Queen Charlotte Sound

Queen Charlotte Sound is a stunningly beautiful waterway containing countless bays and inlets, sparkling turquoise waters, little private beaches and lush native forest. Exploring this watery wonderland by kayak is a truly memorable experience. Combine this with a choice of guided and independent expeditions, great accommodation options plus the ability to combine with walking and biking, then you have the perfect kayaking location.

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Activity in brief

1 - 3 Days
Start - End:
Picton - Picton
Water Taxi, Shuttle Bus

Accommodation: Fully catered lodges

Nearest Town: Picton

Activity Overview

The Queen Charlotte Sound is an amazing geographic feature made up of hundreds of waterways that were once river valleys, but have since been ‘drowned’ by rising sea levels. Kayaking among these beautiful bays and inlets you will be surrounded by the steep hills and mountains and lush native bush seems to tumble straight to the water’s edge. On your travels keep an eye open for seals, little blue penguins and maybe even dolphins. 

One of the great attractions of kayaking here is flexibility. There are lots of different places to start and finish your kayaking adventure with easy transportation between – it all depends on what you want to do. You can also combine kayaking with tramping and biking for what truly has to be the most complete Queen Charlotte Sound adventure going!


Personalised Itineraries

There are a multitude of options for kayaking around this area - either on a personalised guided tour or finding your own way around. You can also get out on the water for just the day or longer if you wish.

We can organise accommodation out in the Sound for you ranging from luxury lodges with fine dining restaurants to wilderness campsites that are only accessible by water.

We can arrange all your equipment hire for you plus the best advise on routes and, most importantly, weather conditions. 

If you are interested in combining hiking, biking and kayaking in the Queen Charlotte Sound we can help with that too!

Contact us to find out more!

Include Kayaking the Queen Charlotte Sound in your unique Multi-Activity Trip

You can combine this kayak trip with any other activity on this website to create your own unique itinerary.

When you develop your own tailor-made itinerary with us, it's fully customised with your choice of activities, accommodation and transport around New Zealand - Click here for more information about Multi-Activity Trips or Enquire Now to get started.

One Day Guided Kayak
  • Guiding by highly trained and knowledgeable kayak guides.
  • Kayak hire included plus all safety equipment and safety briefing.
  • Transportation included.
  • Lunch included.
  • Suitable for kids over 8.
  • Return shuttle from Blenheim Airport to Picton available.

After meeting at Picton waterfront in the morning you depart for your launch point at Ngakuta Bay, just 20 minutes scenic drive from Picton. This is in the truly spectacular western end of the Sound where there is less boat traffic and many more beautiful bays and coves to explore as well as wildlife to see.

After a detailed safety briefing, you will set off on a great day's adventure. Your guide will be with you for the day to answer questions, share pearls of wisdom and ensure your comfort and wellbeing. Depending on the weather, the route varies each day to take advantage of sea breezes and to cater for all abilities.

You have a good chance of seeing stingrays and eagle-rays, a huge variety of sea birds including cormorants and sometimes little blue penguins, seals, huge starfish and if we are really lucky, even dolphins.

And, don't forget lunch - you'll be impressed at the goodies that are produced from out of the kayaks! Without a doubt, the best kayaking lunch on offer in the Marlborough Sounds and what's more, it is all sourced and made locally.

Pricing: One Day Guided Kayak

From NZD$140 per person. Includes kayak hire, all transportation and lunch.

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Activity Planning

When to go

The climate in this part of the South Island is generally one of the sunniest in the country, although bad weather and especially strong winds can pop up at any time of year. We can set you up with the right advice for safely planning your trip around the weather. 

What to bring

We organise:

Kayak - Kayaks provided with buoyancy aids, spray decks, paddle jackets, paddles, dry bags for your gear (including small camera dry bags) and extensive safety equipment including flares, pumps and spare paddle.

You will need to bring:

Waterproof jacket

Lots of warm clothes

Water bottle


Insect repellant

First-aid kit

Communication device

Accommodation on the trail

Punga Cove Resort

Punga Cove has the most incredible setting amongst native forest and overlooking a lovely bay. Its the perfect get-away-from-it-all location. Ensuite accommodation is found dotted among the bush and has been recently renovated. The restaurant is one of the best in the sounds and there's also a more informal wharf-side bar - great for toasting the end of your day!


Portage Resort

The Portage Hotel is beautifully located over-looking the Kenepuru Sound. There's a great bar and restaurant to relax at the end of the day, a pool and well appointed, ensuite accommodation in chalets.


Accommodation in Marlborough

We can organise your accommodation in the wider Marlborough region for before and after your trip if you wish. Please let us know what sort of accommodation you are looking for when you make your booking for this activity, and we can discuss the options with you.

One Day Guided Kayak - Shuttle Bus

Meet at Picton Waterfront at 8.30am for briefing. You are then driven to Ngakuta Bay by mini-bus with your kayaks trailered behind. Return to Picton by 4.30pm.

Route Map

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Get in touch

For more information about us or our services contact us on
+ 64 3 390 1584
or email us at [email protected]

Enquire Now