We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Blenheim vs. Nelson

belleville, illinois
Level Contributor
125 posts
37 reviews
Save Topic
Blenheim vs. Nelson

During our 18 day New Zealand trip in March of 2010, we want to spend 3 days on the North part of the South Island. We will be flying out of Wellington and are debating between Blenheim and Nelson. Is it possible to base in one and daytrip to the other? We like the idea of visiting Marlborough wineries, but the funky nature of Nelson appeals as well.

Must say New Zealand has such a plethora of choices, this is the hardest trip we have planned on our own!! Right now we are Auckland, Rotorua, Fox Glacier and Milford Sound. We are missing a lot, so want to make the most of what we see.

Thank you.

Mentioned in this post
New Zealand
New Zealand
South Pacific
South Island
South Island
New Zealand
Auckland
Auckland
North Island, New Zealand
New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
Level Contributor
28,988 posts
85 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Blenheim vs. Nelson

You could commute if you wish, though I think the 3 hour round trip might possibly be better spent elsewhere. If you post your entire itinerary we can possibly suggest better ways to maximise your 18 days :)

Christchurch, New...
Destination Expert
for South Island
Level Contributor
8,640 posts
216 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Blenheim vs. Nelson

It's a bit over an hour each way. Nelson is a small city, Blenheim is a town. It depends on you want to do. Both have more wineries than you could do justice to in 3 months! Blenheim is 1/2 an hour to the Malboroght Sound and trrips. Nelson is 40 minutes to Kaiteriteri and boat trips up Tasman Bay. If there were 4 of you, and you all went to both the group would split 2:2 on what was best. You could not ask me this if my wife was present as there would be an argument.

LOL. It depends on "where next" as it may make a difference which way you are going. If It's to Wellington, then stay in Blenheim or Picton. If it's Punakiki, then stay in Nelson, or Motueka.

Mentioned in this post
Kaiteriteri
Kaiteriteri
Nelson-Tasman Region, New Zealand
Motueka
Motueka
Nelson-Tasman Region, New Zealand
belleville, illinois
Level Contributor
125 posts
37 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Blenheim vs. Nelson

Thanks so much for the feedback. I suspect we are doing this backwards from package tours, ie going North Island first then to South. But we are spending just a day or two in Auckland, doing the Waitomo cave, a couple of days and 3 nights in Rotorua and one night in Napier before flying from Wellington to either Blenheim or Nelson . We have four days at one of these then a rush to Fox Glacier (2 nights)Te Anau (one night) Milford Sound (overnight cruise) then back to Queenstown for one night before flying back to Auckland to return home. My husband doesn't mind driving but he hates the one night in each hotel deal. (NZMike- you must know about spousal arguments!) Which is why I was trying to choose between Blenhiem and Nelson as a home base for those days. Sadly, we had to drop the Punakiki stop. So, PLEASE, don't tell me what other great stuff we are missing!!! :) We are locked into everything except two of the Rotorua nights til we leave Blenheim or Nelson- March 9- to March 14.

Mentioned in this post
North Island
North Island
New Zealand
Auckland
Auckland
North Island, New Zealand
New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
Level Contributor
28,988 posts
85 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Blenheim vs. Nelson

I trust you have a helicopter on call for this trip? Please don't tell me you hope to drive from Nelson to Fox, a 7 hour drive. Then you intend to drive to Te Anau, a drive of almost 8 hours???

Our roads are nothing like the US interstates. Our roads are narrow, twisty, steep duel-carriageways (meaning one lane in each direction) which requires the driver's full attention. Franz to Wanaka has close to 20 one lane bridges where you need to slow and stop at each one.

The number one cause of tourist accidents in this country is driver fatigue. The number two cause is failing to drive on the left. You get tired and after crossing a one lane bridge you forget to move back to the left side of the road. I know this from experience, having lived in NY for 20 years and then coming home on holiday and sometimes 'forgetting' to drive left. Our roads can be both physically and mentally exhausting.

I strongly urge to rethink your plans. Perhaps you can fly Nelson to Queenstown and save Fox for your next trip.

belleville, illinois
Level Contributor
125 posts
37 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Blenheim vs. Nelson

I think I did not make myself clear, but still appreciate your input. We are driving from Nelson to Fox, spending a night, doing a glacier thing, spending a second night and then driving on to Te Anau on day 3. Does that make more sense or is it still too ambitious? We don't want to commit to more than 8 hours or so on the road on any given day. As you point out so well, that's exhausting enough even if we were accostomed to the left hand driving. I still have vivid memories of driving my nails into my husband's leg when we negotiated the tiny roads in Ireland. Thank you for reminding us of the dangers to everyone by over extending yourself:)

Mentioned in this post
Ireland
Ireland
Europe
belleville, illinois
Level Contributor
125 posts
37 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Blenheim vs. Nelson

One more thing, you obviously not only have a lot of information to share, but care about tourism and tourists. I may want to pick your brain again.

Thanks, Kay

7. Re: Blenheim vs. Nelson

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This post has been removed at the author's request. The author may post again if desired.

Posts on the TripAdvisor forums may be edited for a short period of time. Once the edit period has expired, authors may update their posts by removing and reposting them.

To read more about editing your posts, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/help/how_to_edit_your_posts

Removed on: 16 July 2014, 16:27
New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
Level Contributor
28,988 posts
85 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Blenheim vs. Nelson

yes, I understood you fully. It is the length of your intended driving days which is unreasonable, not the number of days you spend in between.

I urge you to reconsider your itinerary.

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
Level Contributor
28,988 posts
85 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Blenheim vs. Nelson

cheers Kay, that's very gracious of you. Especially considering my quite strong comments.

Best of luck with your trip. Please kindly return afterwards and let us know how it all goes. And please also keep asking questions. We are here to help you achieve your dream trip :)

Madison
Destination Expert
for Madison
Level Contributor
954 posts
26 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Blenheim vs. Nelson

Nelson, Nelson, Nelson - you don't need to go to Blenheim, especially if your husband is worn out from all of the driving!

We did both, and after visiting the wineries in or near Richmond on the way up to Golden Bay, north of Nelson, we agreed that Blenheim was much more provincial. The wineries on the northwest part of the island are every bit as good as those on the northeast part, and the Nelson area is much more scenic and has a lot more going for it, in our opinion.

Here's my trip report, in case you want to have a look.....

travelpod.com/travel-blog-entries/…tpod.html

Keep asking questions. Someone as well-traveled as you are knows the locals and your fellow travelers are the best sources of information, not the guidebooks!

I hope you enjoy the planning - it is so much fun, but can be such a headache, too.

Mentioned in this post
Richmond
Richmond
Nelson-Tasman Region, New Zealand
Golden Bay
Golden Bay
Nelson-Tasman Region, New Zealand