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Encompassing one-sixth of New Zealand’s total coastline, the wild and majestic Marlborough Sounds sit atop the beautiful Marlborough region. A maze of deep coves and secluded bays fringed by native forest, the Sounds provide an unspoilt wilderness perfect for on-water or off-road adventures – there’s something for everyone.
Picton, the heart of the Marlborough Sounds, can be reached by ferry from Wellington. You’ll receive an impressive welcome to the South Island as you navigate the labyrinth of sheltered bays on the Interislander – there is no better way to start your journey.
Once you reach Marlborough, taking a cruise is a must. The Sounds are made up of four main waterways: Queen Charlotte, Pelorus, Kenepuru and Mahau Sounds. Join an eco-tour cruise and sail to the outer Sounds for close encounters with wildlife. You may see rare birds, dolphins, penguins and seals. A visit to Moutara Island Bird Sanctuary will introduce you to rare and endangered species, and the islands of D’Urville and Long are also sanctuaries for native wildlife.
Mussel and salmon farms are common in the Sounds, and you can take cruises to see how the mussels are grown, taste fresh mussels straight from the sea, and enjoy them with a glass of wine – sauvignon blanc, of course! And if you’re a keen angler, you’ll love the fishing cruises here. A variety of sightseeing cruises are also available, with everything from joining the local mail run to twilight dinner cruises.One of the most popular types of holiday in Marlborough is a walking holiday on the Queen Charlotte Track. From Ship Cove to Anakiwa, this 71km track is one of the best in the country – for good reason. Along the way you’ll see luxuriant forest, secluded bays, coves and inlets, and skyline ridges offering jaw-dropping views. You can take a guided trip to learn more about the region, or just head for the track yourself. Accommodation options are available along the way.