Marlborough Sounds

Our Region

Marlborough Sounds

Marlborough Sounds in Marlborough New Zealand

The Marlborough Sounds is made up of four distinctly different Sounds - Queen Charlotte, Kenepuru, Pelorus, and Mahau, at the top of New Zealand's South Island. The winding waterways of the Marlborough Sounds make for brilliant boating, fishing, diving and wildlife viewing including dolphin watching.

Begin your trip into the Marlborough Sounds from the two seaside townships of Picton and Havelock. Join a guided tour aboard a cruise, charter or bring your own boat or kayak, or drive along the picturesque Queen Charlotte Drive and explore panoramic views of our vast, sea-drowned valleys. Travel further afield and visit d'Urville Island, accessible via Okiwi Bay and French Pass.

Spot dive-bombing gannets, go dolphin watching or swimming, see sunbathing seals and even cruising orca. Keep an ear out for native birdsong from the bush-clad hills surrounding beautiful bays.

Escape to one of the many lodges, B&Bs or holiday homes dotted throughout the Sounds, with some accessible only by water taxi or helicopter.

Seventy percent of New Zealand's Greenshell Mussels and 75% of New Zealand's farmed salmon comes from Marlborough. Join a seafood cruise sampling local seafood delicacies matched to a glass of award-winning Marlborough wine.

The iconic Queen Charlotte Track can be explored by foot, mountain bike or sea kayak over one or several days. The 70km track passes through stunning landscapes, with accommodation and restaurants along the way.

Picton's Maritime Festival

Events

Enjoy all things maritime at the Picton Maritime Festival in January. If you miss the festival, then head to the Edwin Fox Maritime Museum and EcoWorld Picton Acquarium.

Picton's Maritime Festival

Blenheim i-SITE Visitor Information Centre

Swim with dolphins

Head out from Picton with Marlborough's specialised dolphin swimming and viewing tour company to view dolphins and even swim with them, in the sheltered waters of the Queen Charlotte Sound.

The Marlborough Sounds is a favourite spot for up five dolphin species (Bottlenose, Dusky, Common, Hectors & Orca).

Swim with dolphins

E-Ko Tours

Paddle the Sounds

Rent a kayak and paddle your way from bay to bay, choosing to be independent or guided.

Paddle the Sounds

Blenheim i-SITE Visitor Information Centre

Set sail in the Sounds

Bring your yacht or charter one here, for beautiful cruising in the Marlborough Sounds, where winter brings crisp and calm blue-sky days.

Set sail in the Sounds

Blenheim i-SITE Visitor Information Centre

Relax at a resort

Curl up in the warmth with a good book in a beautiful resort, looking up only to enjoy the view, order your lunch or head off for a massage.

Relax at a resort

Blenheim i-SITE Visitor Information Centre

Celebrate the Greenshell ™ mussel

Events

Head to Havelock in March, when it hosts its annual Mussel Festival, a great day out for the whole family.

Celebrate the Greenshell ™ mussel

Blenheim i-SITE Visitor Information Centre

Related Guide:

Queen Charlotte Track
Things to do

Queen Charlotte Track

The iconic Queen Charlotte Track, stretching from Ship Cove to Anakiwa, is also a journey from past to present, via panoramic ocean views, thriving native bush and encounters with the likes of weka, fantail, wood pigeon and even seals.

The 70km Queen Charlotte Track's offers a rich history, incredible scenery and the freedom to walkor mountain bike without heavy gear with a network of water taxis available to transfer you to and from the track, and transfer your gear to your accommodation each night.

A full range of accommodation options are available, including luxury water's edge resorts, lodges, holiday houses, backpackers and campsites.

The track is relatively easy walking, taking 3 to 5 days, and is a fantastic mountain bike ride, over 2 to 3 days. If time doesn't allow you to complete the full track, take a water taxi out and complete just a section or two.

Read our guide

View My Trip