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A great way to experience the Marlborough Sounds is by sea kayak—and the mostly sheltered waters of Queen Charlotte Sound are perfect for it.
Marlborough Sounds Adventure Company. Marlborough Sounds Adventure Company runs guided and self-guided sea kayak trips, from half-day to three-day tours, in either Queen Charlotte or Kenepuru Sound. The bays are ringed by dense native forest, echoing with the trilling calls of native birds. Reservations are essential. The Waterfront, Picton, 7220. 03/573–6078 or 0800/283–283. www.marlboroughsounds.co.nz. half-day guided trip, NZ$85; three-day guided trip, NZ$545. Kayak rental for self-guided kayaking is available from NZ$60 per person per day.
Wilderness Guides. You can take a one-day guided kayak trip with Wilderness Guides for NZ$125, including a yummy lunch. They also do multiday trips beside the Queen Charlotte Track, and kayak rentals if you want to do it on your own (as long as a minimum of two people are paddling together). And there's a special combo day with a guided kayak trip in the morning followed by an independent hike or mountain bike trail along part of the Queen Charlotte Track in the afternoon. Bookings are recommended. Picton Waterfront, London Quay and Wellington St, Picton, 7220. 03/573–5432 or 0800/266–266. www.wildernessguidesnz.com.
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