Endangered kiwi and various native birds including the King Shag thrive on predator-free islands in the Marlborough Sounds, as well as tuatara, gecko and native frogs.
The winding waterways of the sounds hold dolphins, stingrays, seals, and even orca and whales on their seasonal migration.
Back on dry land, the Picton Museum hosts interesting rich stories of the region's whaling history.
Other ways to immerse yourself in Marlborough's wildlife and conservation is to Kayak on the Wairau Lagoons, cruise close to a multitude of New Zealand bird species, or visit the rare population of bats being protected at the Pelorus Bridge Scenic Reserve. Stroll the wildlife trail at Lochmara Lodge, or discover more about the award-winning sustainability practices at Yealands Estate winery.
Marlborough’s sanctuaries are home to precious geckos, frogs and tuatara, as well as beautiful birdlife and marine life. These wildlife sanctuaries are vital to the continued survival of native species, with some places open to the public.
Seals laze on sun-drenched rocks, while gannets dive into schools of fish. In winter months you can find humpback whales at the edge of the Cook Strait on their annual migration, and in summer it’s the turn of orca. Five types of dolphin also ply these waters, including pods of the rare Hector’s dolphin.
Marlborough wine companies are leading the charge in many environmental practices, from organic vineyards to solar-powered wineries. The environment is at the forefront of planning for a number of Marlborough Sounds accommodation providers as well, with eco-trails and restoration projects ensuring a bright future.
- Maud Island Scientific Reserve
- Motuara Island bird sanctuary
- Long tailed bats
- Blumine Island bird sanctuary
- Marlborough Sounds Wildlife Recovery Centre
- Kaipupu Wildlife Sanctuary
- Wairau Lagoons, including royal spoonbills
- Kokomohua Marine Reserve
- Mistletoe Bay Eco Village
- The Marlborough Falcon Trust
Tash Luxton Conservation Kids Picton
“This is paradise. In so many parts of the world you have to be a millionaire to enjoy these things, but everyone can experience it here.”My insider guide to Marlborough
The Mistletoe Bay Eco Village in the Marlborough Sounds is a flagship for sustainability and education, with eight eco-whares, camping and whare kitchens, a water recycling system and a conference room used by school groups and other visitors, including wedding parties.
The village won the supreme award at the 2014 National Trustpower Community Awards, as well as top spot in the Marlborough Environment Awards, in which judges called the educational eco-village “a project of national importance” which would help build more sustainable communities.
Mistletoe Bay Trust chair Simon Heath says the village is for everyone, but its focus is giving children great experiences and hands on lessons in sustainability, including saving water, saving power and recycling. “It is about creating green guardians who know how to take big steps with light footprints.”
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Mistletoe Bay Eco Village