Queen Charlotte Sound

Queen Charlotte Sound is an ancient sunken river valley filled with the waters of the Pacific Ocean located right at the top of the South Island.

It is a key feature of the 1500km of New Zealand’s coastline that make up the Marlborough Sounds. Forested hills rise steeply from the sea around an intricate coastline of sheltered inlets and sandy bays.

Explore the sound on a guided tour aboard a cruise, charter boat or kayak. Or, alternatively, drive along the picturesque Queen Charlotte Drive and explore panoramic views of the vast, sea-drowned valleys.

By boat you can travel further afield and visit d’Urville Island, accessible via Okiwi Bay and French Pass. Here you’ll be able to see 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 its farmed salmon comes from Marlborough. There are some fantastic local seafood cruises. Why not sample local seafood delicacies matched to a glass of award-winning Marlborough wine?

Hikers and adventurous visitors can explore by foot, mountain bike or sea kayak on the iconic Queen Charlotte Track over one or several days. The 72km track passes through stunning landscapes, with accommodation and restaurants along the way.