The glorious beaches and
glistening waters of the Marlborough Sounds are made for boating
Combine this with a warm, sunny climate and you have one of the
best recreation and holiday areas in the country.
Picton is the gateway to the South Island and to the labyrinth of
sinuous waterways, bush clad hills and sheltered bays that make
up the Marlborough Sounds.
Dive shops in Blenheim and Picton can organise trips on
purpose-built dive boats throughout the area, including the
shipwrecked luxury passenger liner, Mikhail Lermontov and a host
of pinnacles and drop-offs in Cook Strait.
This island and nearby Stephens, Rangitoto and Trio islands are
accessed from launching ramps at French Pass and Okiwi Bay. There
is good diving on shallow reefs, which support ample marine life
for sport fishing and crayfish (lobster) gathering.
Good diving can be had at the entrance of the sound and around
the Chetwode and Forsyth islands. Duffers Reef is a
wildlife sanctuary replete with kelp beds that conceal
butterfish, blue moki, tarakihi and blue cod.
Dive charter boats leave from Picton for the last resting place
of the Mikhail Lermontov, one of the worlds largest, most
accessible and most recent shipwrecks. Guiding is essential as
the 1986 wreck is in 30m of water and divers can become
disoriented inside the hull, which lies on its starboard side.
This is an ideal diving locality with many sheltered bays,
exciting underwater scenery and plentiful sea life on
Over the hill from Marlborough are two unique dive sites, which
are worth a visit. Waikoropupu Springs are bubbling freshwater
springs which provide an exhilarating dive in a Garden of Eden of
almost unlimited visibility. Tonga Island Marine Reserve, off the
Abel Tasman coast, has superb reef diving to 15m where crevices
conceal crayfish and conger eels. Dolphins, seals and penguins
play in the open water.