Marlborough Sounds Activities

The Marlborough Sounds offers the visitor a unique land and seascape encompassing the Queen Charlotte Sound, Pelorus and Kenepuru Sounds, Western Sounds, French Pass and D’Urville Island. These magical areas give the visitor an unforgettable holiday experience  … paradise awaits.

The Queen Charlotte Track

History of the Queen Charlotte Track

Queen Charlotte SoundThe Queen Charlotte Track and its immediate area is full of interesting history. For example:

  • Captain Cook first made Ship Cove known to the western world following via 1770 visit aboard the ship Endeavour. He also made four later visits aboard the ship the Resolution
  • British sovereignty was first proclaimed by Captain Cook and the flag formally raised on the summit of Motuara Island on the 31st of January 1770
  • Within Resolution Bay is Schoolhouse Bay, which was once the site of the local school. At one time children from the neighbouring farms walked or rode their ponies to school along the bridle paths which now form the basis of the Queen Charlotte Track.
  • Until the end of the 19th century there was a thriving township at the head of Endeavour Inlet. Antimony was mined there and at one time sailing ships loaded their cargoes in the Inlet before sailing direct to England with the valuable metal.
  • Legend tells of the early Maori using Torea Saddle to haul out their canoes from one Sound to another.
  • Early pioneering farmers planned to create a canal across the Te Mahia Saddle as a quick route to Picton for transporting wool and livestock.

Waiting for the boat - Queen Charlotte TrackSome suggestions for DAY walks on the track and scheduled transport to track:

  • Ship Cove To Resolution Bay – 4.5 km
    Take time out to explore Ship Cove. There is an attractive waterfall adjacent to the Ship Cove Reserve. Starting on the main track there is a short but steady climb through virgin native bush, leading to a ‘look out’. The view extends to the North Island coast and ranges. The Track then descends to Resolution Bay.
  • Resolution Bay to Head of Endeavour Inlet – 10.5 km
    This section of the track follows an old bridle path through to Endeavour Inlet. Progressing towards the head of the Inlet the Track passes through stunning forest and a small settlement of holiday cottages before leading to Furneaux Lodge. If time allows take a short side trip to see the waterfall.
  • Furneaux Lodge to Punga Cove – 11.7 km
    The Track stays close to the shoreline and winds its way through regenerating bush. Bird-watchers will particularly enjoy the Big Bay section of the Track, which is rich in bird-life. There are glow worm grottos in this corner of Endeavour Inlet.
  • Resolution Bay to Punga Cove – 22.2 km
  • Punga Cove to Torea Bay – 23.6 km
  • Mistletoe Bay to Anakiwa

From the waterfront office in Picton, they operate sea kayaking guided one-day trips, multi days rental and sit on kayaks for hourly rentals plus mountain bike trips on the Queen Charlotte Track. They’ll help you to see the best of the Sounds with fun and ease.

Three cruise options available year round. No minimum numbers. Visit a salmon farm, seal colony, resorts and holiday homes onboard a catamaran.

  • Cruise-n-Walk Departs daily at 8am or 10am. Enquire for a variety of options
  • 3 hour short cruise Departs daily at 10am and 1.30pm
  • Luncheon cruise Departs daily at 10am. Lunch at Punga Cove Resort or Furneaux

On demand private water taxi service that also offers year round hire of 2 rental boats; 4.3 metres naiad holds four people and 6 metre Mc Lay holds 7 people

A fully guided Eco lunch cruise of 3 hours. See seabirds, dolphins and seals according to season. Bush walk on Motuara Island bird sanctuary and visit Captain Cook Memorial at Ship Cove. Departs Picton 8.45 am and 1.45 pm.

Budget water transport, Queen Charlotte specialists. Full track transport service including mountain bikes, range of day trips available. Ex Picton 9.30am and 1.15 pm daily.


  • Round the bays Cruise twice daily at 10:15 am & 2.15 pm
  • Portage Luncheon Cruise daily at 10.15 am
  • One day freedom walk daily 10.15 am and the Portage Ferry Service: 10.15 am & 12.15 pm daily
  • Magical Mail Runs