The joy of the great outdoors is very much at the heart of living in beautiful Marlborough. As spring approaches the days are getting longer and the temperatures warmer. It’s time to hop out of hibernation mode and embrace the bountiful outdoor lifestyle on our doorstep.
If you want to discover some new pursuits this season, then read on. We spoke to some Marlborough locals about the pastimes that put a spring in their step.
Grant Poswillo – Mountain Biking
I got my first bike when I was three. It had no brakes, so I dragged the toes of my little red gum boots along the ground to slow me down. Since then, I’ve upgraded my wheels, and I now ride a Santa Cruz Tallboy 29r with dual suspension. The feeling of flying down a mountain bike track after a steep climb to the top is hard to beat.
Marlborough has a fantastic variety of mountain bike trails from family friendly to advanced. The Wither Hills and Picton Trails are good choices if you’ve got an hour or two to spare. For something more adventurous try the Loop Track or Fosters Clearing. These will take you over steep terrain into beautiful native forest.
Spring is a great time to get pedalling. For anybody keen to get involved in the sport the Marlborough MTB club is a great place to connect with other bikers. The club has gained momentum over recent years and is actively developing the mountain bike park with help from its members.
Mark Seatter – Freshwater Fishing
I’ve been keen on fishing for most of my life. My father entered me in a fishing competition as a five-year-old. When I was thirteen, I was given my first fly rod as a Christmas present. My friends and I would cycle to local rivers at the weekend and spend the day scaring more fish than we would catch.
Living in Marlborough offers such easy access to my favourite pastime. Within ten minutes of leaving home I can be stepping out of the car, rod in hand, walking towards the river looking for tell-tale signs of fish. The Wairau is an excellent river to fish, from slow-moving lowland water to backcountry trophy water, it has it all.
If someone is looking to take up the sport, I’d always suggest they talk to the locals and never turn down the opportunity to fish with a local. I’d even recommend leaving their rod at home. It’s surprising how much one learns more from observing, listening and asking questions. The Freshwater Anglers Club meets every second Tuesday, and it’s a great place to make connections.
Will Porter – Saltwater Fishing
My Dad was a great outdoorsman. At home, there are photos of me being carted around in a baby pack on hunting and fishing expeditions with my parents, and I started exploring the ocean, collecting treasures, as soon as I was allowed to swim unsupervised. This childhood love of the ocean has developed into my adult hobby. I try to go fishing or diving at least two or three times a week. Marlborough’s scenery and the unique access to saltwater fishing make it the perfect spot to follow my passion. The catch is bountiful, with plenty of Blue Cod, Scallops, Paua, Crayfish, Butterfish, Groper, Kingfish and Snapper. Although there are no permits or licenses required, one does need patience and perseverance. Some days it’s just a waiting game, but what a place to wait in!
I love helping people who are just getting started and have introduced many friends to saltwater fishing and diving for a catch. Most of them have become hooked (pardon the pun) straight away. Some become much better at the sport than I am. For people starting out, there are some great Facebook forums like Fishing Marlborough that are frequented by helpful locals who love sharing the knowledge they have built up over the years. Spring is a great time to give saltwater fishing or diving a try, the waters are slowly beginning to warm up again, which means many of the better table fish start to move into the shallows from out deep.
Cat Manson – Tramping and Trail Running
My love of tramping and trail running came from the simple desire to be fitter and healthier. Living in Marlborough, you don’t really need excuses to get out in the fresh air and heighten the heart rate. It’s all there for the taking, the weather, the scenery, the lifestyle! I run several times a week and tramp or hike throughout the year, whenever and wherever I can. I never tire of the Queen Charlotte Track. There’s always a different view to see, depending on the weather or time of year.
Like many things in life, tramping is more fun with friends, and if you’re new to the area, the local tramping and orienteering clubs are an excellent place to connect with like-minded enthusiasts. For competitive runners there are heaps of local races throughout the year of varying distances, catering for all fitness levels.
Having an active weekend with your family is easy in Marlborough. There are many walks up at the Wither Hills Farm Park that are short enough for the smallest family members. Places like the Snout Track in Picton and Whites Bay also offer family-friendly options.
Spring’s arrival brings more daylight hours to enjoy everything on our doorstep, it’s the perfect time to lace up your sneakers and move from the couch to the countryside.
Fraser Cooper – Sporting Clays
I was raised in the Marlborough high-country. My father instilled in me the passion for the endless opportunities that the New Zealand outdoors has to offer. I’m fortunate to have made this my business.
Avon Valley Safaris has been operating since 2017, and we have recently added sporting clays to the list of outdoor pursuits we offer. I have always held an interest in this pastime and was also aware of a lack of opportunities where local people and businesses could enjoy an engaging outdoor activity that catered to both beginners and experienced shooters. I knew that sporting clays could be the answer. So, we set about developing the Governors Rest Sporting Clay Experience at Avon Valley Safaris. Here, we cater the shooting to the experience of our guests and many new to the sport leave with increased confidence. Introducing people to firearms in this type of environment encourages safety and respect.
For many participants sporting clays at the Governors Rest is the perfect opportunity to get out of town and into the country, our lodge is set in the beautiful Marlborough back-country yet only a short drive from Blenheim. All equipment is provided, and men and women of any age can take part. By its very nature, a sporting clay shoot is competitive, and this provides excitement and engagement for the groups taking part. It’s a perfect team building experience.