Picton is a pretty spot, but you’ve barely touched the region’s beauty until you’ve explored Queen Charlotte Sound. This wildly indented series of drowned valleys encloses moody picturesque bays, small deserted sandy beaches, headlands with panoramic views and cloistered islands, while grand lumpy peninsulas offer shelter from the winds and storms, and solitude for the contemplative fisherman or kayaker. For a taste of these labyrinthine waterways, take one of the many day-cruises from Picton, but to really appreciate the tranquil beauty you’re better off kayaking round the bays or tramping the Queen Charlotte Track. The relatively calm waters of the Sounds also give the opportunity for scuba diving, checking out the rich marine life of the huge wreck of a Soviet cruise ship.

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