The myriad islands and intricate coastline of the Marlborough Sounds present limitless possibilities for the boat-owner and the camper. Here the sea claws with long fingers into the north-east tip of the South Island, creating innumerable sheltered coves and blissful vistas of vibrant greens and blues. The complex configurations of land and sea are the result of the area being depressed, allowing the sea to drown an elaborate network of branching river valleys. At times the land drops so steeply to the sea as to give the appearance of glacier-formed fiords.
How The Sounds Were Formed
The Marlborough Sounds is a network of fjiord-like waterways, sheltered by steep hills, most clad in native and timber forests. Geologists would describe the Sounds as ‘drowned valleys’, where in past millennia, the mountains sank in earth movements and the sea flooded into the valleys. Maori legend tells a more exotic story of their creation, how as Kupe wrestled with a giant octopus he grasped at the South Island for support, his fingers digging deep and carving out the waterways.