Traveller Rating


  • self-guided walking
  • 1 night motel, 4 nights boat
  • 4 Dinners
  • 4 Lunches
  • 4 Breakfasts


6 daysfrom


Trip Code: GNW

Trip highlights

  • Enjoy the hospitality of local hosts onboard a private, family-operated, purpose-built cruising vessel
  • Cruise some of the bays and coves along Pelorus Sound
  • Hike three different trails over four days
  • Varied walking along shorelines and up onto ridge tops
  • Walk the Jacobs Bay Track, only accessible by boat
  • Follow an old stock route on the Archer Track, in a region owned by the Archer family since the 1880's
  • Walk the Nydia Track from Duncan Bay to Kaiuma Bay

The intricate network of sunken river valleys, secluded coves and steep-sided fingers of land making up the Marlborough Sounds is unique to this area of New Zealand. Experience the superb natural beauty of the region with a combined exploration by boat and on foot. Located in Pelorus Sound, the Archer, Jacobs and Nydia Tracks are less-visited than neighbouring regions of the Sounds, making these delightful escapes with few people. Walk in your own time and unaccompanied, meeting your floating home at a designated place at the end of each trail every evening. If you prefer to sample only the highlights, the itinerary is flexible so that you can walk as much or as little as you like. Travel and sleep on board a privately owned and operated purpose-built 63 foot (20 metre) cruise vessel. The immense local knowledge of the crew allows flexible options to make the most of your journey according to weather and sea conditions. As well as the joy of walking there are many opportunities to relax and spot marine wildlife such as seals, dolphins, penguins and albatross while cruising the bays and plying the waterways between trailheads. All luggage remains onboard in private cabins so there is no need to carry a big pack. Enjoy Kiwi hospitality, home-cooked meals and the company of fellow travellers on the water, with days punctuated by unhurried walking on the land through tranquil native forest, along old stock routes and overlooking picturesque coves.


Make your own way to Havelock, the mussel capital of Marlborough Sounds located roughly halfway between Nelson and Picton. Check-in to your trip accommodation any time after 2:00pm. Take some time to explore this quiet little village at the head of Pelorus Sound. Visit the local museum, wander along the marina with its flotilla of boats or sample some local produce. Freshly prepared green-lipped mussels are the signature dish and are not to be missed! NOTE: It is possible to overnight in Picton instead of Havelock this evening. A transfer from Picton to Havelock tomorrow morning can be arranged if you do not have your own vehicle (additional cost applies for the transfer). Please advise at time of booking if this is your preference.

Meals:  Nil

Enjoy a leisurely morning before meeting the boat and crew at the Havelock Marina at 11:30am. Board the boat for a 12:00pm departure and enjoy lunch on board while cruising along Pelorus Sound. Pass mussel farms thriving on the fine sediment that empties into the bay from the Te Hoiere Pelorus River. Marvel at the intricate network of secluded coves and inlets forming the Sounds before arriving at Jacobs Bay. A gently undulating walk on the picturesque Jacobs Bay Track allows opportunity to stretch your legs as it follows the coast around Dillon Bell Point to Fairy Bay. In the right conditions, the native bush reflects emerald green in the sea. Back on board the boat, relax with some pre-dinner snacks while the captain finds a sheltered bay in which to anchor for the night.

Meals:  L,D

After breakfast, cruise this morning to Elaine Bay in the Tennyson Inlet, passing some small islands on the way. The Archer Walk commences from Elaine Bay and follows an old stock route around the coastline to Penzance Bay, passing through pine and native beech forests with stunning views of the inlet and its islands along the way. The Archer family, after whom the track is named, continue to have a significant presence in the area and have done so since they first settled in the area in the 1880's. On completion of the walk, board the boat once again and anchor in a nearby bay for the night. NOTE: the track today is 9km but it can be broken into two halves if you don't feel like walking the full distance. The boat can collect you at Deep Bay after approximately 4.5km/1.5 hrs if you prefer.

Meals:  B,L,D

The Nydia Track is a series of old bridle paths linked together, passing through farmland, a variety of forests and scrub and tracing the shoreline of Nydia Bay where logging activities occurred from 1876 until 1919. There is little evidence of this today with much of the native forest visible from the track now regenerated. Walk the first part of the track today, going ashore at Duncan Bay and commencing with some of the most beautiful forest on the track including giant rimu, nikau, beech and tree ferns. Cross Nydia Saddle (347m) with lovely views of Tennyson Inlet before dropping down to sea level again at Nydia Bay, where the boat and crew will be waiting. Enjoy another relaxing evening on board the vessel while anchored nearby.

