Tigers Den Surrounds – The Marlborough Sounds and Queen Charlotte Track

The Marlborough Sounds are an extensive network of sea-drowned valleys created by a combination of land subsidence and rising sea levels at the north of the South Island of New Zealand.

The 71 kilometres of the Queen Charlotte Track is a hiking and mountain-biking paradise. Surrounding the Queen Charlotte Track you’ll find 1500 kilometres of breathtaking Marlborough Sounds’ coast – one-fifth of New Zealand’s total coastline – a magical place for exploring by sea kayak.

Hiking, trekking, rambling, bushwalking or tramping the Queen Charlotte Track is perfect for it. By day walk from shoreline to ridgeline, exploring the hidden bays and coves of the Marlborough Sounds. By night enjoy our lodge accommodation, Marlborough’s famous wines, and delicious food.

If you’re after a Marlborough Sounds experience, then give us a call now for bookings and details.

There’s always more to discover in Marlborough

No matter what your passion, there is something exciting for you in Marlborough this autumn. In addition to all the adventure activities, offering countless opportunities to get up close and personal with the region’s magnificent wildlife, there are amazing things to see, do and taste across this vibrant and fascinating region.

The rich food sources in the Marlborough Sounds and the shelter they offered against bad weather meant that early Maori and Europeans found this region to be very welcoming for settlement. As a result, Marlborough is also steeped in history – and there’s much to see and experience among the many museums of Marlborough.

Here are a few to whet your appetite for discovery.

In Picton

The Picton Museum on London Quay is open daily from 10am to 4pm and houses a display of around 2000 items of Maori, whaling and maritime heritage. The museum is well worth a visit, enabling you to take a peek into the fascinating history of Picton and the Marlborough Sounds.

The Edwin Fox Maritime Museum at Dunbar Wharf holds the hulk of the Edwin Fox, purportedly the world’s ninth-oldest surviving wooden ship, the world’s second oldest surviving merchant sailing ship and the only surviving ship that transported convicts to Australia. How’s that for credentials?!

Built in India in 1853, the Edwin Fox had a checkered history, including carrying troops to the Crimean War, convicts to Australia and immigrants to New Zealand – and she ended her days as a freezer ship. She arrived in Picton on 12 January 1897 and has been here ever since, and is now preserved under cover as a prominent tourist attraction.

The National Whale Centre on London Quay reflects the fact that whales and whaling have featured prominently in New Zealand’s economic and cultural life over the centuries. In fact, the Marlborough Sounds was the epicentre of New Zealand’s 19th and early 20th century whaling enterprises. The area also has the only substantially refurbished whaling station in the country near Tory Channel.

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At Ship Cove

The history of Europeans in New Zealand, and Marlborough in particular, has a lot to do with the arrival of intrepid discoverer Captain James Cook. Ship Cove, around 90km by road from Picton (there are also many operators who will take you there by boat) is widely regarded as Captain Cook’s favourite base during his wide-ranging voyages around New Zealand in his ship the Endeavour.

The cove was already valued by Maori as a place of shelter close to the open sea, and it provided Cook with a secure anchorage with good wood, water and fishing to provision his vessel and help his crew recuperate after the many months at sea. Captain Cook spent a total of 170 days in Ship Cove, between his first visit in 1770 and his final one in 1777. In fact, Cook spent more time in these waters than in any other place on earth, other than in his home town of Whitby in England.

There is an informative display at the site covering the stories of the Maori and Captain Cook in the area. So, why not pop up to Ship Cove and get a sense for yourself of what it must have been like for earlier arrivals in the Marlborough Sounds?

Near Picton

Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre Just down the road from Tigers Den luxury lodge, at 79 Aerodrome Rd in Blenheim, you’ll find a truly amazing museum – the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre. In fact, The Sydney Morning Herald called it the “Best Museum in the World”.Open daily from 10am to 4pm, the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre is all about man-made things that fly, in particular from the first and second world wars. However, it’s the presentation of this history that is the real clincher, and for good reason.

The displays are visually stunning, thanks in no small part to the fact that Sir Peter Jackson, who is an avid World War I aviation collector, not only lent some of his collection to the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre but he also sent experts from his Weta Workshop and Wingnut Films to create the sets that put these displays in a class of their own. You simply have to see them to believe them!

Reviews of the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre on Tripadvisor include statements such as “Simply Excellent – this is a must see museum… The exhibits are absolutely amazing as to be expected given Sir Peter Jackson and Sir Richard Taylor’s input and support. Highly recommended”, and “Located outside of Blenheim this aviation museum is a must see” and “This was a great museum. The displays are cinematic quality and the memorabilia and films make the museum experience come alive.”The Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre is definitely one for your Must See list during your visit to Marlborough.

Omaka Classic Cars Situated next to the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre on the outskirts of Blenheim, Omaka Classic Cars showcases classic cars from the 1950s to the 1980s, and gives a fascinating glimpse into our motoring history.So, if you’re into large, stylish grilles and lots of chrome, then you’d better add this one to your Must See list too. The collection of around 110 vehicles includes an extensive range, from Austins to Zodiacs, and changes every couple of months. Omaka Classic Cars is open daily from 10am to 4pm.

