Marlborough Sounds

Marlborough Sounds Paddling

The Marlborough Sounds, in the Marlborough region at the top of NZ’s South Island, covers about 4000 square metres of coastline, that is about 1/10th of the total NZ coastline. This gives you an enormous potential for kayaking.

Top 4 Tripadvisor Marlborough Sounds activities.

  1. Wilderness Guides – Day tours. Picton.
  2. Sea Kayak Adventures. Anakiwa, Queen Charlotte Sound.
  3. Pelorus Eco Adventures. Pelorus Bridge.
  4. Marlborough Sounds Adventure Company. Picton


The Sounds is made up of 4 different sounds, Queen Charlotte, Kenepuru, Pelorus, and Mahau; and accessible from the two towns of Havelock and Picton.

These are the gateways to the winding waterways which are perfect for boating, fishing and swimming. Both places contain i-SITE visitor centres where you can get hold of information regarding places to stay and current activities.

Queen Charlotte sound is accessible from Picton, Kenepuru, Mahau and Pelorus from Havelock, where there are also roads and tracks to take you further into the Sounds, to places such as Portage and Moikarurangi Bay.

Sea Kayaking is a popular activity here and there are many opportunities to get close to the wonderful NZ marine life, many seals, dolphins and even orcas can be spotted in the area.

River Kayaking

The Pelorus River, which flows into Pelorus Sound, was the location for the barrel scene in the Peter Jackson movie The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, based on JRR Tolkien book. This beautiful, typically Kiwi river, is surrounded by native Beech trees and bush, steep rocky sides and crystal clear water. There is even some opportunities for some white-water canoeing.

Pelorus Bridge, where there is a carpark, cafe and many walks, is easily accessible from Havelock and Nelson and is a beautiful place just for a swim if you aren’t up for a canoe.

More info

Marlborough Sounds information

NZ tourism website

Pelorus River Kayaking






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