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Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand

Marlborough Sounds

Visit Marlborough Sounds


The deep inlets and drowned river valleys of the Marlborough Sounds are often described as ‘a little slice of Norway'. The Sounds are a charming introduction to the South Island, with opportunities for cruising, sea kayaking, walking and wildlife watching from the town of Picton.

Close by is Blenheim, the region's capital and the centre of the world-famous Marlborough wine country. Most people start or end their travels in the Marlborough Sounds in the small township of Picton, which was once the site of a Maori pa (fortress).

Marlborough vineyards

At one time Picton was a candidate to be the nation's capital, which seems somewhat surprising now, given its population is just 4,000. For much of the year it is a quiet place, but it comes to life in the summer, when its craft shops, cafes and galleries fill up with visitors, who arrive by ferry, train or car before heading off to explore the nearby Sounds and vineyards. The Interislander - a car and passenger ferry that operates between Picton in the South Island and Wellington in the North Island - runs daily services from the ferry terminal, 500 metres from the town centre.

Queen Charlotte Sound

Leaving Picton, it passes through the scenic Queen Charlotte Sound, where dolphins can often be seen swimming alongside the ship. There's also wildlife to see on Motuara Island, a predator-free haven for native birds that includes oystercatchers, herons, fantails and shags. The very rare Okarito brown kiwi can also sometimes be seen, as can South Island bush robins and bellbirds. Another local attraction is Ship Cove, which Captain Cook used as a base during his travels around New Zealand in the 1770s. It's one of the key sites on the spectacular Queen Charlotte Track.


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Top itineraries in Marlborough Sounds

Maui Ultima Elite

New Zealand by Motorhome

20-day motorhome self-drive from £2,965 pp incl. flights

From the subtropical beaches of the Bay of Islands, the geothermal pools of Rotorua and wine lands of Hawke's Bay to the majestic glaciers of Fox and Franz Josef and the towering peaks of the Southern Alps, New Zealand is home to some of the world's most spectacular driving routes.

Mountain picnic, Queenstown, New Zealand

Culinary Highlights of New Zealand

25-day tailor-made self-drive from £7,140 pp incl. flights

With a focus on food and wine, this luxury fly-drive covers many of New Zealand's highlights, taking in the everything from the rolling vineyards of Hawke's Bay to the snow-capped peaks of the Southern Alps.

The Marlborough Sounds, South Island, New Zealand

Spirit of the South Island

17-day tailor-made self-drive from £4,660 pp incl. flights

A self-drive tour through the stunning attractions of the South Island, with pre-booked stays in boutique hotels and exciting excursions including whale watching at Kaikoura, a TranzAlpine train journey through the Southern Alps, and a thrilling helicopter ride over Fox and Franz Josef glaciers.

Top places to stay in Marlborough Sounds

Raetihi Lodge exterior, New Zealand

Raetihi Lodge, Marlborough Sounds

Traditional lodge

Flung off into the waterways and cragged islands of Marlborough, this is a chance to get in touch with nature.

Marlborough Lodge grounds, New Zealand

Marlborough Lodge, Blenheim

Traditional lodge

This is luxury that pleases the Victorian eye with century old heritage and delights the modern tastebuds with fine gastronomy and on-site vineyards.

Bay of Many Coves Kereru suite bedroom, New Zealand

Bay of Many Coves, Marlborough Sounds

Small & intimate lodge

Trickling down to its aquamarine waterfront, this bijoux offering combines a stunning location with excellent facilities.

Meet our Marlborough Sounds experts

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Why book with Wexas Travel?

At Wexas, we specialise in bespoke travel experiences. Our itineraries are just samples of what we can arrange, and can be changed depending on your precise needs, finances and ideas by our experienced destination specialists.

Contact one of our consultants on 020 7590 0614 to discuss how we can tailor your holiday.

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