At the northern tip of the Southern Island are the stunning Marlborough Sounds, a large network of ocean inlets that carve twisting channels and hidden bays into the fractured coastline. The sounds are actually sea-drowned valleys resulting from rising sea levels and subsiding land, and are now home to secluded wooded hills and coves, rare and unusual wildlife and adventures a-plenty!
Things to do in the Marlborough Sounds
Ride the Coastal Pacific Train and Take in the Views
For an interesting way to arrive in Marlborough Sounds, consider a trip on the Coastal Pacific Train. The journey from Christchurch to Picton, which sits at the heart of the Sounds, takes just over five hours and is an absolutely gorgeous trip up the South Island’s east coast. The route takes you through lush green hills, alpine scenery and finishes up with some wonderful views of the Marlborough Sounds. There’s even an open viewing carriage at the back, which is great for photos. So why not ditch the car for a while and travel in comfort to the water wonderland that is Marlborough Sounds?
Go on a Trip Down Memory Lane on the Pelorous Mail Boat
Once you’ve arrived, you’ll find that one of the best things to do in Marlborough Sounds is to get out on the Mail Boat. Nope, that’s not a typo, but rather a tradition that dates back to 1912 when folks who lived amongst the remote Sounds would row out to the post offices to collect supplies. The Pelorous Sounds Mail Boat still runs today, delivering mail, medical and farming supplies to the community, but it also now carries tourists, so hop on board and take a trip down memory lane, and some of the most beautiful waterways in the world.
Walk the Queen Charlotte Track
Tours of Marlborough Sounds are seldom more spectacular than from the 71km Queen Charlotte Track. Fans of the outdoors and camping will be thrilled to know this is a 4 day walk, with some gorgeous sights and … sounds! … along the way. But if building your own home every evening doesn’t float your boat, you can use the Cougar Boat Transfer and see some of the best bits on a half to one-day walk. Take a stroll round Ship Cove (Captain Cook’s favourite bay) and then head to Furneaux Lodge for afternoon tea (or a well earned beer).
Go Wine Tasting in One of the World’s Most Famous Vineyards
There are lots of things to do in Marlborough Sounds, but one that we would highly recommend, especially after a couple of days on the walk-ways or waterways, is a visit to one of the regions world-famous vineyards. New Zealand wine, and particularly that of the Marlborough region has exploded over the last few years, with brands like Brancott Estate, Oyster Bay and Villa Maria become household names (in households that like wine, that is). The vineries in Marlborough are second to none in their friendliness, range, quality and stunning settings, so jump on a bike (or take a tour) and sample some of the best wines on the market – at their source!
Experiences in Marlborough Sounds are as many and varied as the winding waterways that sculpt this landscape, and working out which to prioritise can be tricky. But that’s where we can help! We’ve spent huge chunks of time in this part of the country (not just in the vineyards, you understand), and we’d love to share what we’ve learned so you can make the most of your time here.
Like the Sound of Things to do in Marlborough Sounds?
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