Regarded as New Zealand’s sunniest province, the Marlborough region is an area of great natural beauty which occupies the north-eastern corner of the South Island. The landscape is diverse, stretching from the sheltered waterways of the Marlborough Sounds to Kaikoura, where snow-capped mountains meet the sea.
The sheltered coastal bays of Marlborough supported a small Maori population from possibly as early as the twelfth century. Anthropologists have christened this part of central Aotearoa, Waenganui, which stretched from the inland Ureweras to Kaiapohia. Maori in the region lived by fishing and cultivating crops, including kumara, a sweet potato.
Marlborough was not sighted by Europeans until the arrival of Captain James Cook in 1770. Sixty years later, the first European settlers were drawn by the rich coastline and arrived to set up whaling stations here.
Today the region’s economy is still rural based, with pastoral and horticultural farming providing a major source of income. Wine production has been one of the fastest growing industries and Marlborough is now one of New Zealand’s largest wine producing regions.
A link to Kaikoura's whaling past, Fyffe House is the town's oldest surviving building. More than a house site, it encompasses many aspects of human history in the South Island, including moa hunting, kumara gardening, whaling, fishing, farming, port activities, family life and tourism.
This handmade colonial cottage is built from totara slabs and was home to Charles and Tilly Turner and their four children from the early 1880s until 1909.
"Must do" checklist for Nelson and Marlborough
Whale watching, Kaikoura
Explore Marlborough Sounds - walk, car or boat
Visit the many artisans