Marlborough Museum Brayshaw Heritage Park is located just a five minute drive from the centre of Blenheim. Here you’ll find the Marlborough Museum (open daily from 10am to 4pm) with an inspiring collection of items that tell the story of Marlborough, in particular its wine-making history. So it’s a good idea to check it out before you head off to visit the wineries or explore other historic Marlborough sites.

Reviews of the Marlborough Museum on Tripadvisor include statements such as “A museum dedicated to the wine industry – the Marlborough Museum is primarily composed of two sections. The first, which occupies by far the majority of the available space, deals with viticulture, or the local wine industry. This is also its most important feature, as it is probably the only museum in the area to do so, and to relate to the area’s largest industry” and “This is a small museum but the wine making exhibit was very good.”Stepping outside the Museum, there’s also a lot to see and do in Brayshaw Heritage Park itself, including a visit to Beaverton, a replica street scene from the early days of Blenheim.

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Discover a new place to stay while in Marlborough

No matter whether you’re visiting for a few days or longer, Tigers Den luxury lodge is the place to base yourself while you make the most of the many museums of Marlborough – and all the other attractions this spectacular part of the world is famous for.

Tigers Den is a luxury holiday home with million dollar views, a spa pool, barbecue and much more, where up to 10 people can relax and unwind in a comfortable setting close to all the action.

Its location just minutes from all the sights of Picton and many of the region’s tour operators, and a short drive from many other attractions in Marlborough, makes Tigers Den the perfect place to stay.

If you’re looking to discover more in Marlborough, then give us a call now for bookings and details.

Summer boating in the Marlborough Sounds


With the winding waterways of the beautiful Marlborough Sounds making up around one fifth, or 1500km, of New Zealand’s coastline and covering an area of about 4000km2 of spectacular maritime beauty, there’s hardly a place better suited than the Marlborough Sounds for summer boating.

In addition to the three main bodies of water that make up the Marlborough Sounds (Queen Charlotte Sound, Pelorus Sound and Kenepuru Sound – which are really ancient sunken valleys), the area features a myriad of spectacular bays, quaint coves and secluded inlets, numerous peninsulas and island sanctuaries – creating a veritable scenic wonderland for anyone who loves to spend time on the water.

The steep, native bush-clad hills above the sounds are sparsely populated – largely due to the fact that access is difficult. While some locations can be reached by road, the only way to really explore the Marlborough Sounds or access most of the pristine beaches, small settlements and isolated homes and lodges is via the water.

Tailor-made for summertime boating

The largely sheltered waters of the Marlborough Sounds are a paradise for water-borne craft of any kind – from inches-above-the-water kayaks to boats and yachts of all shapes and sizes. With countless quiet bays in which to drop anchor for a day of tranquil relaxing or an overnight rest, the Marlborough Sounds are pretty much tailor made for boating at any time of the year, but especially in summer.

While the main channels of the Marlborough Sounds offer great calm water boating, some of the channels that lie closer to the strong currents and rough waters of the Cook Strait can be more tricky and are best left to experienced boaties.

Bountiful wildlife

The Sounds are also home to more than 50 marine reserves and island sanctuaries, which help to foster rare native species, such as the kiwi and the extremely vulnerable New Zealand king cormorant, plus a wide range of other native bird, marine and wildlife – and the best way to experience them up close and personal is by getting out on the water.

Encounters with history

The abundant food sources found in the Sounds and the shelter that they provide against bad weather has resulted in the Marlborough Sounds having a rich history of early Maori and European settlement.

In particular, the history of the Europeans in the area starts mainly with the arrival of Captain James Cook in the 1770s, when he anchored his ship, the Endeavour, for provisioning and repair at Ship Cove. Captain Cook spent more time in these waters than in any other place on earth, other than in his home town of Whitby in England. It was during his time in the Marlborough Sounds that he discovered Cooks Scurvy Grass, a plant high in vitamin C that helped cure his crew of scurvy.

So, why not cruise into Ship Cove and relive some of Captain Cook’s experiences in the Marlborough Sounds?

Boating bases

Picton, at the head of the Queen Charlotte Sound, is the main port in the Marlborough Sounds, providing, via the interisland ferry service, the road and rail transport link between the North and South islands. Picton and environs is also where most of the regions cruise and activity operators are located, so it’s the best place to tee up a wide range of excursions and activities, including guided and independent boating trips around the Sounds.

Waikawa Bay, just a short distance from Picton, is the Marlborough Sounds’ main small boat port, providing an excellent base for both visiting and local leisure boats.

Great accommodation

Conveniently central to all this, overlooking the stunning vistas of beautiful Waikawa Bay and just 2 minutes from Picton, you’ll find Tigers Den luxury lodge – the perfect location to base yourself while you explore and discover the wonders of the Marlborough Sounds.

A winning holiday destination

There’s no doubt that the Marlborough Sounds are unique. Factor in elements such as the natural beauty, stunning wildlife, historic sights and the fact that this part of New Zealand has the most sunshine hours in the country, and you’ve got yourself a winning holiday destination with enough things to see and do to fill a lifetime.

So, irrespective of whether you opt for a boating day trip or a few nights away on the water, guided or independent, you’re in for a treat down in the Marlborough Sounds.

Where to stay when you’re not out boating on the Marlborough Sounds

No matter whether you’re visiting the Marlborough Sounds for a few days or longer, Tigers Den Luxury Lodge is the perfect place for you to stay. We offer a luxury holiday home with a beautiful view, a spa pool, barbecue and much more, including complimentary use of our two kayaks to explore the local waters.

