Marlborough Geography

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Marlborough covers an extensive area ranging from the drowned valleys of the Marlborough Sounds in the north, through to the high country of Molesworth. A number of fault lines running through the region form valleys through which several major rivers flow, and are divided by a number of mountain ranges, with over 50 percent of Marlborough steep hill or mountain country.The largest flat area is the Wairau plain. Climate varies considerably from mild and humid in areas such as the Marlborough Sounds through to semi-arid in parts of the east coast and the Awatere Valley. Temperature also varies considerably with some northern coastal areas being virtually frost free, while in the interior, areas such as Molesworth experience frosts almost two thirds of the year.

Natural vegetation ranges from temporate forest mainly in the north to grasslands and scrub in drier areas. A few wetland areas of flax swamp and coastal salt marsh also exist. A number of endangered species are found only in the Marlborough region. Human activity has transformed much of the land, with viticulture, forestry and pastoral farming being major activities.

Population is sparse for the size of the region, with over three quarters being based in and around Blenheim on the Wairau Plain.

Grovetown Lagoon


Marlborough has a number of natural and artificial lakes throughout the district.

Black Birch Range

High Country

A collection of articles about Marlborough's high country and mountain areas, including Molesworth, NZ's largest farm.

Para Wetland


Wetlands and estuaries in the Marlborough region of New Zealand

Kayaking at Anakiwa

Towns & Settlements

The majority of the population of Marlborough is concentrated on the Wairau plain in and around Blenheim, with other smaller towns scattered throughout the region.

Acheron River


A collection of articles and photo galleries about rivers in Marlborough, New Zealand

Cape Campbell Lighthouse

Coastal Areas

Marlborough boasts an extensive coastline, and numerous islands thanks largely to the spectacular Marlborough Sounds

Geological Overview

Marlborough is a region shaped by a range of geological forces including continuous tectonic plate movement, and glaciation