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Upper South Island and the West Coast Sights

Queen Charlotte Drive

  • Scenic Drive/Tour

Updated 02/18/2014

Fodor's Review

The main road out of Picton, SH1, heads directly to Blenheim. If you're heading west toward Havelock and Nelson, and don't mind a slower, though much more scenic route, Queen Charlotte Drive is for you. From Picton the drive climbs the hill to the west of the town, then winds in and out of bays along the edge of Queen Charlotte Sound. It then cuts across the base of the peninsula that separates this waterway from Pelorus and Keneperu Sounds, drops onto a small coastal

plain, and follows the water's edge to Havelock township. (From here you join the main, SH6, that winds west, through forested river valleys and hills to reach Tasman Bay and Nelson—allow two hours for this Picton-Nelson drive, despite how it might look on the map.) To find Queen Charlotte Drive from the Cook Strait ferry terminal in Picton, turn right after leaving the parking lot and follow the signs.

Along the way, Governor's, Momorangi, and Ngakuta bays are gorgeous spots for a picnic or a stroll along the forested shore. Cullen Point, at the Havelock end of the drive, is a good vantage point to view the inland end of the Pelorus Sound and across the bay to Havelock. The short walk to the lookout is well worth the effort.

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