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.

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

Dream date in the Sounds

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

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

Take the mail boat

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

Cruise with dolphins

Go dolphin watching, and learn about all the marine wildlife you see along the way, including seabirds and seals.

Cruise with dolphins

Camp on Blumine Island

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

Related Guide:

Queen Charlotte Track
Accommodation

Queen Charlotte Track

The iconic Queen Charlotte Track, stretching from Ship Cove to Anakiwa, is 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 offers a rich history, incredible scenery and the freedom to walk or 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 depending on how far you want to walk each day, and is a fantastic mountain bike ride, over 2 to 3 days. The full track is open to mountain biking from 1 March to 30 November each year, with some sections closed outside of these dates. If time doesn't allow you to complete the full track, take a water taxi out and complete just a section from a few hours to a couple of days.

Track Overview

70km one way

Walking
Duration: 3-5 days
Grade: Easier Tramping Track

Mountain Biking
Duration: 2-3 days
Grade: Intermediate (Grade 3) / Advanced (Grade 4)

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