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Take in the sights of Queen Charlotte Sound and visit Ship Cove on a morning boat tour from Picton. The 3.5-hour journey follows a network of waterways as your captain narrates the highlights of the Marlborough Sounds. During free time while anchored at Ship Cove, see Maori wood carvings and a Captain Cook memorial, and explore the sheltered beach. Be on the lookout for marine life and other natural features of this breathtaking region while you sip complimentary tea and coffee on board.


  • 3.5-hour boat cruise through the Marlborough Sounds to Ship Cove, from Picton
  • Learn about the region's history from your expert captain
  • Have at least 30 minutes to explore Ship Cove, Captain Cook’s favorite anchorage in New Zealand
  • See beautiful Endeavor Inlet
  • Travel along parts of the inter-island ferry route and Queen Charlotte Sound, located within the larger Marlborough Sounds
  • Sip complimentary tea or coffee on board the boat

What You Can Expect

Marlborough Sounds Cruise from Picton

New Zealand fur seal

Explore the magnificent waterways of the Marlborough Sounds on an afternoon boat tour, departing from the Picton waterfront. After your boat captain welcomes you aboard, set off on your 3.5-hour Queen Charlotte Sound cruise, which includes a 30-minute stop in Ship Cove.

Warm up with tea and coffee, and listen to live commentary on regional historical and natural landmarks. Keep an eye out for marine life such as little blue penguins and Hector’s dolphins — considered the rarest marine dolphin in the world. 

After about an hour’s journey, your boat drops anchor at Ship Cove where Captain Cook’s ship, the Endeavor, stopped for supplies in the late 1700s. Set foot on the trails past informative displays to a sheltered beach, and check out the Maori statues and monument to Cook.

At the appointed time, you’ll continue by boat to Endeavor Inlet en route to Picton, arriving at the waterfront where your tour ends.

Customer Reviews

Stan K

5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2017

Spectacular, breathtaking scenery, interesting commentary. We'd do this again and again if we could. Spectacular views everywhere you look.

John P

5 star rating: Highly Recommended April 2016

Highly recommend this operator. Friendly efficient and professional. Comfortable vessel and good value for money. The ships cove trip gives a good overall intro to the Queen Charlotte Sound area in comfort and convenience. Recomend staying at the Beachcomber motel/hotel about 100 meters from the wharf.

Robin M

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2015

The skipper was very helpful, friendly and informative.


4 star rating: Recommended January 2017

Nice cruising tour, unfortunately the weather was not that good. We were one of the very few people aboard, if there are more people on the boat the athmosphere may be less relaxing. Even in the bad weather, amazing nature!


4 star rating: Recommended November 2016

Awesome trip beautiful weather

Martinha D

4 star rating: Recommended June 2016

It was amazing trip around Malborough Sounds.

David R

4 star rating: Recommended February 2016

We had lovely weather for the trip, and enjoyed seeing round the Sound.

Elizabeth T

3 star rating: Worth doing January 2017

The trip was good, scenery great but the commentary was lacking. The boat was in good order, comfortable and roomy. The crew need more direction on providing commentary.


3 star rating: Worth doing March 2015

Although a pleasant sound it was not a patch on Milford unfortunately. It was good to see where Captain Cook first made land in New Zealand, Ships Cove.

Mary Ann Z

2 star rating: It was OK, but could have been better February 2016

All we did was most of the time was ride around on a boat. We were supposed to have 1/2 hour at Captain Cook's memorial but only had 15 minutes. I thought the visit to the bird island was very boring but I was happy to have 45 minutes of good exercise walking up and down hills and climbing up to the lookout point.

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