A beautiful area at the top of the South Island of New Zealand, Pelorus Sound / Te Hoiere is one of the Marlborough Sounds, along with Queen Charlotte Sound (accessible from Picton, through which the Interislander ferry from Wellington sails) and Kenepuru Sound. The best way to appreciate it’s scale and beauty is by boat.
If you don’t have your own then you’re best catching the Pelorus Mail Boat, which runs 3-4 times a week from Havelock, delivering post and supplies to remote parts of the Pelorus Sound, only accessible by water. One of the best boat trips I’ve done in New Zealand, it offered both stunning scenery, and insights into local industry and the people who live here.
Havelock is the main entry point for Pelorus Sound, and is renowned both as the Greenshell Mussel Capital of the World, and as the former home of Ernest Rutherford (Nobel Prize winning physicist) and William Pickering (who ran NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory for 22 years). Not bad for a town of less than 600 people!
The best views of Havelock and the surrounding area are from various lookouts at the nearby Cullen Point Scenic Reserve.
Havelock is over 150 years old, with it’s street layout dating from 1858. Havelock Cemetery is nicely situated looking out over the harbour.
Nearby is the heritage St. Peter’s Anglican Church, dating from 1905, not old by the standards of most parts of the world, but pretty old for New Zealand.
The story of the town is excellently told at the well presented Havelock Museum, well worth a visit.
There is more heritage up the road at Rai Valley Cottage, a pioneer cottage from 1881 built by the Turner family. They spent ten years as the only people living in this then remote valley.
As I headed toward Duncan Bay I passed over the 520m high Opouri Saddle, which offered a pretty good view of Nydia Bay.
After driving through near empty farming valleys, and along winding roads through bush, it was a bit of a shock to find streets and houses (mostly baches, Kiwi holiday homes) at Duncan Bay. Passing through I reached the jetty which was quite stunning, the water comes alive in the sunshine.
This would be a good place to moor your boat…
It is also a great place to go for a walk. The 27km Nydia Track is a relatively easy two day hike, or relatively hard one day mountain bike ride. Public transport options at each end are non-existent though, so I just did a day walk up to Nydia Saddle and back. The most scenic part of which was around the coast from Duncan Bay to Ngawhakawhiti Bay, with the turquoise waters sparkling behind the trees.
The bush was also rather beautiful, and the track flat, wide and easy.
Pipi Beach is about 15 minutes into the walk.
From Ngawhakawhiti Bay the track leaves the coastline to heads up to the 347m Nydia Saddle, a steady climb through pleasant bush, but unfortunately viewpoints (even at the saddle) were extremely rare and obstructed.
After stopping for lunch, without the hoped for view, I returned back the way I came, enjoying the water views once back down the hill.
After the walk I took a detour to the nearby Penzance Bay, home to many more holiday baches, and a scenic jetty.
This final shot is typical of the lush, farm filled valleys between the hills and waters of Pelorus Sound.