Explore Marlborough, Nelson and Kaikoura
The 35km Queen Charlotte Drive between Picton and Havelock is a picturesque and spectacular backroad sliding past the flat plain at the head of Queen Charlotte Sound and climbing up the hills overlooking Pelorus Sound before descending to SH6 and Havelock itself. It is a slow and winding drive, but you may want to take it even slower by stopping to wander down to a couple of sheltered coves or up the Cullen Track (a 10min walk yields spectacular views). With water taxis providing convenient access to fabulous out-of-the-way spots, it may seem a little perverse to try to see the Marlborough Sounds by car. Doubly so when you start weaving your way around the narrow and twisting roads – don’t expect to average more than 40km/hour, but ultimately it is well worth the effort as the views through the ferns to turquoise bays are magical.
Around 18km west of Picton, a narrow road heads north to Anakiwa, the southern end of the Queen Charlotte Track. Here you’ll find a wharf used by water taxis taking hikers back to Picton, Anakiwa Lodge and Anakiwa Backpackers.