At Tigers Den luxury lodge, the pace is easy and the atmosphere is comfortable and relaxed. Relax in our comfortable lounge or simply sit back on the deck or in the spa pool and listen to the native birdsong while you watch the ever changing views over the Waikawa Marina and Queen Charlotte Sound.

If you’re after a Marlborough Sounds experience, then give us a call now for bookings and details.

Looking for things to do in the Marlborough Sounds? Hit the road for a great scenic drive!


The Marlborough region of New Zealand is blessed with absolutely fantastic scenery, sights and sounds. One of the best ways to see and experience it all is with a good old-fashioned scenic drive. So we thought we’d put together some tips on popular scenic routes to highlight just some of the things you can do from Picton in the Marlborough Sounds.

Picton is where it’s all at in the Marlborough Sounds

As the destination for the inter-island ferry services, Picton is the gateway to the South Island and the main town in the Marlborough Sounds. There are simply too many things to do in and around Picton to mention here – our blogs about summer in Marlborough and the Marlborough Sounds as a mecca for adventure will provide you with some inspiration.

Suffice it to say, Picton is the perfect base for getting up close and personal with the spectacularly unique Marlborough Sounds. It’s also the ideal base from which to explore the upper region of the South Island, as many of the region’s activity operators are based in and around Picton.

Marlborough Sounds accommodation

For great Marlborough Sounds accommodation, you only have to look two minutes from Picton, where you’ll find Tigers Den luxury lodge perched on a hillside above the ever-changing vistas of Waikawa Bay. Offering exceptional comfort and convenience in a spectacular setting for up to 10 people, Tigers Den is perfectly positioned for accessing all that the Marlborough Sounds and the wider region has to offer.

Queen Charlotte Drive

One of the most popular things to do in Picton is the 40km Queen Charlotte Drive, a scenic drive from Picton to Havelock. The winding road will take you along sleepy bays and through a gorgeous native forest, with plenty of places to stop to enjoy secluded beaches and scenic walks.

Continuing on to French Pass

If you’ve made it as far as Havelock, why not continue a little further along SH6 to the popular swimming and picnic spot at Pelorus Bridge? For a truly spectacular drive, carry on to French Pass village. The road from Rai Valley to French Pass was built in 1957 and many visitors rate it as the country’s most scenic drive. Give yourself at least two hours for this stunning drive.

French Pass village sits opposite D’Urville Island and the turbulent stretch of water known as the French Pass Passage, where the water races through on each tide creating awesome whirlpools and currents.

Picton to Blenheim

Although Blenheim is just a 28km or 30-minute drive south from Picton, you’ll still be treated to some fantastic scenery. Once in Blenheim, you’re in the heart of one of New Zealand’s premier wine growing regions and you’ve got a number of scenic directions from which to choose.

Winery road trips

If you’re driving around the Marlborough region soaking up the scenery, there’s really no better way to top it all off than by visiting some world-class wineries along the way. In fact, there are so many top-notch vineyards in the region that you could put together a number of excursions along a variety of routes to sample the produce of this wine-growing mecca of New Zealand. Putting together your very own ‘DIY wine tour’ is one of the most fun things to do in Marlborough – just be sure you always have your designated sober driver with you!

Blenheim to Kaikoura

One of the best scenic routes out of Blenheim is the 128km drive that takes you to the seaside town of Kaikoura. As you leave Blenheim you travel through the Awatere Valley, dominated by vineyards and stunning views, but soon you’ll have a mountain range on one side and the ocean on the other.

Stunning vistas await you when you visit Kaikoura, which is a popular tourist destination in its own right. Famous for its whale watching, seals, and other coastal wildlife, it’s also a great place to sample exquisitely fresh seafood.

Blenheim To St Arnaud

Heading west from Blenheim, SH63 will take you 103km through the Wairau Valley and across Top House saddle to the quaint village of St Arnaud, the gateway to the Nelson Lakes National Park.

If you’re looking for a great place to use as a base from which to explore the Nelson Lakes region, then you’ll definitely want to head down to St Arnaud. Nelson Lakes National Park is also home to the Blue Lake, a blue-violet gem in the crown of New Zealand’s natural treasures and title holder to “the world’s clearest lake” – you can find out more on our blog about the Blue Lake.

Where to stay on your trip?

Tigers Den Luxury Lodge is the perfect place for you to stay, whether you are coming to Marlborough Sounds for a long trip or just for a few days.

At Tigers Den luxury lodge, the pace is easy and the atmosphere is comfortable and relaxed. You can relax in front of the fire in our comfortable lounge, or enjoy complimentary use of our two kayaks to explore the local waters or simply sit back on the deck or in the spa pool and listen to the native birdsong while you watch the ever changing views over the Waikawa Marina and Queen Charlotte Sound.

Give us a call now for booking and details. We offer a luxury holiday home with a beautiful view, a spa pool, barbecue and much more!

Click Here Book Now!

Summer is here – the perfect time to visit Marlborough Sounds

Owing to the fact that much of New Zealand’s Marlborough region is sheltered by high country to the west and south and in parts to the east, it’s the country’s sunniest region. Throughout summer, the weather is predominantly warm, dry and settled. Typically, day temperatures will range from 20°C to 26°C, occasionally rising above 30°C.

