A spectacular voyage through pristine waterways

Marlborough Sounds

Stunning Marlborough sounds

Cruise the stunning Marlborough Sounds with its hidden bays and coves, and varied walking tracks.

Join us onboard the purpose-built vessel, Affinity, exploring one of New Zealand’s most fascinating cruising locations. Affinity is a spacious vessel, both inside and out, with a comfortable lounge for dining and relaxing, and a large viewing deck.

The Marlborough Sounds encompass 1,500 km of coastline, bays, beaches and native forest. It is a place of incredible natural beauty, a place that needs to be seen to be believed. The area is abundant with wildlife, from penguins and rare King Shags to dolphins and fur seals, and offers some of the world's best boating, diving, fishing and hiking.

With a maximum capacity of fourteen, this is one of our fastest selling tours in one of New Zealand's most sought after destinations.

Is this tour for me?
Reserve your spot

There is limited availability for this tour.
Please contact us to find out more.

From
 
$3,295
 
per person
$1,000
 
initial deposit
From
 
$3,295
 
per person
$1,000
 
initial deposit
Request more info

*Custom departure points available for all tours

What’s included?
6 nights
All activities stated in itinerary
All transport during tour
Expert local guide
Delicious meals provided (exclusions apply)
Moderate fitness level

Tour highlights

Itinerary

Day 1

Whanganui / Home - Picton

Whanganui / Home - Picton (December 1st)

If departing from Whanganui meet at the Whanganui Racecourse for a 8am departure, and travel south to Levin for some home baked morning tea. From here it's straight into the Interislander Ferry terminal in plenty of time to board our 1pm sailing over to Picton.

Departing from another destination

For those departing from another destination you will fly into Wellington and be transferred to the Interislander Ferry Terminal to meet up with the group.  All tickets and details will be provided in your personal information pack, sent  prior to travel.

Picton

When we arrive, we collect our luggage and make our way to our ship Affinity, which is located at the wharf located next to the ferry terminal.


Once all passengers are onboard and we've had a briefing by the Captain then depart Picton and cruise leisurely through the waterways whilst indulging in some sunset nibbles. We will then anchor in a sheltered bay in the Marlborough sounds overnight and be served our first dinner of the cruise before resting our heads.

Accommodation: onboard the vessel, Affinity

Day 2

Marlborough Sounds Cruising

Marlborough Sounds (December 2nd)

After breakfast, you have the option to walk the last section of the Queen Charlotte Track from Mistletoe Bay to Anakiwa. This can be a challenging walk for some as the first 20 minutes is uphill then it is about 12km on an undulating track into Anakiwa. It is a very scenic walk through the stunning native beach forest but can be slippery if wet. If you prefer a more relaxed walk this morning you can stay on the boat and cruise around to Anakiwa then walk from there back on the track to some beautiful little bays, or simply relaxed amongst this peaceful setting.

Once back on board you have time for a hot shower before enjoying some lunch. We then cruise in and out of the beautiful bays and coves, also visiting a salmon farm which is a popular aquaculture industry for Marlborough. The process of salmon farming in the sounds will be explained then you have some time to relax, read a book, play some board games, or even go for a swim before dinner. We will anchor in a scenic sheltered bay for the night.


Accommodation: onboard the vessel, Affinity

Day 3

Marlborough Sounds Cruising

Marlborough Sounds (December 3rd)

After a restful sleep and refreshing breakfast, we will visit Ship Cove and Motuara Island, which is a fantastic Bird Sanctuary Island where Robins, Tuis, Kiwis, Kakariki and Bellbirds live. Hear the birdsong and look out for the rare South Island Saddleback as you walk on this wonderful island.  A true gem in the Marlborough Sounds.

We will also go ashore at Ship Cove, where English explorer Captain James Cook made his home in the early 1770’s.  Here you will find information panels explaining early Maori occupation and a monument to honor Captain Cook, with an optional short walk to a waterfall. 

We then head off to the Pelorus Sound, cruising around Cape Jackson.  On our way around our captain will talk about the Russian Cruise Liner ‘Mikhail Lermontov’ which now lies at the bottom of the sea.  The luxury cruise ship sunk in 1986 and is now a popular diving site.

On arrival into the Pelorus Sound, you will also visit a King Shag colony.  This rare bird is only found in the Marlborough Sounds and considered a prized bird amongst birdwatchers. After a fun filled day of wonderful activities and great food, we then anchor in a sheltered bay in the outer Pelorus for the night.

Accommodation: onboard the vessel, Affinity

Day 4

Marlborough Sounds Cruising

Marlborough Sounds (December 4th)

After breakfast, we cruise further out and fish for the sounds favorite catch ‘Blue Cod’ and yes, these will feature on the menu – there is nothing better than fresh seafood and it does not get any fresher than this. 


We will then cruise towards French Pass and d’Urville Island. At French Pass, we pull up alongside the wharf where you are given the opportunity to take a walk up the road to look out over the pass and the turbulent waters (about 1 hour ashore). There are also interesting information panels that explain Admiral d’Urville’s first transit through the Pass. On returning to Affinity, we cruise through the pass and back out again. You will enjoy this safe, picturesque and interesting passage.

