For most people, the Marlborough Sounds are their first overwhelming sight of the South Island. Formed by the glaciers of an ancient ice age, deep valleys were flooded by the sea, leaving a mass of bays, inlets and hidden coves.
The winding, weaving Sounds are home to an abundance of wildlife, including the rare Okarito brown kiwi, which lives in the miles of coastal forest fronting the sheltered waters.
Picton and around the Marlborough Sounds
This is the picturesque scenery that greets you as you arrive on the Interislander ferry. Picton, the ferry’s docking point, is a charming town and the gateway to the region’s attractions, including the famous Queen Charlotte Track.
However, to really experience the solitude and uninterrupted peace of the region you need to venture out to one of the guest houses tucked away in the coves and usually only accessible by water taxi.
From here you can take a sea kayak or canoe to get a seal’s-eye view of the waters, spend a few days exploring walking trails, take one of the excellent boat trips that spot the resident dolphins at play, visit the bird sanctuary of Motuara Island or simply sit and take it all in on the shores of one of the beaches.
Suggested Marlborough Sounds itinerary
This sample itinerary will give you an idea of what is possible when you travel in Marlborough Sounds, and showcases routes we know work particularly well. Treat this as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.
Map of Marlborough Sounds
Places & hotels on the map
Places near Marlborough Sounds
- Picton 18 kilometers away
- Blenheim 43 kilometers away
- Wellington 59 kilometers away
- Nelson 70 kilometers away
- The Kapiti Coast 82 kilometers away
- Abel Tasman National Park 99 kilometers away
- Martinborough 115 kilometers away
- Greytown 115 kilometers away
- Wairarapa & surrounds 119 kilometers away
- Collingwood & Farewell Spit 130 kilometers away
- Kahurangi National Park 139 kilometers away
- Kaikoura 144 kilometers away
- Whanganui National Park 158 kilometers away
- Hanmer Springs 186 kilometers away
- Taranaki & New Plymouth 234 kilometers away
- Tongariro National Park 247 kilometers away
- Punakaiki 254 kilometers away
- Hastings 288 kilometers away
- Arthur's Pass National Park 290 kilometers away
- Christchurch 291 kilometers away
- Hawke's Bay 302 kilometers away
- Napier 303 kilometers away
- Akaroa & Banks Peninsula 310 kilometers away
- Hokitika 313 kilometers away
- Lake Taupo 322 kilometers away
- Waitomo 333 kilometers away
- Rotorua 383 kilometers away
- Fox & Franz Josef Glaciers 423 kilometers away
- Waikato 423 kilometers away
- Tauranga 425 kilometers away
- Bay of Plenty 428 kilometers away
- Lake Tekapo 434 kilometers away
- Eastland & Gisborne 436 kilometers away
- Mount Cook National Park 437 kilometers away
- Thames & Kauaeranga Valley 464 kilometers away
- Twizel 476 kilometers away
- Auckland 483 kilometers away
Accommodation choices for Marlborough Sounds
We’ve selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Marlborough Sounds. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.
Ideas for experiencing Marlborough Sounds
Our specialists seek out authentic ways to get to know the places that could feature in your trip. These activities reflect some of the experiences they've most enjoyed while visiting Marlborough Sounds, and which use the best local guides.