Our Region

Picton and Queen Charlotte Sound

Picton is a beautiful port town, poised at the edge of the Queen Charlotte Sound, and is home to fantastic cafes, restaurants, galleries and specialty shops.

Go by boat, bike, car, helicopter or plane to explore the intricate waterways beyond, with island bird sanctuaries, secluded bays, protected wildlife, luxurious resorts and the brilliant Queen Charlotte Track.

Picton is a buzzing community with an eclectic mix of cafes and restaurants, many of which feature freshly caught or farmed local seafood.

The foreshore is packed with things to do, from exploring the Edwin Fox, beating the family at mini-golf and window shopping for a boat, to relaxing with friends and a feed of fish and chips beside the beach.

Walking and cycle tracks lead through the native bush around the township, rewarding your efforts with wonderful views of the Marlborough Sounds.

The Queen Charlotte Sound is a coastal paradise, rich with island sanctuaries, where native birdlife thrives, pristine waters, where dolphins, penguin, orca, stingrays and all manner of seabirds can be discovered, and beautiful beaches bordered by native bush. It’s also blessed with resorts and restaurants, so you can find delicious sustenance on your journey.

There are numerous ways of seeing Queen Charlotte Sound, with guided and unguided kayak rentals, yacht and launch charters, mail boats and cruises. Visit island sanctuaries, where New Zealand’s most endangered wildlife flourishes, or historic Ship Cove - explorer James Cook's favourite anchorage during his explorations of New Zealand.

Fresh Marlborough seafood

Wine & Food

Marlborough salmon and mussels are available at a range of foodie outlets. Seafood (or more strictly Sounds food) with a crisp ‘chardie’ or ‘sav blanc’ is heaven on earth!

Fresh Marlborough seafood

Blenheim i-SITE Visitor Information Centre

Picton Maritime Festival

Events

Enjoy all things maritime at the Picton Maritime Festival in January. Kid's play area, raft races for all ages, clinker boat races, performances from local talented youth and national artists as well. Food and craft stalls.

Picton Maritime Festival

Blenheim i-SITE Visitor Information Centre

Motuara Island eco sanctuary

Activities

Visit the beautiful Motuara Island in the Queen Charlotte Sound. This predator free sanctuary is home to kiwi, saddlebacks and other native wildlife.

Motuara Island eco sanctuary

Blenheim i-SITE Visitor Information Centre

Paddle the Sounds

Activities

Rent a kayak and paddle your way from bay to bay, choosing to be independent or guided.

Paddle the Sounds

Blenheim i-SITE Visitor Information Centre

Spot the king shag

Activities

Get a glimpse of the king shag, the second rarest bird in the world with a stagnant population of 500-600. The king shags nest near Motuara Island in the Marlborough Sounds.

Spot the king shag

Blenheim i-SITE Visitor Information Centre

Hear the dawn chorus

Activities

Wake early in the Marlborough Sounds for a stunning dawn chorus, like that heard by Joseph Banks when he visited Queen Charlotte Sound with Captain Cook.

Hear the dawn chorus

Blenheim i-SITE Visitor Information Centre

Related Guide:

On the Water
Transport

On the Water

Explore 1500km of winding coastline, secluded bays, historic sites, marine reserves and island sanctuaries, fostering kiwi and other native species.

Beautiful beaches and native bush surround the sunken valleys of water, and every bay beckons. Some can be reached by road, but the only way to really discover the sounds is by water. Kayak, sail or motor your way through the Marlborough Sounds and share in our beautiful treasure.

Cast for kawahai and salmon at the mouth of the Wairau River, or find trout in the tributaries of this beautiful braided river. Pull on your wetsuit to dive for crayfish and paua on Marlboroughs East Coast, in the currents of the Tory Channel and Port Underwood, or out of Okiwi and Elaine Bays to the west.

Go diving in secluded corners of the Queen Charlotte Sound or cast a line for blue cod and snapper in the Kenepuru and Pelorus. Some of Marlborough’s best sea fishing and diving is off d’Urville Island and French Pass, where fishing charters will ensure you find the right spots.

Read our guide

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