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.

Cruise with dolphins

Activities

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

Cruise with dolphins

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

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

Motuara Island eco sanctuary

Activities

Visit the beautiful Motuara Island in the Queen Charlotte Sound. This predator free sanctuary is home to kiwi, saddlebacks and other native wildlife.

Motuara Island eco sanctuary

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

Visit Ship Cove

Activities

Visit Ship Cove in the Queen Charlotte Sound, the site of the meeting of the Maori and Pakeha cultures and start of the Queen Charlotte Track.

Visit Ship Cove

Blenheim i-SITE Visitor Information Centre

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