Marlborough Sounds

With 1500km of coastline, the Marlborough Sounds is a collection of ancient sunken river valleys now filled by Pacific Ocean waters right at the top of the South Island. Access them from the seaside townships of Picton and Havelock.

Forested hills rise steeply from the sea around an intricate coastline of sheltered inlets and sandy bays. The area has three main bodies of water – Queen Charlotte, Kenepuru and Pelorus Sounds.

‘The Sounds’ can be explored in many ways. Take a guided tour aboard a cruise, charter boat or kayak. Or drive the picturesque Queen Charlotte Drive and experience panoramic views of the vast, sea-drowned valleys.

Travel further out into the Sounds by boat and visit d’Urville Island. Spot dive-bombing gannets. Go dolphin watching or swimming. See sunbathing seals and even cruising orca. And keep an ear out for native birdsong from the bush-clad hills surrounding beautiful bays.

Seventy percent of NZ’s greenshell mussels and 75% of our farmed salmon comes from Marlborough.  There are some fantastic seafood cruises — sample local seafood delicacies matched with a glass of award-winning Marlborough wine.

On land, the iconic Queen Charlotte Track can be explored by foot, mountain bike or sea kayak over one or several days. The 72km track passes through stunning landscapes, with accommodation and restaurants along the way.