All this makes Marlborough the perfect place to head to in summer to experience the great outdoors. And there really is a huge range of activities to fill your days there. From the mesmerizing Marlborough Sounds to the award-winning wineries of the region – and the hiking and biking trails, spectacular flora and fauna, historic sites, pleasant towns, great food, awesome scenery and a whole lot more in between – there is something for everyone in Marlborough.

Here’s a short list of Marlborough ‘must dos’ to inspire your plans for a visit to Marlborough this summer.

Get on your bike

From mountain biking all or part of the 70km Queen Charlotte Track, with opportunities to stay in a wide range of accommodations along the way, to biking a variety of other tracks throughout the region, there are cycling options for every level of skill. You can opt for a slower, less strenuous cycle, and go exploring the vineyards on your bike, making your own way or joining a guided tour of cellar doors. Or you can grab a road bike and hit the winding Queen Charlotte Drive, with native bush on one side of the road and the sparkling Marlborough Sounds on the other.

Take to the water

Summer is the perfect season for doing anything on the water in the Marlborough Sounds – and there are plenty of options, from sailing, kayaking, paddle boarding, fishing, diving and snorkelling to plain old splashing around in the water.

There’s no better way to get up close and personal with the Marlborough Sounds than to rent a kayak and paddle your own way or join a guided tour from bay to bay – for more kayaking inspiration, read our kayaking blog. Why not head out to one of the myriads of coves with a packed lunch and have a picnic on a secluded beach? Or head inland and do exactly the same along the banks of one of the many rivers and streams – you can even kayak down the Wairau and Pelorus rivers – where you’ll be entertained by the amazing local birdlife.

Or how about going swimming with dolphins? There are a number of companies that operate tours to see and even swim with dolphins. The Marlborough Sounds is a favourite spot for a number of dolphin species. You could also take a tour boat to one of the mussel, oyster or salmon farms dotted around the Marlborough Sounds and find out how this wonderful seafood is grown.

There’s also heaps on offer for the fishing enthusiast – with both salt and fresh water fishing options. For more fishing inspiration, read our blog about why you haven’t fished until you’ve fished in the Marlborough Sounds. Whether it’s spin or fly fishing that takes your fancy, the rivers of Marlborough are also a great place to have a go at hooking a tasty trout.

Go exploring

Visit some of the predator-free islands in the Marlborough Sounds, such as Motuara Island in the Queen Charlotte Sound, where kiwi and a multitude of other bird and wildlife range free and safe. You may even be lucky enough to get a glimpse of the king shag, the second rarest bird in the world.

Take a step back in time to discover the history of this remarkable part of New Zealand. In Picton, visit the National Whale Centre or explore a historic ship at the Edwin Fox Maritime Museum. If you time it right, you can enjoy all things maritime at the Picton Maritime Festival on 21 January.

Why not take a tour to Ship Cove in the Queen Charlotte Sound, where Captain James Cook spent so much time. Further afield, there’s the historic gold mining township of Canvastown where you can learn more about Marlborough’s history of gold mining.

Taste the bounty of Marlborough

If you have a passion for matching great food with premium wines or craft beers, then Marlborough is the place to take your taste buds on holiday.

The region is bursting with delicious fruits in the summer. You could stop at one of the many roadside stalls to experience a taste of Marlborough or find a location that lets you pick your own. And don’t forget the delectably fresh Marlborough oysters and mussels – there’s nothing nicer than eating them straight from the shell.

At the height of summer, there’s also the renowned Marlborough Wine and Food Festival on 11 February, which no-one who is serious about food would think of missing.

Sample the wines of Marlborough

You can’t really say you’ve experienced Marlborough until you’ve sampled its world famous wines. Visit well-known cellar doors and small boutique wineries in the Wairau, Waihopai, Awatere and Omaka valleys, where you can have lunch or dinner in one of the winery restaurants, while you indulge in the wines of Marlborough amid the very vines that grew them.

Walk just about everywhere

Marlborough is made for walking – there are walking and hiking trails everywhere. If you have more time to spare, you could easily spend three to five days walking the world-famous Queen Charlotte Track. Or you can just do parts of it – the choice is yours. You can carry your own pack or have it transferred for you each day. There are a number of other tracks through the region, including a number in the nearby Nelson Lakes National Park, where you could even encounter the world-famous Blue Lake. Hiking and camping go hand in hand, and if you’re a camping enthusiast, then Marlborough will not disappoint, with plenty of spectacular camping sites.

Relax in luxurious comfort

On the other hand, if you just want to sit back and chill then Tigers Den luxury lodge is the place to do so. Perched on a hillside above beautiful Waikawa Bay overlooking an ever-changing vista, Tigers Den offers exceptional comfort and convenience in a spectacular setting. Tigers Den is only two minutes from Picton, making it conveniently located for accessing all that the Marlborough Sounds and the wider region has to offer.

So, will you come plunge into Marlborough this summer?

Discover the taste of Marlborough Sounds Wine and Food

Located at the top of the South Island, the sunny Marlborough region is a veritable cornucopia of the best that New Zealand has to offer. The Marlborough region is a place where you can indulge your passions, challenge your senses and try new things.

In addition to the Marlborough Sounds’ undisputed status as an adventurer’s paradise, the Marlborough region is also a food and wine wonderland. In fact, relaxing in the sun with a glass of wine, paired with delicious, freshly prepared food is what Marlborough is all about.

