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If you are fortunate to have a few days up your sleeve and looking for a great place to explore or just chill out on your tour of NZ then the Marlborough Sounds is a must. The bays and waterways of the Marlborough Sounds makes up a fifth of New Zealand’s total coastline, and includes bush-covered ridgelines with stunning views and secluding bays, many only accessible by boat. The peace and tranquility of the Sounds is a great place to really unwind with a great range of accommodation catering for all.
For those who like to explore, the Queen Charlotte track from Ship Cove to Anakiwa is certainly worthwhile with options for walking, mountain-biking and kayaking. It generally takes 3 – 5 days to complete. One thing that makes it very special is the range of options available, from carrying your own packs and camping to having packs transferred by boat and staying in gorgeous lodges with gourmet restaurants, all organised by a guiding company. If you only have one day, then day walks on the track are a popular choice. They are available from 3 hours to a full day, with a number of operators offering reliable services and add-on options. Good information is available on the track at www.qctrack.co.nz. The Nydia Track is a more back-country experience which also has excellent views and mountain-biking options.
Other options for experiencing the Sounds are also available, including cruising, fishing and yachting charters, dolphin watching or swimming, cruises to experience local seafood delicacies, bird watching trips, piloting your own boat, chartering a yacht or launch for a few days, or taking a cruise to a resort or art and nature centre for lunch or dinner.
The best website to access all the information you need with links to activities and accommodation providers is the Tourism New Zealand website at www.newzealand.com, the local tourist information website www.lovemarlborough.com, or there are a number of Picton websites (easily found through a search engine) which collate information on the Queen Charlotte Sound specifically. Best months to travel there would be January to April.