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“Hop on hop off Marlborough ”

Escape to Marlborough
Ranked #2 of 2 Food & Drink in Picton
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Escape to Marlborough offers personalised, semi-exclusive and highly enjoyable travel experiences throughout New Zealand. - Wonderful wine tasting tours included - Pick up from cruise ship and throughout Marlborough - Luxury Mercedes® Mini Vans - Maximum 6 guests in one van - Experienced drivers and guides - Private hire available - 2/3 day or full day tour
Reviewed April 23, 2018 via mobile

Warren, our driver, was amazing. The stops on the hop on hop off we’re all great. My favorites were Highfield and Villa Maria. But mostly what made the day amazing was Warren. He put up with our stories, helped us schedule out our day and even drove me back to pick up my phone when I left it at another winery. He was great and we had a wonderful day.

Date of experience: April 2018
1  Thank Kelly B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"hop on hop"
in 7 reviews
"omaka aviation heritage"
in 2 reviews
"villa maria"
in 2 reviews
"wine tour"
in 4 reviews
"allan scott"
in 2 reviews
"warren"
in 9 reviews
"highfield"
in 6 reviews
"wonders"
in 4 reviews
"driver"
in 12 reviews
"tickets"
in 3 reviews
"isite"
in 2 reviews
"marlborough"
in 15 reviews
"blenheim"
in 6 reviews
"winery"
in 5 reviews
"wineries"
in 8 reviews
"makana"
in 2 reviews
"stops"
in 3 reviews
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5 - 9 of 28 reviews

Reviewed April 10, 2018

The HopOn/HopOff is a pleasant and convenient way for independent travelers to get around Blenheim for a day of tasting in NZ's internationally-acclaimed Marlborough wine region. It's easy to arrange online and moderately priced, including pick-up and return from the Interislander and Blue Bridge ferries/iSite stop at Picton, and it offers an entire day on a continuously running bus route.

We left Picton on the first bus at 9:30 AM and returned on the bus leaving Blenheim for Picton at 4 PM. The ticket cost NZ$69.50 (about US$51) pp/day. Our driver, Warren, was friendly, helpful and accommodating. He clearly enjoys meeting people and makes it a point to recognize his passengers by name when they reboard. We found this service exceptional.

There's a good selection of vineyards on the route, including very large, award-winning producers like Villa Maria and small, family-owned pioneers like the wonderful Allan Scott. As a bonus, there are also stops at the Marlborough Museum with its wine exhibition; at Makana with its delectable hand-made chocolates; and at Sir Peter Jackson's Omaka Aviation Heritage Center, with its incredibly realistic displays of WWI and WWII planes and memorabilia.

It adds up to a glorious day, with no worries about any difficulties of parking, dangers of "driving while tasting," or awkward moments with strangers thrown together for a common purpose, but not always compatible.

If you prefer to travel independently, with only your party and at your pace, this is the way to do it. If you have any questions while booking online, be sure to telephone. The HopOn/HopOff also offers formal tours, especially for groups associated with cruise ships and ferries. If you don't want to find yourself unexpectedly mixed into one of them, and aren't sure how to access the "complete independence!" as advertised, the friendly person at the other end can explain it all to you.

When we booked our independent ticket, it was identified on the emailed voucher as "Hop on Hop off - Wine, Beer, Food & Wonders Tour." We presented this voucher to Warren, our driver, when we boarded at the Picton iSite, and we got wristlets identifying us as paying passengers, so that we could get on and off wherever we wished. We were never part of a formal group, and we got on and off whenever and wherever we chose, based on a printed schedule. As a practical matter, Warren quickly learned who we were and didn't need the wrist tag identifying us as paying passengers.

The fully independent ticket appears to be a relatively new option for the HopOn/HopOff, but from our perspective it seems to be working very well.

Highly recommended.

Date of experience: March 2018
1  Thank CarolDM1900
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 5, 2018 via mobile

Had a great day out with hop on hop off around Vineyards and Blenheim museums. Can be Interesting being a tourist in your own country as an Aucklander on your own some prejudices come to fruition but the team made me feel welcome and happy to share information. Thanks for a fab day out, buses all ran on time, and staff made sure no one was left stranded. Cheers

Date of experience: April 2018
1  Thank acewilkinson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 27, 2018

We travelled on Ovation of the Seas and had a very different experience to the review below, we were constantly looked after. Juliearna and her team did a fantastic job even if it was very busy. Every time we turned around she was there with a smile and making sure every one was enjoying, the same goes for her partner they couldnt do enough for us. We loved and think is an asset for the area and cheap as chip $69.50 all day. You pay for most tasting but they were $5.00 odd for several wines great value for the day and we had lunch at Cork & Keg brilliant.

Date of experience: February 2018
1  Thank daviddunn670
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed March 24, 2018 via mobile

Reading here that this is a new service goes someway to explaining our experience but doesn’t excuse it. We arrived into Picton via cruise ship which made for a busy day for this service. But they kept on taking bookings and people’s money so they do have an obligation to deliver. Clearly they struggled to do this and annoyed a lot of people in the process.

Busses going past venues continuously full, meaning long wait times, drivers often not stopping to communicate, stranding passengers at venues without any acknowledgement made for a lot of irritated people. When people did get on a bus then often they didn’t want to get off, cutting their tour short, and returning to Picton early, as we ended up doing. Some were pretty angry and very vocal about wanting refunds, which was understandable.

In the end, a disappointing experience of the region, and meant that a lot of wineries and other venues missed out on a lot of business.

Btw, once on board, the drivers seemed courteous and friendly. However, the person on the phone (with everyone calling to find out where the busses were) and who was also selling tickets in Picton came in for a lot of flack from a lot of people and understandably so. I am not sure why she is in the people business to be honest.

Date of experience: February 2018
3  Thank MarkDN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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