Marlborough Sounds Wine

Marlborough sounds

Trail Marlborough is New Zealand’s largest and foremost wine growing region and the Marlborough Wine Trail is a must do. With more than 150 wineries producing around three-quarters of the country’s total wine output it’s easy to see why.

While the Marlborough wine industry is geared mainly towards the production of sauvignon blanc wines, with more than 90% of the country’s sauvignon blanc plantings, the stunning climate also provides the perfect environment for superb pinot noirs, rieslings, chardonnays and pinot gris.

There are a wide range of guided tour options to the many cellar doors, ranging from internationally recognised wine brands to small boutique family producers, where a range of experiences awaits you, from barrel tastings to wine master classes.

Or you can simply grab a copy of the Marlborough Wine Trail Guide and make your own wine tour by car, explore both off-the-beaten-track and iconic cellar doors. The flat Wairau and Awatere valleys are home to scores of vineyards, making this part of Marlborough ideal for a bit of ‘gourmet cycling’.

Food, glorious food

gourmetmarlborough2With great wine comes great food. The region abounds in a pleasing selection of restaurants and cafes, artisan food stores and wineries with their own award-winning restaurants, where you can enjoy sublime wines and amazing cuisine amid the vines.

Marlborough is renowned for its abundant produce, such as cherries, strawberries, apricots and other stone fruit, olives, herbs and vegetables. It’s a common sight to see people stopped at a roadside stall to buy fresh seasonal produce or picking their own fruit in one of the many orchards.

The Marlborough Sounds provides a dazzling array of succulent seafood. Local menus feature the freshest king salmon, scallops, crayfish, mussels, oysters, clams, blue cod and snapper. In the Marlborough Sounds gateway towns of Picton and Havelock, you can embark on a seafood cruise for the ultimate in seafood experiences. You’ll visit the local salmon and mussel farms, and get to eat the most deliciously fresh seafood matched with the region’s wines and other produce right there on the water.

In the heart of the Marlborough Wine Trail, you’ll find Makana Confections, a boutique chocolate factory where you can watch confectionery masters at work and, even more importantly, taste their exquisite confectionary creations.

Marlborough is also home to boutique breweries, where delicious craft beers are created to complement the region’s gourmet cuisine. In Marlborough, there really is something to satisfy every palate.

Marlborough Sounds Wine and Food Festival

Wine Festival

Fittingly, this amazing region is host to the annual Marlborough Sounds Wine and Food Festival, New Zealand’s original and longest running wine festival. Festival goers get to sample world-class wines and delicious local cuisine in the heart of one of Marlborough’s oldest and most picturesque vineyards, Brancott Vineyard. In 2017, the Marlborough Wine and Food Festival will be held on Saturday, 11 February.

Will you be there?

Why not make a plan to join us soon in Marlborough, so you too can indulge your senses and taste buds with this region’s spectacular food and wine.

At the end of each day of treating yourself to the best that Marlborough has to offer, there’s nothing nicer than coming home to Tigers Den luxury lodge.

Overlooking the spectacular Waikawa Bay in the Queen Charlotte Sound, Tigers Den luxury lodge is the place to experience true bliss as you sit back and reflect off your day of Marlborough discovery.

Book your luxury accommodation at Tigers Den Luxury Lodge today.

Visit our website to find out more: http://www.tigersden.co.nz/

The Marlborough Sounds – your mecca for adventure

Marlborough sounds adventuresAs an adventure and leisure wonderland, New Zealand’s Marlborough region is a unique environment and one of the country’s best for outdoor adventure, offering something spectacular for every taste and pace.

With one of New Zealand’s sunniest climates, the region enjoys generally year-round settled weather, with hot, relatively dry summers and crisp winters. Add to this, the region’s natural beauty and abundant wildlife and you’ve got a winning formula for visitors and residents alike.

Lying at the heart of the region are the stunning Marlborough Sounds – an intricate maze of waterways, bays, and coves that make up the three Sounds of Queen Charlotte, Kenepuru, and Pelorus. These stunning Sounds are popular throughout the year with sailors, hikers, mountain bikers, eco-tourists and everyone’s keen on having their adventure of a lifetime.

Marlborough Sounds adventure activities range from swimming with dolphins, scenic boat cruising, fishing, kayaking, visiting protected island environments and walks along the rugged coastline to bush tramps, cycling and discovering the history of this remarkable region. If you thought that was plenty enough, think again, because there’s also the region’s world-renowned wine and gourmet food industry – for a taste adventure that attracts both locals and visitors from around the globe.

Picton – your base for adventure

The largest town in the Marlborough Sounds is Picton, lying on Queen Charlotte Sound. Picton is known as the gateway to the South Island because this is where the large passenger and vehicle ferries arrive from Wellington.

Picton is a fascinating little town with lots to see and do. Many of the region’s activity operators are based in and around Picton, so it’s a great centre from which to discover the rest of Marlborough. Accommodation options are also plentiful – just two minutes from Picton, overlooking spectacular Waikawa Bay, you’ll find Tigers Den luxury lodge. Offering luxury accommodation for up to 10 people, Tigers Den provides guests with magnificent and ever-changing views over the waters of the Marlborough Sounds.

A short drive from Picton lies the larger town of Blenheim, surrounded by one of New Zealand’s premier wine regions. Blenheim is the centre for the annual Wine Marlborough festival, which is held on the second Saturday in February, to show-case the region’s produce.

