“Escape the every day” dares a sign promoting tours on the Marlborough River Queen.
Similar flights from the daily hurly-burly are offered by other tourist operators around Blenheim and in greater Marlborough and residents are urged to learn about them at a Holiday Expo in town tomorrow.
Organised by promotion body Grow Marlborough, the expo will see 49 stands set up at the Marlborough Convention Centre and River Queen co-owner Peter Makin is hoping for a big turnout.
“If we can show the diversity of things to see and do here then it can only be for the good of the entire community.”
Peter and his wife Sandra moved to New Zealand from Britain after holidaying here in 2001. Five years later Peter and his brother bought the River Queen and in 2010 Peter and Sandra started running it on their own.
Conscious that Blenheim had never really made it as a destination in its own right on the tourism map, Peter and a group of other business operators joined forces and formed the Blenheim Loop.
Each is an attraction in its own right and together they provide visitors with a full Marlborough Experience: The Makana Chocolate Factory, Traditional Country Preserves, The Vines Village, Hedgerows Hydroponic Strawberry Farm, Omaka Classic Cars, Omaka Aviation Heritage Museum, The Honey Company and The River Queen.
Plans are in place with other operators to form a second loop with more active experiences, Peter says, listing: Scenic flights, cycle tours, fishing trips, kayak adventures, nature trips and wine tours by bike.
And as if beautiful scenery, long sunshine hours, world-renowned wines, wonderful foods and varied activities aren’t enough to lure people here for a holiday escape, Marlborough also makes its mark in the history books.
It was the Wairau Bar – positioned at the end of the Opawa River which the River Queen cruises along – where Polynesian migrants first settled in the early 13th century, making it the most recent site on Earth to be discovered and settled by humans.
● Holiday Expo runs from 10am to 3pm Sunday at the Marlborough Convention Centre.
Many of the stalls will be set up again on Tuesday in a “Showcase Renwick and Beyond,” to be held from 6pm to 8pm at the Giesen Sports Centre.