display. His team has turned what could be just a collection of planes into a drama enjoyed by even those with little interest in aviation or military history. Worth it. Has a cafe. Adult $25, child (5–14) $10, concessions available.
  • Marlborough Museum (Brayshaw Museum Park), 26 Arthur Baker Pl (off New Renwick Rd), ☎ +64 3 578 1712, fax: +64 3 578 1739, e-mail: info@marlboroughmuseum.org.nz. Daily 10:00am-4:00pm (except ANZAC Day til 1:00pm, Good Friday & 25 Dec). There is a huge amount of artifacts and many displays which relate to the local history. Also houses "Beavertown" a replica "early Blenheim" village. Visit the audiovisual theater which shows both local and international history-oriented films. $10.
  • Millennium Art Gallery, corner Seymour & Alfred Sts (opposite Seymour Sq), ☎ +64 3 579 2001, fax: +64 3 579 2162, e-mail: marlpublicart@xtra.co.nz. M-F 10:30am-4:30pm, Sa Su 1:00-4:00pm and some public holidays. Free. Donation appreciated.
  • Pollard Park, off Parker St. Beautiful landscaping. Don't miss the roses and camellias.
  • Seymour Square, corner High and Seymour Sts. See the formal gardens

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Weather

The climate is generally very settled, largely due to the rainshadow effect of the mountain ranges to the west which shelter Blenheim from the heaviest of rains that hit the western part of the South Island.

Summers are typically warm and dry while winters are normally cool and frosty with clear sunny days that follow. Snowfall is rare as it is sheltered from cold southerly weather by the mountain ranges to the south.

Thunderstorms are an uncommon occurrence due to the sheltered climate. There is a higher likelihood in summer, when afternoon heating can generate a buildup of clouds above the ranges.

The highest recorded temperature is 37.8 °C, Recorded on 23 February 1973. The lowest is -8.8 °C.

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Getting There

By Plane

Woodbourne Airport (BHE), about 8 kilometres from Blenheim, offers flights to/from Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Paraparaumu.

By Train

The Coastal Pacific operates daily from October through April between Christchurch and Picton via Blenheim and Kaikoura. There are stunning views with the Kaikoura mountains on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other. It leaves Christchurch at 7:00am, then leaves Blenheim at 11:46am and arrives Picton at 12:13pm. The train leaves Picton at 1:00pm, leaves Blenheim at 1:33pm and arrives Christchurch at 6:21pm. The railway station is on Grove Road.

By Car

short 20 minute drive south on State Highway 1 from Picton which is the home of the terminal for the inter-island ferry service from Wellington. From Nelson, Blenheim is 1 1/2 hours east, travelling via Havelock (30 minutes) and Renwick (10 minutes) on State Highway 6. State Highway 62 runs north east from St Arnaud (1 1/4 hours), Murchison (2 hours) and Westport (3 1/2 hours) From the south, State Highway 1 takes you from Christchurch (4 hours), Kaikoura (1 1/2 hours) and Seddon (15 minutes).

By Bus

InterCity buses and Atomic shuttle buses travel Picton-Christchurch return or Picton-Nelson return, both of which pass through Blenheim. The bus will drop you off in the railway station, which is also the information centre.

Nelson Lakes Shuttles specialise in providing transport for trampers, hikers, climbers, mountain bikers and skiers. They run on-demand and scheduled services to St Arnaud, Nelson Lakes National Park, Kahurangi National Park, the Richmond Ranges and other tramping destinations further afield.

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Getting Around

By Car

Vineyards and other attractions further afield will require transport; tours or renting a car is the best option.

By Public Transport

The http://www.marlborough.govt.nz/Services/Parking-Roads-and-Transport/Blenheim-Bus-Service.aspx|Blenheim Bus Service]] is limited and of no real use to travelers.

By Foot

The centre of town and most accommodation is within easy walking distance.

By Bike

Renting a bike is a great option for exploring the surroundings.

