The Marlborough Sounds are shaped by sapphire waters and emerald hills that stretch out from the northern coast of South Island; its final frontier before reaching North Island, and a beautiful one at that.
The coastline of these protected inlets makes up 150km in total, offering a peaceful sanctuary where you can kayak, hike and bike to your heart’s content.
This breathtaking region – comprising the three distinct sounds of Queen Charlotte, Kenepuru and Pelorus – was created 10,000 years ago by the flooding of deep river valleys at the end of the ice age. The result is a collection of islands and peninsulas rising above Pacific waters, many of them blissfully secluded and reached only by boat.
In fact, one of the best ways to take in the Marlborough Sounds is by catching the InterIslander ferry between Wellington and Picton, one of the main settlements in the region (along with Havelock).
You can also hop on the mail run boat to join the local postman as they deliver mail across the sounds, getting up close to some of its hidden locations, or opt for a seafood cruise to savour fresh mussels and oysters paired with fine local wine. Along the way, look out for Bottlenose Dolphins, Seals and even Orca as you cut through the Marlborough Sounds’ glittering waters.
Another fantastic way to experience this intriguing destination is by hiking the Queen Charlotte Track, a 70km route that takes you through ancient forests, over mountain ridges and past lookout points commanding arresting coastal views. You can either opt to hike a section of the trail or trek the full 70km over three to five days.
Wherever you wander in the Marlborough Sounds, look out for the Okarito Brown Kiwi and other birds dwelling in the forest; particularly on the remote Motuara Island.
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