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Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand

The Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand at the top of the South Island, is fast becoming the place of choice for visitors looking for wilderness and adventure - yet with all the comforts! 

Early Maori spoke of two different legends of the formation of the Marlborough Sounds and New Zealand.
One tells how Kupe, the Maori warrior god, fought with a giant octupus in the Pacific Ocean. As the battle raged, the octupus reached out with its tentacles and grasped at nearby land, gouging out all the intricate bays and coves of the Marlborough Sounds. Kupe finally overcame and slew the octopus and cut out its eyes and threw them into the sea nearby - today these are the Brothers Islands near the entrance to Cook Strait.Kenepuru Sound

The other speaks of Maori gods who came down from the heavens in a great canoe and then found themselves unable to return. The canoe capsized and its keel rose to form the Southern Alps while its prow shattered and sank, its ridges becoming the network of waterways known today as the Marlborough Sounds.

Geologists tell us the Marlborough Sounds are a network of sunken river valleys, where the land has slowly sunk and the water level has risen, flooding a vast area over millions of years. This intricate land mass is not only spectacular but unique in New Zealand as it is the only large land area that is still sinking into the sea. Three main bodies of water make up the Sounds - Queen Charlotte, Kenepuru and Pelorus - and a number of islands are dotted throughout its expanse.

Maori have inhabited New Zealand for more than 1000 years and it is believed that they have had a presence in this area since that time. Mobility was crucial during this early existence as settlement followed food source. There were many small settlements throughout the Marlborough Sounds and a number of different iwi (tribes) have affiliations to this place.

Marlborough SoundsThe first known European to visit Queen Charlotte Sounds was the famous English explorer, Captain James Cook, on the HMS Endeavour. He sailed into Ship Cove, today the start of the Queen Charlotte Track, on January 17, 1770 and made this small cove his South Pacific base for the next seven years. He was to return many times. It was here the first social interaction between South Island Maori and the European took place.

Today visitors to the Marlborough Sounds generally arrive by inter-island ferry from New Zealand's North Island into the charming seaside port of Picton, the gateway to Queen Charlotte Sound. The larger centre of Blenheim is also just 20 minutes drive away with a domestic airport and the coastal train from Christchurch also provides links by rail to and from Picton.

The Marlborough Sounds and the Queen Charlotte Track is the ultimate place to hike, mountain bike and sea kayak  as you follow in the footsteps of those gone before.

3 Day Queen Charlotte Track Standard Ensuite Hike Bike Kayak Combo
3 Day Queen Charlotte Track Standard Ensuite Hike Bike Kayak Combo
South Island
Like the idea of combining all three of the Marlborough Sounds most popular activities - hiking and mountain biking on the Queen Charlotte Track, as ...
4 Day Boutique Lodge Guided Walk
4 Day Boutique Lodge Guided Walk
South Island
In the late 17th Century, English voyager Captain James Cook must have thought he was in paradise, when he sailed into the calm waters of the Marlbor...
4 Day Queen Charlotte Track Boutique Independent Walk
4 Day Queen Charlotte Track Boutique Independent Walk
South Island
Our 4 Day Boutique Queen Charlotte Track Independent Walk takes the best boutique lodge accommodation available in the Marlborough Sounds within acce...
4 Day Queen Charlotte Track Independent Walk
4 Day Queen Charlotte Track Independent Walk
South Island
Like the idea of having everything arranged for you but walking independently? On a 4 Day Unguided Walking Package, we will organise your accommodati...
4 Day Queen Charlotte Track Kayak and Trek
4 Day Queen Charlotte Track Kayak and Trek
South Island
Popular with hikers and kayakers, you spend time paddling on the sheltered waters, your guide will explain the history of the sunken valleys of the M...
4 Day Queen Charlotte Track Standard Gourmet Guided Walk
4 Day Queen Charlotte Track Standard Gourmet Guided Walk
South Island
Experience the peace of the beautiful Marlborough Sounds. Learn about the plants, wildlife and history from knowledgeable, local guides. This tour fe...
5 Day Queen Charlotte Track Boutique Independent Walk
5 Day Queen Charlotte Track Boutique Independent Walk
South Island
Our Boutique Five Day Queen Charlotte Track Freedom Walk takes the best boutique lodge accommodation available in the Marlborough Sounds within acces...
5 Day Queen Charlotte Track Boutique Lodge Guided Walk
5 Day Queen Charlotte Track Boutique Lodge Guided Walk
South Island
In the late 17th Century, English voyager Captain James Cook must have thought he was in paradise, when he sailed into the calm waters of the Marlbor...
5 Day Queen Charlotte Track Independent Walk
5 Day Queen Charlotte Track Independent Walk
South Island
On this 5 Day Unguided Walking Package, everything is the same as the Queen Charlotte Track 4 Day Independent Walk; with the added bonus of a rest da...
5 Day Queen Charlotte Track Standard Gourmet Guided Walk
5 Day Queen Charlotte Track Standard Gourmet Guided Walk
South Island
This package is pure Marlborough Sounds luxury! After an exhilarating walk each day, at night we come to rest at an upmarket accommodation place comp...