Sunset view from Kenepuru Head

Image: Shellie Evans | ©


Base yourself at one of the many campsites or at a hut or lodge - enjoy water activities or explore the tracks in the area.

Place overview


  • Camping
  • Hunting
  • Mountain biking
  • Walking and tramping

Find things to do and places to stay Pelorus Sound/Te Hoiere and Kenepuru Sound area

About this place

History and culture

According to Maori tradition, the South Island is the canoe of Aoraki. Its sunken prow forms Queen Charlotte Sound/Totaranui and Pelorus Sound/Te Hoiere. The sounds provided good shelter and food for Maori. To avoid travelling by sea from one sound to another, they carried their waka/canoes over low saddles.

Captain James Cook also used the sounds for shelter and food. He made Ship Cove, in Queen Charlotte Sound, his base in the 1770s.

Getting there

Access this area by boat or from SH6 at Rai Valley (Pelorus Sound) or Linkwater (Kenepuru Sound).

The jetty at Jacobs Bay campsite and picnic area has been damaged by tree fall and is unusable. Do not attempt to use the jetty. Access to Jacobs Bay Campsite, picnic area, and track to Fairy Bay is now only possible via the beach.

Know before you go

  • The weather in the Sounds is generally mild, but conditions can change quickly, especially on the water. Ensure that you have adequate equipment and experience, and, if you are going out on the water, check the marine weather forecast.
  • The Sounds has a restricted fire season all year round and any fire must have a permit.
  • Boil, filter, or treat water for drinking. On some tracks you must carry water.
  • In late summer and autumn, carry antihistamine if allergic to wasp stings.

Marlborough Sounds Foreshore Reserve permits

Residents and bach owners adjacent to Sounds Foreshore Reserve may be permitted to construct and maintain access related structures and tracks on the reserve. Get more information.

All drone use must be authorised by DOC

A concession is required to fly a drone on any public conservation land.


Whakatū / Nelson Visitor Centre
Phone:   +64 3 546 9339
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Address:   Millers Acre/Taha o te Awa
79 Trafalgar Street
Nelson 7010
Postal Address:   Private Bag 5
Nelson 7042
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