The picturesque town of Picton serves as a gateway to the inlets and islands of Marlborough Sounds. From here, you can explore Queen Charlotte Sound, which is known for its pristine beaches, sandy bays, beautiful coves, and lush forests. The best way to see Picton’s amazing sights is by hiring a campervan and VroomVroomVroom can help you with that as we compare the best deals from the country’s leading providers.
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Picton is surrounded by the sea-drowned valleys of the Marlborough Sounds, with secluded bays and crystal waters. It is the perfect pit stop for your New Zealand road trip, being the arrival or departure point for the Cook Strait ferry. Fun and exciting activities await you here – from kayaking and mountain biking to swimming with the dolphins!
Some of our favourite things to do year-round in Picton are:
Summer (December, January, February): Summer means beach time and there are some beautiful beaches in Picton that are worth checking out. Shelley Beach is just a few minutes away from downtown Picton. You can either walk there or drive to the beach via the marina. Bob’s Bay is also nearby and there is a track going there coming from Shelley Beach.
Autumn (March, April, May): The cool weather makes it the perfect time to explore the outdoors. Join the GrapeRide which is held every March at the Forrest Estate. The course passes through Wairau, Picton and Havelock. If you missed the race, you can also go biking or hiking at Queen Charlotte Track. The track starts from Ship Cove and ends in Anakiwa.
Winter (June, July, August): To avoid the cold and wet weather, it is best to explore Picton’s indoor attractions including the Edwin Fox Maritime Museum. After discovering the world’s 9th oldest ship, head to EcoWorld Aquarium & Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre where you can see some of New Zealand’s unique species.
Spring (September, October, November): Sample the region's best wines and local produce by going on a wine tour. There are many companies that offer wine tours from Picton so check what will best suit your needs and budget. Another popular place to visit during spring is the Winterhome Garden, which is just over an hour drive from the town.
Year-Round: A trip to Marlborough Sounds won’t be complete without visiting The Picton Foreshore Reserve. You can enjoy a relaxing stroll along the boulevard, swim or sunbathe at the sandy beach, or watch the kids play at the water play area or playground. Of course, going on a day trip to nearby destinations such as Kaipupu Wildlife Sanctuary, Kaikoura, and Blenheim should be included in your list.
Waikawa Bay Holiday Park at 5 Waimarama Street is the only holiday park accommodation in Picton with views of the bay. This park provides budget accommodation from standard cabins to self-contained units and park motels. Some of the indoor and outdoor facilities they offer include a kitchen, swimming pool, playground, badminton and volleyball courts and boat parking.
Parklands Marina Holiday Park is located at 10 Beach Road, Waikawa Marina. It offers many accommodation options, from standard to self-contained cabins, as well as tent sites and power sites that are very spacious, giving all visitors their needed privacy and comfort. This holiday park provides all kinds of activities you will surely enjoy - from boating to walking to wine trails to fishing and more.
Picton Campervan Park at 42 Kent Street is just a 10-minute walk to the town centre. It has a perfect central location, clean facilities and rooms, campervan sites, WiFi + Kiosk access, a lounge with Sky TV offering 50+ channels, and hot showers. Also, the park is conveniently situated near a general store, local tavern and restaurant.
Picton TOP 10 Holiday Park is located at 70-78 Waikawa Road and offers a wide range of accommodation options including cabins and powered sites. Guests can take advantage of their modern facilities such as solar-heated swimming pool, children's playground, barbecue area, and free Wi-Fi.
Smiths Farm Holiday Park is situated at 1419 Queen Charlotte Drive, Linkwater. The park is huge and peaceful with facilities ranging from comfortable standard cabins to self-contained units, and motels. There is a modern ablution block where guests can do their laundry, cook, eat and take a bath.
E-Ko Tours gives you the opportunity to experience swimming with the dolphins. Their tours operate in the clear waters of the Marlborough Sounds and boast an 80% success rate for being able to get guests swimming alongside wild dolphins.
Queen Charlotte Track is a 70-kilometre one-way track that affords magnificent views of the Marlborough Sounds. Explore this premium walking, biking or sea kayaking experience. There is a seamless network of walking, cycling, cruising and pack transfer services, so you are able to tailor the trip to fit the time you have available.
Edwin Fox Maritime Museum is located at Dunbar Wharf. The museum gives you a glimpse of Picton's maritime history. The world's oldest merchant ship the Edwin Fox is in dry dock there, and the National Whale Centre has a display at the port.
Kaipupu Wildlife Sanctuary can be accessed by boat, water taxi or kaya from Picton. It takes around ten minutes to reach this place. The sanctuary lets you get closer to unique native wildlife such as korimako (bellbird), korora (little penguin), and piwakawaka (fantail). You can visit this place anytime since it is open 24 hours, every day of the year.
You need to be at least 21 to hire a campervan in Picton, but there are some companies that accept drivers as young as 18-years-old.
Yes, you can still rent a campervan even if you are over 75. However, you may be required to provide a medical certificate to the rental company.
Visit immigration.govt.nz for updates on New Zealand travel restrictions.
There is no need for a special licence to be able to drive a campervan. As long as your driver’s licence is valid, then you can use that.
Unfortunately, you can’t just park your campervan wherever you want in Picton. There are car parks with height and width restrictions as well as no parking zones.
There are several freedom camping sites near Picton including Collins Memorial in Koromiko, Double Bay and Ohingaroa Bay both in Mahau Sound, and Ohauparuparu Bay in Kenepuru Sound.