It seems our country looks as beautiful from space as it does from the ground.

After spending five months aboard the International Space Station, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield declared Marlborough to be the one spot back on Earth he'd most like to visit.

Hadfield took the photo of Marlborough (above).

"It just looked so beautiful," he said.


Destination Marlborough was quick to jump on the bandrocket, taking the opportunity to extol the region's many charms and made plans to bring the spaceman south. But they may have missed their chance - Hadfield announced last week he would be an ambassador for Irish tourism. And he's doing it for free.

He was won over by the interest Irish people took in his tweeted photographs and the fact his daughter Kristin lives in Ireland and raves about the place.

"I don't think you have to be from somewhere to appreciate it, and maybe a stranger's set of eyes will help other people see it even better," he said.

Destination Marlborough might feel spurned, but imagine how the Canadian Tourism Commission is feeling.

Three tips to make astronaut Chris Hadfield's visit to Marlborough out of this world
1. The spaceman has already noted the vineyards in the region, but with a moustache like that, he's got to be a beer drinker too. Renaissance is one of many great breweries in Marlborough and next door to the brewery is is the Dodson Street Bistro and Ale House, where the the entire Renaissance range can be tried on tap.

2. Swap the moon boots for tramping boots and take to the Marlborough Sounds. Tour guides Adventure South offer cycling, trekking and adventure itineraries ranging from intermediate to challenging. A portion of the tour charge goes to DoC for park management.

3. There's more than 1500km of coastline in the region and a guided sea kayak tour will take you to the best of it.