Our Region

Picton and Queen Charlotte Sound

Picton is a beautiful port town, poised at the edge of the Queen Charlotte Sound, and is home to fantastic cafes, restaurants, galleries and specialty shops.

Go by boat, bike, car, helicopter or plane to explore the intricate waterways beyond, with island bird sanctuaries, secluded bays, protected wildlife, luxurious resorts and the brilliant Queen Charlotte Track.

Picton is a buzzing community with an eclectic mix of cafes and restaurants, many of which feature freshly caught or farmed local seafood.

The foreshore is packed with things to do, from exploring the Edwin Fox, beating the family at mini-golf and window shopping for a boat, to relaxing with friends and a feed of fish and chips beside the beach.

Walking and cycle tracks lead through the native bush around the township, rewarding your efforts with wonderful views of the Marlborough Sounds.

The Queen Charlotte Sound is a coastal paradise, rich with island sanctuaries, where native birdlife thrives, pristine waters, where dolphins, penguin, orca, stingrays and all manner of seabirds can be discovered, and beautiful beaches bordered by native bush. It’s also blessed with resorts and restaurants, so you can find delicious sustenance on your journey.

There are numerous ways of seeing Queen Charlotte Sound, with guided and unguided kayak rentals, yacht and launch charters, mail boats and cruises. Visit island sanctuaries, where New Zealand’s most endangered wildlife flourishes, or historic Ship Cove - explorer James Cook's favourite anchorage during his explorations of New Zealand.

Camp on Blumine Island

Activities

Head to the predator-free island, Blumine Island in the Marlborough Sounds, and hear kiwi at night and wake to a beautiful dawn chorus, before walking to the WW2 gun emplacement.

Camp on Blumine Island

Blenheim i-SITE Visitor Information Centre

Whaling station

Activities

Explore Marlborough’s whaling history at the Perano Whaling Station.

Whaling station

Blenheim i-SITE Visitor Information Centre

Spot the king shag

Activities

Get a glimpse of the king shag, the second rarest bird in the world with a stagnant population of 500-600. The king shags nest near Motuara Island in the Marlborough Sounds.

Spot the king shag

Blenheim i-SITE Visitor Information Centre

Picnic on the foreshore

Wine & Food

Pack a picnic to enjoy on the Picton Foreshore, or grab an order of fish and chips to eat on the beach.

Picnic on the foreshore

Blenheim i-SITE Visitor Information Centre

Stay in the Marlborough Sounds

Accommodation

From self-contained baches to all inclusive lodges, there's a slice of paradise for everyone in the Marlborough Sounds, some accessible only by water-taxi.

Stay in the Marlborough Sounds

Fresh Marlborough seafood

Wine & Food

Marlborough salmon and mussels are available at a range of foodie outlets. Seafood (or more strictly Sounds food) with a crisp ‘chardie’ or ‘sav blanc’ is heaven on earth!

Fresh Marlborough seafood

Blenheim i-SITE Visitor Information Centre

Related Guide:

Wildlife & Conservation
Transport

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 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.

Read our guide

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