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Monthly Archives: May 2022

Check-in on our New Zealand travel blog for latest news, events and updates - along with a splash of personality from the whole team at Bella Vista!  


Best restaurants in Blenheim to brag about

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While Blenheim is a popular destination for wine-lovers, the town’s best kept secret is the number of critically acclaimed restaurants both centrally located and based in nearby vineyards. Some of the best places to eat in Blenheim are close to the motel so whether you’re a fine diner or a leisurely luncher, we’ve rounded up the best restaurants in Blenheim for your eating pleasure.  



Put this restaurant on your list of ‘Blenheim things to do’. Inspired by a small town in southern Brazil, Gramados blends the best of South American cuisine with the fresh flavours and produce of Marlborough. In Brazil, eating is not only about the food, but also the hospitality and this little restaurant is big on both! Ranked by critics as the best ‘everyday eats’ restaurant in New Zealand, the menu boasts authentic dishes like slow cooked pork belly with Brazilian guava sauce or a smoky black bean stew with spicy chorizo, pork ribs, Manuka smoked bacon. Their famous Chocolate Volcano dessert might just tip you over. Stop it, we hear you say! With most mains under $40, you’re spoilt for choice with vegetarian and gluten-free options too. Make sure to book ahead, as even mid-week, this popular eatery is buzzing.   



Close to the hotel, you’ll find Quench, one of the only places to eat in Blenheim with a happy hour from 4pm - 7pm if you just want to pop in for a drink. With a varied wine list and a classy low-key vibe, the menu highlights local fare with the knowledgeable team serving up hearty delicious meals ranging from the twice cooked Pork Belly to a tender Lamb Fillet. Don’t be surprised if happy hour turns into a long happy night especially on Fridays, when diners can wine, dine and tap their toes to live music.   


The Tamarind 

Fancy some of the best spicy flavours of Southern India in the South Island? Then head to the Tamarind for a taste trail around the Kerala region and enjoy dishes like pan-sautéed beef with spices, fennel seeds and coconut chips or green lipped mussels sauteed with onion, garlic and garam masala.  The menu also boasts a large selection of tempting vegetarian dishes including the Chef’s special, an eggplant masala cooked in ginger, garlic and coconut milk. Best of all this this family-run eatery is both BYO and regarded as one of the best restaurants in Blenheim with mega five-star reviews.  


Herb and Olive  

For a healthy brunch served with steaming organic Kokako coffee, head to the popular Herb and Olive, named after the owner’s two children. Craving greens? Then choose the sprout slaw topped with halloumi or for a sweet-savoury combo, the French toast with bacon is rated top notch.  Vegans are also well catered for with offerings like tasty Mexican beans served with avocado and coconut yogurt. If you’re ticking off your Blenheim things to do and wanting lunch on the go, grab a tasty cheese scone from their delicious array of cabinet food. The café also supplies local milk, honey and Kokako coffee beans to locals and visitors in-the-know.  



Arbour is not only one of the best places to eat in Blenheim, but possibly the entire country. But who are we to boast? Come try this fine dining restaurant for yourself.   

Arbour offers feasting menus. You can keep it simple with the ‘Eat Local’ menu, or go all out with ‘The Many’ menu, which can feature sourdough with whipped butter, locally raised New Zealand King Salmon, foraged onion flowers, diamond shell clams, lamb shoulder croquettes, wild venison, or fresh pasta with a mild goats’ curd and walnuts.  

The tasting menu changes out seasonally but rest assured, it’ll include a delectable dessert too. Bookings are highly recommended.   


Ask our guest services team at the Bella Vista Motel for restaurant recommendations to suit your tastes, because as locals, we know the best things to do in Blenheim.   

Five Best Things to do in Blenheim

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Whether it’s a weekend getaway or a leisurely visit, there are so many things to do in Blenheim, you’ll be planning a return visit. Situated in the heart of the wine-growing Marlborough region and with a reputation as New Zealand’s sunniest town, many activities in Blenheim can be enjoyed all year round. Here’s a locally curated list of the five best things to do in Blenheim, both near the Bella Vista Blenheim motel or a short drive away. 


1. Eat and drink your heart out Blenheim-style  

You can’t visit Blenheim without tasting Cloudy Bay clams, the region’s world-famous Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough mussels or the delicious local cheeses. Experience one of New Zealand’s top restaurants, Gramados ranked by Trip Advisor as the country’s top “everyday eats” destination, with delicious mains such as Brazilian fish moqueca and slow-cooked pork belly, for a pinch under $40. 

There are more than 30 wineries close to Blenheim, and most of them offer cellar door tastings making this one of the top Blenheim attractions for visitors. The Cloudy Bay estate, one of the region's first winemakers has an outstanding reputation for hospitality and food. Enjoy a glass of their Pelorus Methode Traditionelle paired with creamy oysters from the clear waters of Te Matuku Bay. In winter, savour a classic glass of Sauvignon curled up next to the Estate’s cosy indoor fireplace. 


2. Stroll around the Marlborough Farmers market 

Keen to mix with the locals? Then include the Marlborough Farmers market on your Blenheim to do list. Touted as New Zealand’s original Farmers’ Market, it runs every Sunday between 9am-12pm at the A&P Showgrounds and showcases the regions freshest seasonal fruit, vegetables and produce. 


3. Visit the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre 

A short drive or bike ride from the motel will take you to the Omaka Aviation Heritage centre, just one of many Blenheim attractions unique to the area. Discover the lifelike WWI and WWII exhibits featuring the talents of Weta Workshop and some of Sir Peter Jackson’s rare collection of historical aircraft.  For aviation enthusiasts, book a joy ride in a classic Boeing Stearman and marvel at the stunning Marlborough scenery far below, across the Wairau Valley to the broody Richmond Ranges.  


4. Cycle amongst the vines  

One of the more popular things to do in Blenheim is to hire a bike and enjoy a self-guided cycling tour around the Marlborough wine region. Cruise sedately between Blenheim-based cellar doors like Lawson Dry Hills or Wither Hills and sample local wines or pause for a leisurely lunch at a vineyard restaurant. Spend the afternoon cycling down groomed trails or quiet back roads or ditch the bike for a cruisy snooze under leafy vines.  


5. Cruise the Marlborough Sounds 

Add the stunning Marlborough Sounds to your must-do Blenheim attractions. Made up of ancient sunken river valleys including the Queen Charlotte, Kenepuru and Pelorus Sounds, the area is a comfortable half hour drive from Blenheim. Best experienced on the water, book the top-rated Greenshell Mussel Cruise from Havelock or jump on the Picton Mail Boat Cruise, both great ways to explore hidden inlets and see first-hand how the local’s live in one of New Zealand’s most picturesque spots.  Don’t be surprised if a pod of dolphins pops up and surf alongside so keep your camera handy. 

Whatever your interests, the things to do in Blenheim are plentiful and fun. Contact our guest-services team at the Bella Vista Motel for information on tours or other Blenheim attractions. We’re only too happy to help.