According to Wikipedia, "The Marlborough Sounds New Zealand are an extensive network of sea-drowned valleys at the northern end of the South Island of New Zealand. The Marlborough Sounds were created by a combination of land subsidence and rising sea levels. According to Māori mythology, the Sounds are the prows of the sunken wakas of Aoraki."
There are a few resorts to choose from in the Marlborough Sounds New Zealand. At the top of the list are Punga Cove Resort and the Furneaux Lodge resort, both run by the same management. They are quite different, and we will focus here on Punga Cove.
But first, the main difference between the resorts is that Furneaux is flatter, and has a bigger flat lawn if you are looking for a ceremony such as a wedding. Punga Cove has 2 jetties, and a small flat lawn at the water's edge, but then the rest of the resort is built on a hillside, comprising 20 lodges and apartments. The pathway winds its way through the trees, looping left and right as it leads you past the various accommodations.
If you get the Beachcomber boat from Picton, you will be taken first to Ship Cove, where Captain James Cook stayed on 4 separate occasions during his voyages from 1770 to1777. There is a white stone monument, with information boards behind, and a toilet block set back behind some trees. You can start the walking trail called the Queen Charlotte Track here, and the first section is 16km to Furneaux Lodge.
If you stay on the boat, the next stop is Furneaux Lodge itself. You can choose to get off, either to stay at Furneaux Lodge, or to take the next part of the trail to Punga Cove; OR you can stay on board and take the short trip directly over the bay to Punga Cove Resort.
Punga Cove Resort
As you approach Punga Cove, you will make a very short stop at a small jetty that actually belongs to the Campsite Grounds that lie next door. This is a pretty jetty with white posts that is quite photogenic! From here, you can look over to the main jetty at Punga Cove, and the Boat Shed Café and Bar that sits at the start of the jetty.
Punga Cove Resort
When you arrive at Punga Cove, you walk past the Boat Shed Café and Bar, and straight up to the reception office on the right. At this level there is also a toilet block next door, and on your left there is the swimming pool and jacuzzi hot tub, with a view out over the Endeavour Inlet.
Punga Cove Resort
When you look up the hillside, you will see various A-frame lodges and apartments dotted around the hillside. Most apartments are in blocks of 2, with the exception of number 11, which is a larger apartment for 4 people, and number 20 which stands on its own at the very top of the hill. The resort normally reserves this apartment for honeymoon couples!
As you walk up and up, you get different glimpses through the trees of the Endeavour Inlet, and of the jetty and Boat Shed Café and Bar.
Although the resort may appear small, there is plenty to do here! You can take out a kayak, (single or double), hire a stand - up paddle board, explore the Queen Charlotte track either to the East towards Furneaux Lodge, or to the West.
There are several big double hammocks in the grounds, where you can relax with your significant other. At the lower level, on the grass lawn by the water, there is also a ping-pong table.
As mentioned above, there is also a small swimming pool, and a hot tub (jacuzzi).
The Fern Restaurant is near the top of the hill, and requires a bit of a walk, but the views are worth it! And then there is the restaurant itself, offering an up-market menu.
We actually had our wedding at Punga Cove, on the Camp Bay Jetty! It was an awesome location, and here are the photos to prove it! We even jumped off the jetty afterwards!!
We had an amazing time at Punga Cove Resort in the Marlborough Sounds New Zealand, and highly recommend it !
- Story and photos by Richard, husband of Mogsy Ford, Editor, Adventuress Travel Magazine
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