Accommodations ranging from backpacker bunks ($) to trimmed luxury suites sleeping up to 5 ($$$$) are tucked into the bush at this Queen Charlotte Track crossroads. Several larger, more luxurious studio and one- and two-bedroom chalets have private sunny decks with vistas over the bay—the Kiwi, Weka, and Kingfisher Suites are best; Punga Lodge is a nice "flashpacker" option.You can rent kayaks, dinghies, and mountain bikes on-site, and fishing trips, horse treks, and yacht charter can be arranged. To get the best out of a spot like this plan to stay two nights. Access is quickest by the water taxi, 60 minutes from Picton. Otherwise, a two-hour-plus drive winds along Queen Charlotte Drive to the turnoff at Linkwater and then along the edge of Kenepuru Sound. The last 5 km (3 mi) is steep gravel.
Punga Cove, Endeavour Inlet, Queen Charlotte Sound, Picton, 7250, New Zealand
Mar 7, 2009
Although it's been a few years since I stayed at Punga Cove, the memory of our three nights there is still so fresh in my mind that I feel the need to warn others. I check online reviews of this 'resort' frequently to see if improvements have been made, but it seems they haven't. It's really a shame, as the 'resort' is located in such a beautiful location. Punga Cove was a much anticipated stop on our trip, but it turned out to be a huge
disappointment. Our unit was a cramped A-frame in desperate need of an overhaul. There was a tiny, overly soft, double bed that listed to one side and was so short our feet hung off the end (I’m 5’5 and my husband is 5’9). The unit had a small fridge, a countertop for making tea, toast and coffee, and absolutely no space for luggage. It had a space heater, but it didn’t work well, and we were cold our entire stay. There was no way to read in our room in the evenings due to a lack of lighting and no headboard on the bed. The bathroom was very cold, and there was absolutely no water pressure. I kid you not, it was a mere drizzle. The resort acknowledged that water pressure was a problem during peak periods of the day. However we showered outside these times and even though there were only a handful of other guests, water was virtually non-existent. The hot tub was closed during our stay and it and the swimming pool were both dirty and full of debris as they’d not been drained or covered for the winter. The guest laundry was chock full of dirty linen and impossible for guests to use. The public toilets on the foreshore near reception were filthy. The place seemed extremely disorganized and poorly managed. In all fairness, there were some good points. The resort offers a variety of accommodation. We were in one of six studio chalets. There are also self-catering chalets (not open at the time of our visit), three “luxury chalets” and backpackers accommodation. We took a peek at the multi room luxury units, and they looked much nicer than our unit. Also, the location was wonderful – very secluded and peaceful – directly on the Queen Charlotte Track. Our chalet had a balcony that faced the sounds. The restaurant (Punga Fern) was well cared for, and obviously the focal point of the resort. If the owners could just get their act together, Punga Cove could be a fantastic resort, as it has so much potential. Sadly, they have yet to do so.