The Marlborough Sound region is well known for having the most hours of sunshine (greater than 2’400 hours per year) in the whole of New Zealand. This gives the region the mild and pleasant climate that plays such a large part in contributing to the relaxed and happy atmosphere in which its inhabitants live. The region is very fertile and with it’s over 50 vineyards Marlborough has become New Zealand’s largest wine producer.
The romantic islands, and small bays of the sounds with wild, steeply wooded hills overlooking the deep blue water where, if you are lucky, you can see dolphins and whales, are situated on the northern tip of the south Island of New Zealand. For many the first view of this area is the 3-4 hour ferry crossing from Wellington to Picton.
The most famous bay is the Queen Charlotte Sound and it is here on the Queen Charlotte Drive that you will find the Kiwiss B&B. The Queen Charlotte Drive is one of the most beautiful coastal roads in the world which connects Picton with Havelock.
Picton once a whaling station is now the home of the one of most important ports in New Zealand. Here the Interislander and the Bluebridge Cook Strait ferries connect the North Island and South Island. The third largest town in the region is Havelock with its 500 inhabitants. In days gone by it was the home base for the lumberjacks and gold miners, now it boasts a thriving yacht centre and, famous for its green-lipped mussels, has developed into the hub of the New Zealand mussel industry. Both Picton and Havelock function today as tourist-centres and serve as a starting point for the many tourist activities in the region.
The Maori mythology has a rather beautiful explanation for the origins of the Marlborough sound. It describes how ‘Kupe’, the legendary Polynesian discoverer, once had to battle against ‘Te Wheke’ a giant Octopus. During the struggle, which Kupe eventually won, he stretched out his finger towards the South Island and his fingers left behind the deep folds in the earth which have now become the Marlborough Sounds.