The Marlborough Sounds
New Zealand

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."

A view of the Marlborough Sounds New Zealand from the ferry to Punga Cove ResortThe Marlborough Sounds

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.

A big board at the jetty of Furneaux Lodge, the the Marlborough Sounds New ZealandFurneaux Lodge jetty

The Marlborough Sounds
New Zealand

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.

Looking out along a jetty with white posts, out to the Marlborough Sounds New Zealand.The Jetty at the Campsite Grounds
The Boat Shed Bar at Punga Cove Resort, viewed from the waterThe Boat Shed Café and Bar from the water

The Marlborough Sounds
New Zealand

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.

The Boat Shed Bar at the end of the jetty at Punga Cove Resort, the Marlborough Sounds New ZealandThe Boat Shed from viewed from the ferry.
The open air swimming pool at Punga Cove ResortThe open air swimming pool at Punga Cove Resort

The Marlborough Sounds
New Zealand

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!

A view of the hillside accommodation at Punga Cove Resort, the Marlborough Sounds New ZealandThe hillside at Punga Cove Resort

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.

A view of the Boat Shed Bar and Restaurant at Punga Cove Resort from above, the Marlborough Sounds New ZealandThe Boat Shed Café and Bar from halfway up the resort
The Boat Shed Bar and Restaurant at Punga Cove Resort, the Marlborough Sounds New Zealand, viewed through the trees.Boat Shed Café and Bar and Restaurant, on Endeavour Inlet.

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!!

A view of Punga Cove Resort jetty from above, in the sunshine
Richard and Mogsy on the Camp Bay Jetty at Punga Cove Resort
Richard and Mogsy at Punga Cove Resort at sunset
Richard and Mogsy after their wedding on the Queen Charlotte Trail near the Camp Bay Jetty
Richard and Mogsy getting ready to jump off Camp Bay Jetty at Punga Cove in the Marlborough Sounds
Looking down Camp Bay Jetty at Punga Cove, Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand.

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

If you enjoyed this story check out some of Mogsy's other adventures by clicking on the links below:

Mogsy's experiences deep in the Italian countryside at Castiglione dei Pepoli, to take part in a sporting event know as SwimRun!

Mogsy visits the beautiful coastal resort of Byron Bay, and runs up the path to the lighthouse at the most easterly point of Australia.

Editor Mogsy's Mauritius Misadventures as a few things don't go quite according to plan on a Birthday trip to the Indian Ocean!

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