Orcas and the Marlborough Sounds


It was mid morning, but after our early morning ferry crossing, we all needed a nap, so we found a spot right by a boatshed on the water’s edge of a tranquil bay around the corner from Picton to get some much needed rest. Picton was cute, but we chose to head out of the town, as it felt a little touristic.  After taking a bit of a detour through the vineyards on the east coast of Marlborough, we decided to track back to head a little west, to check out the Sounds with the scenic drive.  The winding roads along the valleys opened up stunning views of the area.  The water here was bright turquoise and it all felt very tropical.

We arrived at Momorangi Reserve, which was a Department of Conservation campsite overlooking a gorgeous bay, and importantly, it had a little park which was top of Fin’s wishlist!

Our spot gave us panoramic sea views and we were definitely happy campers. The first day was spent, exploring the coastline, watching the kids jump in the water off the jetty and playing on the park.  As we were heading back to the campervan, we were stood with another family as we spotted some action out in the distance on the water.  It looked like a pod of dolphins, leaping out of the water, there were quite a few of them.  We were over the moon to see them in their natural wild habitat.

As we continued to walk, we kept our eye on them.  It seemed like more had joined the pack, but this time there was a lot of water spouting and their movements seemed slower than the over-excited dolphins.  It took us a couple of minutes to register that actually what we were now seeing was a large pod of Orca Whales!  A nearby couple with a set of binoculars confirmed that they were indeed Orcas and they let Fin look at them through the binoculars to get a closer look.

We had been on the South Island less than 24 hours and we had already had our first encounter of incredible wildlife, we couldn’t believe our luck!

The next morning, we extended our stay at this little haven, as we simply didn’t want to leave.  It was another beautiful day and we set off walking around the headland, through a little native bush track to a deserted beach.  The water seemed to get even more vivid in colour and was crystal clear so Fin was in his element splashing around in the shallows. 

After a really chilled couple of days, we continued around the coastline, heading further west, to re-join the road southbound.  In no time at all, the landscape around us had totally changed and we were surrounded by rolling hills and vineyards as far as the eye could see.  We had arrived in wine territory and we had a feeling we were going to like it here!

Jen Skehan