Adventures galore

Within easy striking distance of Picton is Kaikoura, famous for whale watching trips, and the Nelson Lakes National Park, where all sorts of tramping adventures await on the hiking trails among the craggy peaks, native forests , and glacial lakes and rivers. Nelson Lakes National Park is also home to the Blue Lake, a blue-violet gem in the crown of New Zealand’s natural treasures and holder of the title of “world’s clearest lake”. Read more about the Blue Lake in our blog about a Wonderful Gem of Nature.

Hiking and biking adventures

There are numerous walking tracks in the area, ranging from short trails of an hour or two to overnight hikes through native forests and along beautiful sandy beaches.

The star attraction of the region’s hiking line-up is the 70km Queen Charlotte Track, stretching between Queen Charlotte and Kenepuru Sounds. An adventure paradise for both hikers and mountain-bikers, the Queen Charlotte Track is widely rated as the finest and most diverse walking track in New Zealand and one of the country’s best riding tracks.

Along the track, you’ll find a beautiful native forest, secluded bays, superb views, lush coastal bush, and areas steeped in both Maori and European history.

The walking and biking options on the Queen Charlotte Track are many and varied. Most people tackle the track over four days, although you can do any combination of one to five days. A fair level of fitness is recommended for this track – if you’re walking, proper hiking boots are advised, although running shoes or walking sandals should be fine in the summer.

Island adventures

There are many island reserves to discover and explore, including, for example, Motuara Island, which is a Department of Conservation-managed, predator-free island reserve full of rare local birds. You can get to Motuara by water taxi or with tour operators working out of Picton.

On the water

The fact the Marlborough Sounds encompasses 1500km or twenty percent of New Zealand’s total coastline means this is the perfect place for water-based adventures. The myriad of bays, coves, and inlets of the Marlborough Sounds are perfect for exploring by water.

On and under the waters of the Marlborough Sounds, you’ll encounter penguins, sea birds of many varieties, marine mammals like dolphins, orcas, whales and a variety of seals, and a wide range of fish. There’s nothing quite like a swim with the dolphins to get the adrenalin pumping.

Kayaking adventures

The sheer magnitude of the wildlife is the testimony to the magnificence of this environment – and there are few better ways to
get up close and personal with the ‘locals’ than by sea kayak. It’s also the best way to discover the coastline as you meander from a deserted inlet one day to a secluded cove the next, camping each night on your own private beach.

Irrespective of whether you’re looking for a self-guided freedom adventure or a guided experience, you’ll find what you’re looking for with one of the many kayak operators in the area. Read our blog about Marlborough Sounds kayaking to see why the Marlborough Sounds offer some of the best sea kayaking adventures in New Zealand.


Diving adventures

The very nature of the geological formation of the Marlborough Sounds means that the region also offers spectacular snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities in stunning locations amid waters teeming with fascinating sea life. There are also a number of interesting wrecks to dive, including probably the most famous – the 20,000 ton Russian cruise ship Mikhail Lermontov. Read more about the adventures that await you under the waters of this spectacular region in our blog about Marlborough Sounds diving.


Fishing adventures

The Marlborough Sounds is also a dream destination for anyone keen on fishing. There’s something for anglers of all levels of skill and experience in these sparkling waters. There are heaps of fishing tour and charter operators in Marlborough offering every type of vessel, from launches, yachts and powerboats to sea kayaks, for charter or hire. Once again, Picton is a great jumping-off point for fishing activities in the Marlborough Sounds, as so many of the region’s activities operators are accessible from here.

You can read more about the magnificent fishing adventures awaiting you in the Marlborough Sounds in our blog about why you haven’t fished until you’ve fished here.

The Marlborough Sounds is one of the world’s premier adventure destinations – come try it on for size yourself. For accommodation, you can’t go wrong with Tigers Den luxury lodge, located right in the heart of where all the action is to be found. There are even two kayaks available for our guests to get a head start exploring the local waters.

How to find top luxury accommodations in the Marlborough Sounds


Luxury Accommodations Marlborough SoundsIf you are looking to escape your usual daily grind with some quality your time in luxury accommodations in a different environment, then you need to look no further than Tigers Den luxury lodge. Situated above the calm, clear waters of Waikawa Bay, Tigers Den luxury lodge overlooks some of the most picturesque scenery in New Zealand’s Marlborough Sounds region.

Why is this something special?

The answer is simple – the Marlborough Sounds, comprising the Queen Charlotte, Kenepuru and Pelorus Sounds, are a natural wonder unparalleled in New Zealand.luxury accommodation Marlborough

Owing to the fact that much of the Marlborough region is sheltered by high country to the west and south, it’s New Zealand’s sunniest region, averaging 2,400 hours of sunshine each year, with less than 80 wet days on average per year. The summers are usually warm and dry with settled weather and although winter days often dawn a bit frosty, they are usually mild overall.

In other words, the Marlborough Sounds is the perfect spot for finding luxury accommodations to which to escape from the stresses and strains of day-to-day existence.

