Cruising Queen Charlotte Sound

Queen Charlotte Sound, also known by its Maori name Totaranui, is one of the beautiful arms of the Marlborough Sound at the northern end of New Zealand’s South Island. It is extremely popular with New Zealanders and visitors alike, as a sterling example of the breathtaking landscapes for which the island nation is world-famous. Tall, sharply serrated peaks rise on either side, lushly forested on their lower slopes, reflected in the tranquil waters. The waters attract wildlife including seals, penguins, porpoises, orcas and whales in season. Seabirds are plentiful both on the shores and in the air. Captain Cook named the sound, which was afavorite anchorage during his three exploration voyages. The protected sound is a relief to sailors seeking refuge from the rougher waters of the Cook Strait, and there have been historic shipwrecks near the entrance. At the head of the sound, the charming town of Picton is a favorite holiday resort, while scenic arms such as Tory Channel are revered for their unpopulated isolation.