We will then cruise into Catherine Cove, d’Urville Island, where you will have the opportunity to walk around the resort lawn and /or take the short walk up to the beautiful waterfall located in native bush. If you rather sit back and take it easy you can relax on the café deck and enjoy a drink soaking in the amazing views. We will then have dinner at the Wilderness Resort Café on d'Urville Island and then anchor in the cove for the night.


Accommodation: onboard the vessel, Affinity

Day 5

Marlborough Sounds Cruising

Marlborough Sounds (December 5th)

After breakfast, we visit a local mussel farm (the other large aquaculture industry for Marlborough). The marine farming process will be explained, and you will be shown the product growing on the lines. 

Affinity then cruises back into the Pelorus, to Tennyson Inlet en route to Elaine Bay where there is an optional walk to Penzance Bay.  This is a 3-hour moderate undulating walk which can be slippery if wet. Or there are shorter walking options (1.1.5-hour walks). Of course, you are more than welcome to stay onboard and maybe have a short wander while you wait for the others at the end of your walk.

We will again seek out and anchor in a quiet sheltered bay for the night enjoying another lovely dinner.

Accommodation: onboard the vessel, Affinity

Day 6

Marlborough Sounds Cruising

Marlborough sounds (December 6th)

After breakfast, we cruise to Jacobs Bay, where you have the opportunity to go ashore and walk through regenerated native bush on the very peaceful Jacobs Bay to Fairy Bay Track, this walk takes about 1.5 hours to complete; people often consider this the nicest walk in the Pelorus Sounds but is a narrow track and slippery in places so sturdy footwear is highly recommended as with all the walks. Again, you can choose to stay onboard the ship and relax at the end of the track for the walkers just taking in the great views.


When back onboard we cruise into the Kenepuru Sound pass Raetihi Lodge, St Omer Guest House and the Portage Hotel. You will be told the interesting history and stories relating to these special locations. At the end of the day we head for a scenic anchorage for our last night out in the Sounds.

Accommodation: onboard the vessel, Affinity

Day 7

Havelock - Home

Marlborough sounds (December 7th)

After breakfast we will cruise into Havelock and bid you farewell to our fabulous crew. We are then shuttled to Picton to catch our 11am ferry back to Wellington. There will be plenty of time to get yourself some lunch as we head over the strait. When arriving into Wellington those flying out will be transported to the airport and the others will make their way back to Whanganui.


Home

When arriving into Wellington those flying out will be transported to the airport to meet their connecting flights, and the others will continue home to Whanganui.

Optional extras

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Meet your tour guides

Jason Granville

After years in the broadcasting industry, Jase hung up his headphones to run Take It Easy Tours. This has meant he can still pick up the microphone to inform travellers and encourage friendly banter while on tour.

Jimmy Elliott

Jimmy has a wealth of experience and uses this to ensure all trips with Take It Easy Tours are well organised, informative, diverse and a whole heap of fun.

Reserve your spot

$1,000
 
initial deposit
Payment plans available
from
 
$3,295
 
per person

There is limited availability for this tour. Please contact us to find out more.

Frequently asked questions

Can you collect me from my door?

Yes, it would be our pleasure. We can arrange for you to be picked up and returned to your front door at the conclusion of any tour.

How about travel insurance?

We strongly recommend taking out travel insurance as soon as you book your trip. It just puts your mind at ease. Remember to make sure you are covered for and loss of personal possessions, sickness, accidents or travel delays. Feel free to ask us for any tips to make this quick and easy for you.

How active are your tours?

We are called Take it Easy for a reason as we like to do just that. Do as much or as little as you like - after all it's your holiday! However, there is walking and various activities on each tour that require various levels of fitness. Please check with us if you are unsure about anything and relax knowing that there's always another option for you if you would rather miss out on any activity. We always have a back up plan.

I have some dietary requirements?

Please just let us know in advance and we will sort everything for you. Chefs are used to all sorts now when it comes to diet so as long as we know - we’ll have you covered.

What happens if I have to cancel?

Cancellation charges do apply so again we recommend travel insurance. Our cancellation policy is clearly outlined for each tour so make sure you cast your eye over it and please feel free to ask any questions.

What kind of accommodation do we stay in?

Having a good night's rest after a day out touring is very important so we personally choose all of our accommodation. Generally, four star accommodation when available - with all the comforts you need for a relaxed night.

What types of transport do we use?

Our buses are quality touring coaches that are very comfortable and fully air conditioned. They range in size from 19-28 seats ensuring that we can easily access all those secret spots off the beaten track. All vehicles are regularly serviced as your safety is our priority.

Coaches and luggage trailers are always locked and secure but we recommended you take any valuables with you when staying overnight.

Can I earn Air New Zealanad airpoints on my flights?

Yes, you can earn airpoints with Take It Easy Tours when we are using Air New Zealand flights. All you need to do is get in contact with us and let us know your airpoints number for each time you wish to earn points.

Still have questions?

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