Sea Kayaking in the outer-Queen Charlotte Sound

If you have ever wondered what a sea kayaking trip would be like in the outer-Queen Charlotte Sound, then check out this blog post by one of our guides Christina Chowaniec.  Enjoy!

Clifford Bay – the new destination for our interisland ferry terminal?

The big question – will the interisland ferry terminal be shifted from Picton to Clifford Bay took a step closer to being answered yesterday with the announcement that a feasibility study will be completed by early next year.

Clifford Bay is located on the eastern coastline, directly opposite Wellington and about a 1.5 hour drive south of Picton.  It is said will take 80 minutes off a road-ferry trip and 110 minutes off a rail-ferry trip.

On the surface it looks a simple equation – fuel and time savings for transport will be significant, but it will be interesting to see how they justify the social impacts on not only Picton with the loss of around 1 million passengers travelling through our town but also how it affects the visitor travel routes around the top of the South.  I had a chat with Katherine Ryan on Radio New Zealand about that today:

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It will also be interesting to see how they justify the environmental impacts on what is currently a piece of untouched coastline. 

There is also the issues around the weather with this piece of coastline being notoriously exposed and rough. We see the effects in Picton, when the ferries are cancelled or postponed due to weather.  Passengers are relieved that they have the choice of cafes, shops and accommodation while they wait for the weather to clear.  One can only imagine what it will be like for those marooned at Clifford Bay, with little infrastructure around them, waiting for the ferries to sail. 

When we think about the impacts on our community, it is wide-reaching and has the potential to substantially change the way our town operates.  Picton will always be a beautiful place to visit and stay, as will the Marlborough Sounds, but the infrastructure that we currently enjoy, which is based on the flow of visitor traffic, will change significantly if those visitor flows drop. This then flows on to the services that can be provided and in turn effects the visitor experience.

We will be working hard with others in our community to ensure that the true costs and implications of this decision are included in the feasibility study – an interesting time ahead!



Paid to Paddle: ‘Living the Dream’ in the New Zealand sea kayaking industry by Gareth Wheelerr

Congratulations to Gareth Wheeler, our friend, outdoor education teacher and guide, who has just published his thesis for his Masters titled: “Paid to Paddle: ‘Living the Dream’ in the New Zealand sea kayaking industry.”

If ever you have wondered why sea kayakers choose guiding as an occupation, or if it might be an occupation that you would like to get into, then we recommend that you read Gareth’s thesis on the subject, it is a great read.  You can check it out on


Frosty start to the day in Picton

Whoa – chilly start to the morning in Picton with our first frost of the winter.  However we always know that that means a beautiful sunny day which is exactly what we have for our sea kayakers as they head out for a 2 day paddle today.  Cleaning muddy mountain bikes is another seasonal activity as you can see!

Winter walking and biking specials on Queen Charlotte Track

Oh how we love this time of the year.  After a busy summer, we now have time to catch our breath, sleep in a little longer each day and go home a little earlier!  Just as the weather changes, so do our activities for the winter, as we focus on “winter versions” for sea kayaking, walking and biking Queen Charlotte Track.

You may well ask why would you want to come to the Sounds in the winter, but a typical winter day in the Sounds is not to be missed!  Cool evenings, frosty mornings and calm, clear days are the typical weather in the Sounds for the next few months.  Perfect for walking and biking on the Queen Charlotte Track – so we have dusted off our winter walk and bike packages again.  The hotels are ready and waiting to greet you each day after your walk or bike ride with toasty hotel rooms and delicious simple dinners with a glass of wine each night.

The packages are excellent value for money and a perfect opportunity to escape for a few days from the winter hum drum.

Our Australian friends can enjoy an excellent deal, flying right into Marlborough but you need to be in quick as they are only avaialble for another week on

For sea kayakers, winter can be a stunning time to be out paddling – the wildlife is prolific and you can have the whole place to yourself – a paddlers dream.

We look forward to seeing you here sometime soon and just remember “there is no such thing as bad weather, just a bad choice of clothing”!