Meals:  B,L,D

Take some extra snacks today as it is the longest day on the trail. Beginning where you left off yesterday, the boat will drop you at Nydia Bay. The first part of the walk is gentle, crossing farmland and a stream before gradually ascending to Kaiuma Saddle (387m), the highest point on the trail. The view is rewarding and on a clear day it is possible to see as far as the Kaikoura Ranges which meet the east coast of the South Island and include a 2885m peak. From here it is mostly downhill through regenerating forest to the Kaiuma Bay trailhead. Take a break here before continuing a final 4 km to Shag Point where the boat can find deep enough water to meet you. Once back on board the boat, cruise to a sheltered cove for the final night on the water. Enjoy something special for dinner while reflecting on your journey over the last four days.

Meals:  B,L,D

After a final breakfast onboard the boat, cruise the short distance back to Havelock, savouring the final moments of life in the Marlborough Sounds. Arriving at the wharf around 9:00am, trip arrangements end with farewells to the crew and your fellow travellers.

Meals:  B



The map and elevation chart are for illustrative purposes only and meant to provide general guidelines.
On self guided trips, actual route information provided before departure will be more detailed.


  • 1 night motel accommodation in Havelock or Picton (twinshare) with private bathroom
  • 4 nights comfortable cabin (twinshare) with single sex shared bathroom onboard the "Affinity"
  • 4 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 4 dinners
  • Drinking water and trail snacks
  • Experienced local crew onboard the boat
  • Trail information, map and route notes (one set per booking)
  • Use of gumboots onboard the boat and for going ashore

  • Travel to/from Havelock before/after the trip
  • Travel/transfer from Picton to Havelock if staying in Picton on first night of trip
  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Alcoholic beverages and soft drinks onboard the boat - available for purchase (CASH only)
  • Optional activities, extras, purchases onshore for any reason
  • Items of a personal nature (eg. laundry, shopping, internet)
  • Daypack and water bottle
  • Car parking in Havelock (if required)
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa (if required)

Trail Surface




INTRODUCTORY - GRADE 3 These trips involve walking for up to five or six hours a day at a slow but steady pace. Our introductory trips are not ‘easy’ trips and you will need a reasonable level of fitness and good health. During the walking stages you will need to carry your daily requirements such as water, lunch, spare clothing and personal items. For this trip you will also need to carry your overnight requirements. Suggested preparation: We recommend 30 minutes of aerobic type exercise, (fast walking, jogging or cycling) three times a week. Hill or stair walking with a 5-7kg daypack is also highly recommended at least once a week for leg strengthening and aerobic fitness. Walking in variable weather conditions is advisable.

Departure dates


Private charters are available on request for minimum 8 people. If you wish to have a guide accompany your private group, this can also be arranged. Additional cost applies.
Children are permitted on private group charters only.
An extra deposit is applicable for this trip - see trip notes for details

Want to organise a customised tour?

School groups, friends, family trips, corporate events and even making the trail accessible for everyone. Learn how you can organise a Customised Tour with Great Walks of New Zealand.

Priceper person from


Options & Supplements*
  • Havelock Garden Motel - Single SupplementNZD$120
*Prices listed are per person and also from

Essential Information

Ready to book? Make sure you download and read the detailed Nydia Track Walk and Cruise trip notes which contains all the essential information you need to know before booking. Once you’ve booked, we will supply you with a Pre-Departure document which contains a detailed gear list and other important information to help you prepare for your adventure ahead.

Trip reviews

Why walk with us

Self-Guided Experts

Our itineraries have been carefully designed and researched with you in mind.  The logistics are handled for you allowing you the freedom to walk New Zealand at a level of your choosing and in your own stride.


A core Maori value exercising guardianship in relation to nature, flora and fauna and its people, ensuring that sustainability and environment are valued, respected and protected for future generations to enjoy.

Supporting Local

As a small business ourselves, we love supporting and sharing New Zealand with other small and likeminded businesses and communities to showcase for you, what our land and people have to offer.

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