Explore the Marlborough Sounds your way

Our Region

The Marlborough Sounds

The 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 make for brilliant boating, fishing, and diving.

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, pods of playful dolphins, 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 scattered throughout the Sounds, with some accessible only by boat, helicopter or float plane.

The Marlborough Sounds provides the perfect environment for seafood farming in the cold, deep waters. Seventy percent of New Zealand's Greenshell Mussels and 75% of New Zealand's farmed salmon comes from Marlborough. Visit some of the marine farms on organised tours, learning about marine farming in Marlborough, and 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.

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

Take the mail boat

Activities

Travel from Havelock or Picton and call in to isolated homesteads and secluded bays to deliver mail and groceries to families living in the Marlborough Sounds.

Take the mail boat

Blenheim i-SITE Visitor Information Centre

Take a flying jump

Activities

Leap from the Lochmara Lodge rope swing into the sparkling sounds below, or try out the flying fox. For more sedate pleasures, walk the eco trail to find weta hotels and geckos.

Take a flying jump

Lochmara Lodge Wildlife Recovery and Arts Centre

Hear the dawn chorus

Activities

Wake early in the Marlborough Sounds for a stunning dawn chorus, like that heard by Joseph Banks when he visited Queen Charlotte Sound with Captain Cook.

Hear the dawn chorus

Blenheim i-SITE Visitor Information Centre

Dream date in the Sounds

Activities

Catch the early morning summer boat trip to Motuara Island, then get dropped off at Furneaux Lodge for late breakfast. Walk to Punga Lodge for wood-fired pizza.

Dream date in the Sounds

Cougar Line

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
Activities

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 and wood pigeon.

The Queen Charlotte Track's 70km offers a rich history, incredible scenery and the freedom to walk or mountain bike without heavy gear.

Stay in resorts and dine in seaside restaurants, homestays and B&Bs, or camp at beautiful DOC sites.

The Queen Charlotte Track is relatively easy walking, taking 3 – 5 days, and is a fantastic mountain bike ride, over 2-3 days. It can also be approached in bite-size pieces, so choose the slice you want and devour it in a day.

Read our guide

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