Sea Kayaking Playground
Bordering Cook Strait, the Marlborough Sounds consists of two separate waterways: Queen Charlotte Sound and Pelorus Sound. Pelorus Sound is the longer waterway: It is less accessible and a unique wilderness area.
Pelorus Sound is used by holiday makers, marine farmers, for sheep and cattle farmers and for pine forestry.
The outer Sounds experiences the occasional Cook Strait storm. Wind and wave patterns in the inner Sounds are variable due to the sheltering effects of the hills, islands and peninsulas. Strong tidal flows occur at French Pass, while mud flats predominate around Havelock and the Pelorus river mouth.
Plentiful bird life, good fishing, magnificent scenery and sheltered waters combine to make Pelorus Sound superb for sea kayaking. Nikau palm, manuka, beech and podocarp forest cover reserve land. Wekas, bellbirds, tuis, fantails and moreporks dominate on shore - while shags, terns, gannets, petrels and penguins are common offshore.
Wild oysters, blue mussels, and pipi beds are common around the coastline. Kahawai, stingrays, dogfish, leatherjackets, blue cod, herring, spottees and snapper cruise the crystal clear waters. Seal colonies, paua, crayfish, dolphins and tuatara are found in the outer Sounds.
In the summer, swim in the sea, wear a hat and use plenty of sunscreen.
In the winter, mornings are crisp but the weather is more settled. Fishing improves and penguins are more numerous. Hut accommodation is available during rainy days.
Multi - day trips are possible in Tennyson Inlet, or to Havelock, Portage, Nydia Bay, d'Urville Island and further afield. There are numerous campsites and lodges in the Sounds, supplies at Portage and Havelock.