Located in the Marlborough region
Visit Meretoto/Ship Cove, James Cook's favourite New Zealand base during his three voyages of exploration. Key cultural heritage stories are told in a beautiful sheltered cove with a lush coastal forest backdrop.
Access this area by boat or from Queen Charlotte Drive between Picton and Havelock.
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.
According to Māori tradition, the South Island is the canoe of Aoraki. Its sunken prow forms Queen Charlotte Sound/Tōtaranui and Pelorus Sound/Te Hoiere. The sounds provided good shelter and food for Māori. 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 Meretoto/Ship Cove his base in the 1770s and discovered a plant (Cooks scurvy grass) high in vitamin C to cure scurvy. On Motuara Island, he proclaimed British sovereignty over the South Island. Some areas are known for their whaling history.