The Marlborough Sounds is a vast maze of deep channels, sheltered
waterways and secluded bays, embraced by verdant bush-clad hills. The Sounds encompass
Port Underwood to the east; Queen Charlotte Sound, Pelorus and Kenepuru Sounds, forming
the central heart of the Sounds; and north to D'Urville Island.
At the head of Pelorus Sound, the picturesque fishing port township of
Havelock is the principal base for marine farming in the province. Once a thriving
gold-mining town, Havelock's main sources of wealth now derive from Greenshell Mussel
farming, fishing and tourism. The main street still retains remnants of its colonial past,
with many of the original buildings now housing boutique art and craft galleries, cafés
Queen Charlotte Drive, the scenic road that ends at Picton, starts at
Havelock. This has to be one of New Zealand's most delightful drives, winding around
bush-fringed coastline, past sheltered inlets and bays, alongside flat farmland and
through the fertile valleys that once formed the upper reaches of the Sounds.
The very isolation of the Marlborough Sounds is its main attraction.
Baches, holiday houses and
even permanent homes are dotted throughout the hidden bays and coves, as well as a number
of luxury resorts and lodges that are only accessible by sea.