Marlborough Sounds

The largest wine growing region of New Zealand, Marlborough enjoys the title of being one of the sunniest places in the country. It’s diverse landscape and quaint little townships of Blenheim, Havelock and Picton together with its friendly locals, great weather and abundance of great locally produced food and drink make it a top destination on most traveller’s itinerary.

Don’t Miss

  • An easy walk along the Kaikoura Walkway
  • A chance to see a majestic sperm whale in its natural habitat
  • Seeing the seal pups at Ohau waterfalls
  • An encounter with wild dolphins

Where is Marlborough?

Located right up at the top of the South Island. The Marlborough region of New Zealand is, like so much of the country, a walkers, nature lovers and foodies paradise.

If you’re taking the ferry across the Cook Straight from Wellington you’ll cruise through the sounds on route to the town of Picton where you disembark.

Explore the Marlborough Sounds

A vast network of intricate waterways and river valleys that lead to sandy coves and sheltered inlets, The Marlborough Sounds are one of our favourite New Zealand coastlines, best explored on foot or by boat or kayak, and a great place to enjoy some of New Zealand’s most magical scenery and wildlife.

The Marlborough Sounds is made up of four Sounds, The Queen Charlotte, Mahau, Kenepuru and Pelorus, with most visitors basing themselves at nearby Havelock North or Picton to begin their adventure into the Sounds.

The most well known of the Sounds is The Queen Charlotte with its famous coastal walking track stretches 71km through lush forest and along skyline ridges with beautiful views. Options for walking the track vary from the full 4 day hike to a variety of shorter, day walks that are just as enjoyable and slightly less challenging, and you can read more about this iconic New Zealand Great Walk here.

Choosing to explore the sounds from the water couldn’t be easier with many day cruising trips where you’ll have chance for a wild swim or kayak, and opportunities to spot dolphins, seals and even occasionally an Orca whale. We love the Pelorus Sound Mail Boat tour, one of the original South Island tourist attractions and a chance to sail through the same waters as Captain Cook as the boat delivers mail and suppliers to people living on Pelorus Sound.

Food and Drink in Marlborough

The wider region of Marlborough is famous world wide for its incredible wines (in particular Sauvignon Blanc) as well as being the home of the much loved Greenlip mussels, making it a must visit destination for food and wine buffs as well as nature and wildlife lovers.

Visit the open cellar doors at the local vineyards, or take a guided biking wine tour to enjoy some the region most famous Sauvignon Blancs, and enjoy a cruise out on the sounds to catch fresh Greenlip mussels before sampling them, gently steamed and paired with yet more wine!

The nearby town of Havelock North hosts a weekly farmers market that’s a haven for foodies, with local sellers, makers and growers showcasing their produce with a backdrop of live music and plenty of good coffee.

Ready to visit Marlborough Sounds? Get in touch!

Insider Tips

Russell Hooker is one of the Cougar Line water taxi captains who ferries passengers to different parts of the Marlborough Sounds. He recommends any of the day walks on the Queen Charlotte Track as a great way of seeing the scenery of the area.

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