Exploring the Marlborough Sounds

Marlborough Sounds Panoramic
Marlborough Sounds Panoramic

With spring just around the corner it’s time to get planning some weekends away. It won’t be long until the clocks move forward and the nights get lighter. It’s one of our favourite times of the year to go exploring the Marlborough Sounds. Whether it’s hiking through the native forest, exploring the sheltered coves, kayaking around the headlands or exploring the waters by boat – there’s so much to see and do in the Marlborough Sounds that it makes for an awesome weekend away.

About the Marlborough Sounds

The Marlborough Sounds is a collection of ancient sunken rivers valleys which filled with the waters of the Pacific Ocean creating a stunning environment to explore. The area has three main bodies of water: Queen Charlotte (one of our favourites J), Kenepuru and Pelorous Sounds. Wherever you choose to explore you won’t be disappointed; steep forested hills rise up from the waters and the vast coastline around the sounds is the perfect place to explore.

The Marlborough Sounds are steeped in history. In earlier days, the Sounds provided good shelter and food for Maori people and they used their waka/canoes to navigate over the forested hills rather than paddling out into the open waters of the Sounds. Captain James Cook also used the Marlborough Sounds for shelter, food and to help his crew recover from the scurvy. In 1770, he made Ship Cove (a great place to explore) his base and during his stay, he discovered a plant that is high in vitamin C which helped to cure scurvy.

Exploring the Marlborough Sounds

We often talk about the amazing things to do down in the Marlborough region from the fantastic wine tasting to the great tramps along the Queen Charlotte Track however there are also lots of activities out on the water. The Sounds are one of the most popular places to go kayaking or if you are looking for something less strenuous, you can also rent motor boats and head out exploring the Sounds for yourself. When the winds are blowing, yachting is also a great way to get around.

A yacht moored up in a secluded Marlborough Sounds bay
A yacht moored up in a secluded Marlborough Sounds bay

Sea Kayaking

Whilst the waters still might be a bit chilly in the springtime, it’s still a great time to get out on the water in a sea kayak. With over 1,500km of coastline to explore around the Marlborough Sounds, it’s a great place to get out on the water – you’ll have no problems finding a secluded bay to call your own. The wildlife at this time of year is also pretty spectacular and seals, dolphins and penguins are a common sight.

Mountain Biking

A great way to get around the Sounds is by mountain bike. One of our favourite places to explore is the Queen Charlotte Track which is great for mountain biking or walking. The 70km track stretches from historic Ship Cove to Anakiwa. The terrain can be rough in places which adds to the fun and it’s possible to cycle the whole route in one day although there are some great places to stay along the way.

A view from the Queen Charlotte Track looking back over the Marlborough Sounds
A view from the Queen Charlotte Track looking back over the Marlborough Sounds

Tramping

There are loads of places to go tramping in the Marlborough Sounds. The Queen Charlotte Track is a great place to explore as you can pick the track up in lots of different places. It’s really cool to catch a ferry around the Sounds so you get the best of both worlds – exploring the water and then hiking the stunning Queen Charlotte Track.

Where to stay in the Marlborough Sounds

If you are looking for a great place to base yourself for a weekend away exploring the Marlborough Sounds then look no further than the Picton Yacht Club Hotel in the heart of Picton. With spectacular views over the Marlborough Sounds, a short walk to the Marina and some comfortable accommodation, this is a great base to come back to each day.

 

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