A rare King Shag in the Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand
  • Bird life

    Kiwi, native falcon & rare king shag

  • Marine life

    Dolphins, orca, seals & more

  • Wildlife

    Visit island sanctuaries

  • Coastal Gem

    Long Island Marine Reserve


Wildlife & Conservation

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 Heritage and Whaling 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.

  1. Maud Island Scientific Reserve
  2. Motuara Island bird sanctuary
  3. Long tailed bats
  4. Blumine Island bird sanctuary
  5. Marlborough Sounds Wildlife Recovery Centre
  6. Kaipupu Wildlife Sanctuary
  7. Wairau Lagoons, including royal spoonbills
  8. Kokomohua Marine Reserve
  9. Mistletoe Bay Eco Village
  10. The Marlborough Falcon Trust
Roy Grose

Roy Grose Director Operations, Northern South Island | Te Tau Ihu

“Marlborough is the mountains to the sea. One day you can be out in the Marlborough Sounds, and the next day be up at Lake Rotoiti. On the way you can stop and pick cherries or have a glass of wine at a cellar door. It doesn’t get much better than that.”

My insider guide to Marlborough


The Wairau Plains has lost 99 percent of its wetlands, but determined conservationists are protecting what’s left.

If you’re travelling on State Highway 1 between Picton and Blenheim, you’ll see skeletons of dead willows standing stark in a swamp area.

The precious Para Wetland is currently the subject of a major restoration project by Fish and Game to remove the willows and restore native habitat.

Similar work is being done at Grovetown Lagoon, where the willows have been destroyed and both plant and wildlife are beginning to flourish. Walkways are being developed around the lagoon, so everyone can see what Marlborough once looked like.

The stunning, award winning Wither Hills Rarangi Wetland is another inspirational project, through which the wine company’s vines make way for the wetland.

The Wairau Lagoons are another remnant of Marlborough’s precious wetland ecology - explore by foot or by kayak.

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