Set at the top of New Zealand’s South Island, the Marlborough Sounds amazingly comprise one fifth of New Zealand’s coastline. Not because the region is large, however, but simply because the serpentine coast weaves in and out of so many bays it massively adds to the mileage. Here the coastline is so stunningly rugged that mail is still delivered by boat to towns that are cut off from roads, and visitors can actually ride along with the boat that’s delivering mail. It’s a rural time capsule that hearkens back to life in the 1800s, where sheep still roam the forested hills and fishermen ply the waters for mussels and live off the bounty of the sea.
For an authentic experience in Marlborough Sounds, hop aboard a seafood cruise to sample the clams, mussels, and salmon the Marlborough area is known for. Or, to scour the shore on your own two feet, hike the famous Queen Charlotte Track that weaves through Queen Charlotte Sound, or pedal your way up rolling green peaks by renting a mountain bike in town.
Nearly all tours of the Marlborough Sounds depart from the town of Picton. The most popular way of reaching Picton is aboard a ferry that crosses the Strait from neighboring Wellington on the North Island.
Did You Know? From 1888 until 1912, a dolphin by the name of Pelorus Jack would help mariners find safe passage through the treacherous, narrow French Pass.