Nestled at the head of Queen Charlotte Sound in the beautiful Marlborough Sounds, Picton is possibly New Zealand’s most pretty seaside town. Boasting one fifth of New Zealand’s coastline at its door and the best climate in New Zealand, rockets this charming little fishing village into a world class destination for international and domestic visitors to Marlborough.
Picton is all about the Marlborough Sounds with its relaxed island feel, secluded bays and crystal clear waters. The waterfront has one of the world’s best water views known for its ever changing colours and its marinas are a stunning testament to the importance of boats to this charming waterside village. Regular boat trips from Picton’s waterfront jetties take you to stunning locations throughout Queen Charlotte Sound and wisk you away into a world where the sound of song birds, the breeze and gentle waves lapping alongside your boat become your day’s soundtrack.
Fresh, Marlborough Sounds seafood cooked simply and world class wines produced in Marlborough’s world famous wine region are very much on the menu. Independent restaurants owned by passionate foodies serving internationally influenced dishes can be found alongside traditional Kiwi eateries serving hot pies ’ fush n chups’ and custard squares.
Ask any visitor who has just discovered Picton, what they think of it and the answer is always, wow I never knew it was so beautiful. Most visitors to New Zealand think that Picton is where you get off the ferry and travel south but it’s so much more than you ever imagined.
South Island New Zealand – Begins Here!
The Marlborough Sounds are full of amazing marine life including 5 species of Dolphin, Orca, Hump Back whales (visits), Fur Seals, Blue Penguins, Rare birds including New Zealand’s very rare and endangered Saddleback, and other beautiful animals. The sounds are often called paradise by the locals and when you explore them you realise why. The Marlborough Sounds are truly one of the earth’s most beautiful water landscapes.
Top tip – A dolphin experience in the Marlborough Sounds is made even more amazing because of the crystal clear sheltered waters!
Ship Cove is a New Zealand Icon Heritage site. The site was used by Captain James Cook in the 1770′s to anchor his ship the Endeavour for provisioning and repair. Cook spent more time at Ship Cove, than anywhere else on earth, other than his home town of Whitby in England. The cove is much the same today as it was in Cook’s time. For more historic information go to www.theprow.org.nz
Top tip – You can camp at Ship Cove!
Queen Charlotte Sound was named by Captain Cook after his King’s wife, Charlotte. Laced with beautiful sandy bays, secluded beaches, coves and ancient tree fern forests, Queen Charlotte Sound is truly a special place to visit. The sound is also home to one of New Zealand most famous walks, the Queen Charlotte Track. 71km’s of amazing coastal scenery, stunning beach forest and camp sites. It’s also well supported by water taxi’s, so you can choose to walk a section or the entire track with easy drop off and pick up points along the way. For more information on the track go to http://www.qctrack.co.nz/
Before Queen Charlotte Sound was named by Captain Cook in the 1770′s, the sound was known as Totaranui. For more historic information go to http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/tracks-and-walks/marlborough/sounds/queen-charlotte-track/features/history-and-natural-history/
Top tip – You can book a boat trip to explore Queen Charlotte Sound from Picton waterfront, or book on this site through the suppliers website with no commission added!
Marlborough is home to New Zealand’s largest wine region. Producing 77% of all New Zealand wines and a staggering 90% plus of New Zealand’s Sauvignon Blanc. This picturesque region has much to offer and is just 15 minutes from Picton by road.
Top tip – Stay in Picton and catch daily wine tour trips to the wine region!
Picton is steeped in maritime history. Captain Cook’s visits to Queen Charlotte Sound, early New Zealand port history, whaling history, the world’s discovery ship visits, Maori and European settler history to name a few, enrich this town with an historic and important past. Through the years, Picton has been a bustling port, a gold mining town, a fishing port and now a tourism destination.
The world’s oldest merchant ship, the Edwin Fox, sits in dry dock in Picton and the National Whale Centre is based here. Picton museum houses an extensive collection of artifacts including early Maori artifacts and is well worth a visit.
Originally establish as a settlement in the 1500′s by north island Maori, Picton now offers a beautiful introduction to the South Island of New Zealand. The Marlborough Sounds are not to be missed on your travel through New Zealand and don’t be fooled into thinking you have experienced the magic of the sounds from the ferry trip. This place is one in a million and your journey through the South Island begins here!
We hope you enjoy this site and find it informative. We look forward to welcoming you to Picton and the Marlborough region.
Photography by Richard Briggs – www.richardbriggsphotography.co.nz