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Drink

Marlborough is one of the top wine growing areas in New Zealand. Most of the tastings are free and the service is very friendly. A biking wine tour in Blenheim is a fantastic way to spend an afternoon. You can bring home a bottle from each in your rented bike's haversack. Most Marlborough wineries focus on white wines, with many of the wineries providing only one red variety plus a blush variety.

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Sleep

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
The Peppertree Luxury Accommodation3284 State Highway 1 Blenheim, MarlboroughHotel-
Blenheim Backpackers & Motorcamp27 Budge StreetHOSTEL-

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet cafés are widely available throughout New Zealand at rates of around NZ$2-4, though sometimes more in smaller places. Besides internet and e-mail services, most big internet cafés also offer some way for travellers to connect their digital camera and burn cds. Many public libraries have public Internet access, and most of them offer short free internet sessions. Wi-Fi access is getting more and more common in for example coffee places or fast food chains. It is becoming more common for Wi-Fi to be provided at hotels and motels, though sometimes at a fee. Wireless Hotspots are located in many cities and towns all over New Zealand from dedicated Wireless providers from whom you can buy connect time. Many camping holiday parks also have such services available.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

Dial 111 for emergency police, fire or ambulance services. The worldwide emergency number for GSM mobile phones, 112, can also be used.
The country code is 64.

Most payphones in New Zealand require the use of phone cards for payment and it is getting harder to find payphones that accept coins. As phone cards are available at a lot of outlets, they are easy to purchase and very handy as a backup in case of emergencies. Many of them also accept creditcards. Local calls are free from residential phones and charges for calling outside that area can be found at the front of the regional phone books, amongst many other services.

Mobile telephone coverage is effectively national in near urban areas although the mountainous terrain means that outside the urban areas, and especially away from the main highway system, coverage does have huge dead patches. Do not rely on mobile phones in hilly or mountainous terrain. Mobile telephone users can call 555 only to report Non-emergency traffic safety incidents, such as a breakdown, road hazard or non-injury car crash, to the Police. There are currently three major mobile carriers in New Zealand.

  • Telecom operates a UMTS (3G) network, named XT Network, nationwide on 850MHz with supplementary 2100MHz in metropolitan areas. (the same frequencies as Telstra in Australia and AT&T in the U.S.)
  • Vodafone operates a GSM network on 900MHz/2100 MHz and a UTMS (3G) network operates nationwide 900MHz with supplementary 2100MHz coverage.
  • 2degrees operates a UMTS (3G) network (2100MHz) in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch, with supplementary GSM coverage provided elsewhere by Vodafone.

A prepaid sim-card connection pack with $10 credit from Telecom or Vodafone costs around $30, and prepaid sim-cards from 2degrees cost $10. Telecom has broader coverage in remote areas away from major cities compared to Vodafone and 2degrees.

Post

Most areas have dedicated PostShops, however stamps can also be bought at grocery shops, supermarkets and book stores. There are two main formats for domestic mail, namely Standard Post and Fast Post. Fast Post is used next day delivery between major towns and cities (two days from rural areas), whereas Standard Post will take a few working days to deliver nationwide. Standard costs NZ$0.50 for letters/postcards (NZ$0.80 for larger envelopes), Fast Post costs NZ$0.80 (NZ$1.20 for larger envelopes). International mail takes about 3-6 days to Australia (NZ$1.50), and 6-12 days to Europe, Asia and the United States (NZ$2). Post boxes are white, red and black and can be found in many areas throughout towns and cities, including information about when their contents are collected. Most post offices and smaller post shops have opening hours from 9:00am to 5:00pm Monday to Friday, and 9:00am to 12:30pm on Saturday. You can buy stamps here, or at newsagents and general stores. For parcels, you can use the NZ Post or otherwise courier companies like TNT, DHL, UPS or FedEx.

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Accommodation in Blenheim (New Zealand)

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This is version 7. Last edited at 7:06 on Aug 29, 16 by Utrecht. 7 articles link to this page.

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