The Marlborough Sounds offer a getaway to a beautiful natural setting. The region covers 20% of New Zealand’s coastline and is made up of three separate Sounds, including the Queen Charlotte Sound and its untamed neighbours, Pelorus Sound and Kenepuru Sound. There are many opportunities to immerse yourself in some of the best natural landscapes in New Zealand here. Everyone can encounter adventure and new things in Marlborough Sounds.
1. The Queen Charlotte Track
The Queen Charlotte route, which is truly iconic, extends 73.5 kilometres from Ship Cove to Anakiwa. There are other alternatives available if you don’t want to take on the five-day effort of the entire walk and sleeping along the route. There is bound to be something to satisfy your sense of adventure, with alternatives for water taxis, resorts, lodges, and pack transport services. There are numerous ways to complete different parts of the track.
Be prepared for a struggle because the grade ranges from intermediate to advanced. Views that might well take your breath away will be your reward. Immerse yourself in the recognizable New Zealand bush that hugs the beach, and you’ll emerge revitalized and renewed by the Sounds’ breathtaking beauty.
2. Wildlife encounters
On the sea, you may find many of the amazing Marlborough Sounds adventures. There are many opportunities to take a guided tour, yacht, charter boat, or even the postal boat and get up close and personal with some of New Zealand’s most impressive wildlife. Navigating the inlets can lead to encounters with dolphins, gannets, fur seals, and small blue penguins. You might possibly come across an orca! Choose to go dolphin swimming in the sounds, with trips leaving from Picton and Havelock.
If you want to keep dry, guided boat alternatives may include a sumptuous lunch at a remote lodge for a true break from the routine. While many other accommodations will provide private service on the jetty while you soak up the sun, Lochmara Lodge offers an underwater observatory, stingray feeding, and a sculpture stroll.
On land, an amazing variety of bird activities will immediately put you in bird-spotting mode. Along many of the paths and treks in the area, keep an eye out for tui, weka, kererū, and the occasional cheeky shag. The Kaipupu Point Wildlife Sanctuary also provides a 3-kilometre trail in a guarded area where visitors can explore the best of the region without worrying about predators.
3. Wining and Dining
Almost straight from the water to your plate, seafood will bring you pure joy. With access by boat, chopper, or water taxi, the hotels and resorts encircling Marlborough Sounds provide something to suit every taste and style. Load up on a platter of freshness and take in the surroundings.
The Marlborough region provides a tremendous amount of farmed salmon and green-lipped mussels. Dinner should be paired with some of the region’s award-winning wines. Not just the seafood shines in the Marlborough Sounds, which boast some of the highest sunshine hours in the nation each year. Recent craft brewery efforts and local expansions increase the diversity on offer.
4. The Vacation Escape
The chance to live like a native by hiding out in a nearby harbour along the sounds is last but by no means least. You can blend into the surroundings and spend your days wandering along the ocean looking for starfish, thanks to the abundance of guesthouses, B&Bs, and beaches available.
The seaside is the ideal location to take advantage of the sunny hours. Many lodging options come with kayaks on site that you can drag down to the water’s edge and leisurely paddle around the bay. You’re well on your way to the ideal holiday if you add a line and catch your own dinner.