Luxury accommodations amidst amazing attractions

As an exciting vacation destination, the Marlborough Sounds offers the visitor an amazing range of attractions and activities – and Tigers den luxury lodge in the heart of the Sounds is the perfect place to access everything the region has to offer.

best Luxury Accommodation The fact that the Sounds comprise one-fifth of New Zealand’s entire coastline means it’s the perfect destination for anyone who loves being near to, in or on the water. Irrespective of whether it be swimming with the dolphins, boating, fishing or watching whales, there is something to interest everyone in the Marlborough Sounds.

Other attractions include walks through the bush and along the breathtaking coastline, including discovering the wonders of the Queen Charlotte Track; touring Marlborough’s world-class wineries, and sampling their fine wines; or simply packing a gourmet picnic lunch and a bottle of champagne and heading to a secluded beach.

Luxury accommodations in Picton

Located at the head of the Queen Charlotte Sound you’ll find picturesque Picton, the largest town in the Marlborough Sounds. It’s also the arrival and departure point for the daily inter-island ferry service between the North and South Island.

Your luxury accommodations at Tigers Den is just 2 km from Picton, placing it within easy walking distance of this historic town’s waterfront cafes and restaurants. Many of the region’s tour operators are also based in Picton, which means it’s easy to access everything on offer in this remarkable environment from your luxury accommodations at Tigers Den.

Luxury accommodations equals relaxing in styleTigers den Luxury Accommodations

At Tigers Den luxury lodge, the pace is easy and the atmosphere is comfortable and relaxed. You can relax in front of the fire in our comfortable lounge, or enjoy complimentary use of our two kayaks to explore the local waters, or simply sit back on
the deck or in the spa pool and listen to the native birdsong while you watch the ever changing views over the Waikawa Marina and Queen Charlotte Sound.

The fact that Tigers Den offers luxury accommodation amidst stunning scenery above the magnificent waterways of the Marlborough Sounds means it’s also a perfect place for honeymooners and couples who want to renew their vows in a special place.

Isn’t it time you indulged yourself with a visit to the magnificent Marlborough region? When you do, your luxury accommodation at Tigers Den will be waiting for you with all its stunning scenery, peace, tranquility, and superb comfort. Give us a call now for booking and details. We offer a luxury holiday home with a beautiful view, a spa pool, barbecue and much more!

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Marlborough Sounds Kayaking – The Best New Zealand Has To Offer

Marlborough Sea KayakNew Zealand is one of the top holiday destinations in the world. Every inch of New Zealand is drenched in beauty. There are countless holiday activities and spots here.

The Marlborough Sounds is one of New Zealand’s most spectacular environments for adventure. It offers an adventure to all its visitors. And the best part; you can do it all and enjoy the nature at the same time.

With more than 1,500 km of coastline to explore, Marlborough Sounds makes the one-fifth of the entire country’s coastline. The intricate waterways of the Sounds made up of a multitude of bays, coves, and inlets, are a magical place. Sea kayaking with your friends or family is of the best ways to explore this water wonderland.

A playground for kayaks

Marlborough Sound Kayaking is a calming and peaceful experience. The coastline is made up of three main bodies of water – the Queen Charlotte Sound, Kenepuru, and Pelorus Sounds. While each has unique characteristics, they are all wonderful kayaking destinations. Here you can call any corner your own, away from the crowd.

Best sea kayaking experience

Marlborough Sounds offers some of the best sea kayaking experiences in New Zealand. In fact, Marlborough Sounds kayaking is quite different even from kayaking in any other part of the world.

What makes Marlborough Sounds kayaking so special you ask?

  • The climate for a start. Here at the top of the South Island, visitors can enjoy a generally settled year-round climate. You will get with many more paddling days available than in most of the country’s other sea kayaking destinations.
  • With such an extensive network of expansive waterways, you can really escape the crowds and get away from it all. Even in summer, you can usually find a corner in this paradise to explore without masses of others.
  • There is also the amazing range of accommodations available along the water’s edge. From Department of Conservation, campsites spread conveniently a day’s paddle apart, to popular lodges and five-star accommodation, like Tigers Den luxury lodge. So if you feel like stopping for lunch in a fine restaurant or a cappuccino at some stage during your paddle, it’s all possible on a Marlborough Sounds kayaking excursion.

Dazzling sceneryMarlborough sounds

Ranging from the brightest turquoise to the deepest green,
the crystal clear waters of the Marlborough Sounds can provide a dazzling display of colors in a thousand shades.

The beautiful backdrop of native bush covered hills and mountains can be best seen by paddling through the countless bays and coves to pristine. The hidden beaches and isolated campsites are also best accessible from the water.

Prolific wildlife

There are some wildlife reserves dotted throughout the waterways of the Marlborough Sounds, which are accessible from the water. So you can paddle your kayak up to one of them and go explore the protected worlds they contain.

A Marlborough Sounds kayaking trip will get you up close and personal with a prolific array of bird and marine life. The wildlife is a testimony to this magnificent environment. The seals, dolphins and whales can be seen in any time of the year. Here you will also see exotic seabird species including Blue Penguins, Petrels, Shags, Gannets, and Terns.

Explore as long as you like

Hire a sea kayak with family or friends and go exploring through the bays, coves, and inlets of this water wonderland.
There’s an almost endless range of options, from as little as an hour to multi-day kayaking expeditions.

There are a large number of operators in the Marlborough Sounds that offers guided kayaking trips that are tailored especially for those who want active and safe nature-based adventure.

