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.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

New Zealand features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

How to find the right New Zealand for you

How to find the right New Zealand for you

While it may not loom large on the world map, New Zealand feels incredibly vast and imposing on the ground, especially to those who try to visit the North and S…

23 May 2016 • Eric Grossman insert_drive_file Article
Everything you need to know about backpacking New Zealand

Everything you need to know about backpacking New Zealand

New Zealand’s craggy coastline and beautiful national parks are dotted with wildlife and beg to be explored. The scenery gets more spectacular around every co…

07 Mar 2016 • Rachel Mills insert_drive_file Article
Video: the world's friendliest cities

Video: the world's friendliest cities

Which cities are going to welcome you with open arms? Where will the locals be likely to buy you a beer, and who's going to invite you in for tea when it's cold…

10 Oct 2014 • Rough Guides Editors videocam Video
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month