• Location: Picton, New Zealand
  • Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes (approx.)
From USD $ 58.54 View price calendar

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Take in the sights of Queen Charlotte Sound and visit Ship Cove on a morning boat tour from Picton. The 3.5-hour journey follows a network of waterways as your captain narrates the highlights of the Marlborough Sounds. During free time while anchored at Ship Cove, see Maori wood carvings and a Captain Cook memorial, and explore the sheltered beach. Be on the lookout for marine life and other natural features of this breathtaking region while you sip complimentary tea and coffee on board.


  • 3.5-hour boat cruise through the Marlborough Sounds to Ship Cove, from Picton
  • Learn about the region's history from your expert captain
  • Have at least 30 minutes to explore Ship Cove, Captain Cook’s favorite anchorage in New Zealand
  • See beautiful Endeavor Inlet
  • Travel along parts of the inter-island ferry route and Queen Charlotte Sound, located within the larger Marlborough Sounds
  • Sip complimentary tea or coffee on board the boat

What You Can Expect

Marlborough Sounds Cruise from Picton

New Zealand fur seal

Explore the magnificent waterways of the Marlborough Sounds on an afternoon boat tour, departing from the Picton waterfront. After your boat captain welcomes you aboard, set off on your 3.5-hour Queen Charlotte Sound cruise, which includes a 30-minute stop in Ship Cove.

Warm up with tea and coffee, and listen to live commentary on regional historical and natural landmarks. Keep an eye out for marine life such as little blue penguins and Hector’s dolphins — considered the rarest marine dolphin in the world. 

After about an hour’s journey, your boat drops anchor at Ship Cove where Captain Cook’s ship, the Endeavor, stopped for supplies in the late 1700s. Set foot on the trails past informative displays to a sheltered beach, and check out the Maori statues and monument to Cook.

At the appointed time, you’ll continue by boat to Endeavor Inlet en route to Picton, arriving at the waterfront where your tour ends.

Customer Reviews

Kenneth O

5 star rating: Highly Recommended April 2018

We had a superb trip on the 09.00 to 12.30 Marlborough Sounds Cruise with a very enlightening and interesting live commentary on one of the family owned and run Beachcomber Cruise boats.

Setting off from Picton, we went up through Queen Charlotte Sound and had a fabulous experience of seeing a group of dolphins following our boat leaping into the air as they playfully kept up with us. Seeing them enjoying being alongside our boat in their natural habitat without having been taught to do so was pure magic which will stay in our memory for a long time.

We also saw a seal sunbathing on a rock before visiting Ship Cove where we spent about 30 minutes giving us time to reflect on the historical landing by Captain James Cook in 1770. Its a lovely spot no wonder Captain Cook returned here another four times between 1770 and 1777.

The Maori wood carvings and the Captain Cook memorial are fascinating and we saw a flightless Waka bird.

On our return to Picton we also made a drop off/ pick up at Punga Cove Resort and Furneaux Lodge.

The whole experience was brilliant and the boat had complimentary coffee and tea on board to which we could help ourselves.

The entire trip, which we booked via Viator before leaving the UK, was a pure joy and we have no hesitation in recommending Beachcomber Cruises.

Mariana S

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2018

A perfect day, tasting beautiful wines with an amazing hoast Dean.


5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2018

Excellent way to visit the small coves and travel around the Sound. The boat has refreshments and our Captain gave a good commentary.
We had the full trip which included a stop at the cove where Captain Cook first anchored Endeavor. This was a lovely surprise and we saw the memorial . We had fine weather so sat on the upper deck and enjoyed the breeze and sunshine.

Robson Walton P

5 star rating: Highly Recommended April 2017

Wonderful trip on Marlborough Sound ,interesting, well informed commentary. Excellent vessel with tea and coffee stop at Ships Cove where Captain Cook landed. Stops also at various lodges on the Queen Charlotte walking track.

Stan K United States of ... 

5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2017

Spectacular, breathtaking scenery, interesting commentary. We'd do this again and again if we could. Spectacular views everywhere you look.

John P

5 star rating: Highly Recommended April 2016

Highly recommend this operator. Friendly efficient and professional. Comfortable vessel and good value for money. The ships cove trip gives a good overall intro to the Queen Charlotte Sound area in comfort and convenience. Recomend staying at the Beachcomber motel/hotel about 100 meters from the wharf.

Robin M

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2015

The skipper was very helpful, friendly and informative.


4 star rating: Recommended March 2018

Had a great time going around to various stops dropping and picking up people out on a trek. The weather was cold and miserable. The longer stop at Cook's Cove made us chose the morning versus the afternoon tour. It was a pretty beach.


4 star rating: Recommended June 2017

A pretty cruise tour withGreat tour. Our guide was fantastic and took us to beautiful spots all around the harbour while explaining everything in great detail. Got to see a lot of beautiful animals!


4 star rating: Recommended January 2017

Nice cruising tour, unfortunately the weather was not that good. We were one of the very few people aboard, if there are more people on the boat the athmosphere may be less relaxing. Even in the bad weather, amazing nature!

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