Although kayaking requires a bit of balance and co-ordination, the experience is not necessary as all the operators provide the necessary pre-departure briefing and instruction. This includes safety briefings as well as itinerary planning, weather, and techniques for paddling, capsizing, and re-entry.

If you have more time and want a more independent adventure in the Sounds, then an independent rental is the way to go. However, while the operators will do all the planning for you and set you up with everything you need, most will not rent kayaks to solo paddlers for safety reasons. So you’ll need at least one paddling buddy to be able to go the independent rental route. Whatever your preference, however, the Marlborough Sounds has a memorable kayaking option in store for you.

Great memories

Marlborough Sea KayakSo come grab a kayak, and embark on your own mission of discovery to find out for yourself why the Marlborough Sounds is one of the world’s premier destinations. It’s all here just waiting to be explored – and there’s no better way to do so than by sea kayak.

A Marlborough Sounds kayaking trip is without doubt one of the best ways to make your visit to this part of New Zealand a truly memorable one. If you decide to come to Marlborough Sounds for Sea Kayaking, why not book accommodation with Tigers Den Luxury Lodge.

Tigers Den offers luxury accommodation and is a great place to relax after a long day of kayaking. Contact Keith and Vanessa to book your Picton accommodation at Tigers Den today.

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The Blue Lake – A Wonderful Gem of Nature

blue lake nelsonJust two hours’ drive from Tigers Den luxury lodge near Picton, there is a small alpine village of St Arnaud and the gateway to Nelson Lakes National Park. The Park, which lies in the northernmost ranges of New Zealand’s Southern Alps, was established in 1956 and covers around 1020km.

The Park is home to impressive 2000m craggy peaks, native beech forests, and glacial lakes and rivers. The remote mountain trails will challenge experienced hikers, but the lower reaches offer accessible hiking trails, fishing, and overnight camping.

Nelson Lakes National Park is also home to the Blue Lake, a blue-violet hue gem in the crown of New Zealand’s natural treasures and title holder to “the world’s clearest lake”.

Lake of peaceful lands

Blue Lake is known to the local Māori tribe Ngati Apa as Rotomairewhenua, meaning “the lake of peaceful lands”.
For centuries, Ngati Apa knew their Blue Lake was something very special and it was traditionally used to cleanse the bones of their dead men. Their women’s bones were cleansed in the higher-lying Lake Constance, which feeds the Blue Lake via an underground river.

This ancient ceremony of cleansing the bones of their dead in these waters was believed to release the spirits of the dead and start them on their journey to the afterlife. The bones themselves were then buried in the Sabine Valley.

The lake is therefore regarded as sacred and visitors are not allowed to bathe, wash their clothing or dishes in the water.

Clearest fresh water in the world

In 2011, researchers from New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) did tests that showed the Blue Lake to be the clearest natural body of fresh water known on earth.

While only around 7m deep the horizontal clarity of the Blue Lake’s water can exceed 80m. NIWA testing revealed that the water in this relatively small lake consistently has a horizontal visibility above 70m, with the highest reading at 81.4m. This makes the water of the Blue Lake to be almost as “optically clear” as distilled water. The lake’s characteristic blue-violet hues are something seen only in the very clearest natural waters.

Astonishing clarity

The Blue Lake is located 1,200m above sea level and receives its water from the higher-lying Lake Constance via an underground river that emerges from springs about 35m above the Blue Lake.

The spring-fed source of the water and its high altitude ensures that the Blue Lake is always cold, ranging between 5° and 8°C.

Lake Constance, however, is not nearly as clear as the Blue Lake as ‘glacial flour’ from the surrounding mountains makes the water in Lake Constance to appear cloudy.

Therefore, the water, on its underground journey between the Lake Constance and the Blue Lake, is believed to undergo a natural filtration process as it passes through glacial gravel from the last ice age about 12,000 years ago, and landslide debris, which acts as a sieve for particles and organic matter.

The Blue Lake also has its own ‘protection mechanism’, because every few days it completely flushes itself, thereby ensuring that any nutrients or contamination are washed away. On rare occasions, after very heavy rains wash particles into it, the Blue Lake can become temporarily murky, but after a few days, its astonishing clarity is restored.

A gem hard to find

Appropriately for a ‘national treasure’, it’s hard to get to the Blue Lake, requiring an 86km round-trip hike via the Travers-Sabine Circuit track that will take a minimum of four days of hard walking, including a bit of a climb.
In all fairness, however, you should allow another day or two to really be able to enjoy the magnificent scenery and the unbelievable serenity of the place. Local wildlife includes populations of kiwi, other native birds, and lizards.

The track is best travelled in late spring, summer and autumn. The Department of Conservation maintains a number of accommodation huts along the track.

Although the Blue Lake is a two-day hike from the Park boundary it can be observed from above by scenic flights operated by helicopter out of the nearby town of Nelson.

2 Hours from one natural treasure to another

Picton, in the heart of the spectacular Marlborough Sounds, is just a two-hour drive from St Arnaud at the end of your hike through the Nelson Lakes National Park. Here, nestled on the hillside overlooking spectacular Waikawa Bay, you’ll find Tigers Den luxury lodge.

Tigers Den offers luxury accommodation for up to 10 people and is a great place to relax and reflect on your visit to the amazing Blue Lake. After a long hike, it also just a welcoming 2 minutes from all the waterfront cafes and restaurants of Picton, as well as many of the region’s activity operators.