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Marlborough Sounds

Outdoor Activities

  • Water activities
  • Day trips
  • Multi-day trips
  • Private tours
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Our most recommended Marlborough Sounds Outdoor Activities

Picton: Dolphin Watching & Island Wildlife Sanctuary Cruise

1. Picton: Dolphin Watching & Island Wildlife Sanctuary Cruise

Embark on a unique, fully-guided wildlife and dolphin cruise through the Marlborough Sounds. Begin your journey in Picton, where you will meet the expert team who will take you on a conservation-focused, wildlife adventure for your soul. On the journey, you will be encountering a huge variety of rare, wonderful and interesting species along the way. Enjoy the engaging commentary and fantastic viewing areas which allow you to enjoy playful Hector’s, Bottlenose, or Dusky Dolphins with a 90 percent encounter rate. You will also have an opportunity to see New Zealand fur seals and numerous seabirds before landing on Motuara Island for a 1-hour nature lover’s walk to remember, great for adults and kids alike. After returning to the boat, sit back and relax with a hot drink and cookies before making our way back to Picton and stopping to check out any extra species you can discover.

Queen Charlotte Track: Cruise & Self-Guided Hike from Picton

2. Queen Charlotte Track: Cruise & Self-Guided Hike from Picton

Cruise through the Queen Charlotte Sound to walk part of the Queen Charlotte Track, one of the top ten coastal walking tracks in New Zealand. Your self-guided adventure starts with a cruise north from Picton to the historic Ship Cove. Here you can learn about the local area from your skipper, whilst on the lookout for marine wildlife. You will be able to choose between the following two hikes: Furneaux Lodge to Punga Cove Your first hike opportunity will be from Furneaux Lodge to Punga Cove, a 12.7-kilometer hike. You can enjoy 30-minutes ashore at the historic Ship Cove before rejoining the vessel and cruising around to Furneaux Lodge where you can grab a coffee or even brunch. Begin your self-guided hike along the Queen Charlotte Track, where you will learn that this area is rich in history and follows the coastline around the Endeavour Inlet through regenerating native bush to the Punga Cove Resort.  Ship Cove to Furneaux Lodge This hike provides you with the opportunity to hike from Ship Cove to Furneaux Lodge, a trail of 15 kilometers. You will arrive at Ship Cove where you'll begin your self-guided hike of the Queen Charlotte Track. You can climb away from the beach as you pass through native forest regenerating beneath a high canopy of trees. You will then be able to admire stunning views of the sound when you reach Tawa Saddle. The track then drops into Resolution Bay and follows an old bridle path into Endeavour Inlet to Furneaux Lodge. After your walk, you'll have time to relax before boarding your cruise vessel around 4:00 PM for your return boat journey to Picton with an estimated arrival time of 5:30-6:00 PM.

Marlborough Sounds: Full-Day Guided Kayak Tour with Lunch

3. Marlborough Sounds: Full-Day Guided Kayak Tour with Lunch

The day starts with a safety briefing and getting kitted up before heading down to the beach. Listen to a quick paddling introduction and then head out onto the water for the rest of the tour. The route is always flexible so the tour goes where the weather is best. Depending on how the group decides, there may be a chance to stop and stretch your legs or take a swim before continuing on to a pretty beach for a delicious picnic lunch. Upon landing at the beach, your guide will serve up some hot drinks. After lunch, work your way back towards the starting beach, all going well with a sea breeze at your back. Once back at the beach, you will de-kit and then head off on the rest of your adventure in New Zealand. Showers are available if needed (water dependent during the drier months).

Marlborough Sounds Guided Kayak and Freedom Walk Tour

4. Marlborough Sounds Guided Kayak and Freedom Walk Tour

Maximize your time in this brilliant area with a half day of guided sea kayaking, followed by a half day of freedom walking on the popular Queen Charlotte Track. Your day starts with a safety briefing and getting kitted up before heading down to the beach. After a quick paddling introduction, you’ll head out onto the water.   From Anakiwa, head off along the North Coastline towards Mistletoe Bay, where you’ll encounter some local bird life and, if you’re lucky, some marine mammals. Arrive at Mistletoe Bay around lunchtime, where you’ll say goodbye to your kayaks and guide and head off for your freedom walk.   Walk back to Anakiwa following old bridle paths high above the water along Queen Charlotte Track, offering you a very different perspective than from the water. Pass by stunning views, contrasting landscapes, historical landmarks, and a wonderful variety of native bush and wildlife. The final hour of walking is on an easy path through mature beech forest to Anakiwa.

From Nelson: Marlborough Sounds Scenic Helicopter Flight

5. From Nelson: Marlborough Sounds Scenic Helicopter Flight

Discover the beautiful Marlborough Sounds as you take a scenic helicopter flight from nearby Nelson. Admire the scenery and land on your choice of either a beach or mountain top before you return. Board your private helicopter at the activity provider's base at Nelson Airport and set off on a scenic flight to the Marlborough Sounds. Follow the coastline on the way as your pilot points out landmarks via two-way headset communication. Admire the natural beauty of the Marlborough Sounds from above. Look out over the Pelorus, Kenepuru, and Queen Charlotte Sounds, enjoying views of this pristine natural environment. Land at your choice of either a beach or mountain top before you return to the meeting point.

Frequently asked questions about Marlborough Sounds Outdoor Activities

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Other Sightseeing Options in Marlborough Sounds

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What people are saying about Marlborough Sounds

We had an amazing time, saw a seal eating an octopus, two more sunbathing, and 2 dolphin species (hector dolphins and dusk dolphins). The hector dolphins were playfully swimming and jumping around the boat. Absolutely stunning. The hike in Motorua Island was quite nice too, and we saw many kakarikis, the South Island robin, and a kereru in the wild.

Really enjoyed the commentary the crew were so lovely and just getting our and seeing the birds seals dolphins etc. The lovely islands you pass by . Was so tranquil and lovely. Loved it all

Really great, informative and enjoyable tour. Great value for money. Staff were very knowledgeable, friendly and made sure we had a great tour. Definitely recommend this activity.

Great afternoon out. Andy and Nicki were fantastic guides. Highly recommend their tour.

a good wee trip and got to see dolphins close up too as a bonus on the way home.