The Marlborough Sounds encompass twenty percent of New Zealand’s total coastline. This intricate maze of waterways is made up of three Sounds, Queen Charlotte Sound, Kenepuru Sound and Pelorus Sound. Within the area is pristine native forest – ranging from towering 800 year old rimu trees, to lush punga tree ferns and beautiful native orchids – leading down to picturesque shorelines. The myriad of bays, coves and inlets are perfect for exploring by sea kayak and the Queen Charlotte Track by hiking or mountain biking.
The Queen Charlotte Sound is the more well known of the three Sounds, and is dominated by bush-clad shorelines, deep bays and coves. The Kenepuru Sound is the smallest of the three Sounds. The Pelorus Sound has expansive waterways, with some exposed areas; it is made up of beautiful sea kayaking areas (such as Tennyson Inlet and Nydia Bay), while much of the rest of the Pelorus Sound is predominantly farmland and forestry therefore not as popular for sea kayaking.
Stretching between the Queen Charlotte and Kenepuru Sound is the Queen Charlotte Track – a 72 km track renowned for its stunning views and contrasting landscapes. There is a wonderful variety of accommodation available along the track, and fabulous water transport services which allow your luggage to be transferred each day, whether you are doing a guided or freedom walking adventure.
Located in the heart of the Queen Charlotte Sound is Picton, the largest town in the Marlborough Sounds (with around 5000 residents). Picton is where the inter-island ferry – between the North and South Island – arrives in to and departs from. Havelock is the closest town for visitors and residents in the Mahau, Kenepuru and Pelorus Sound. It is a small town and where most of the Greenshell mussel processing and distributing occurs.