GO NZ: Marlborough Sounds’ greenshell mussel cruise

Enjoy a day on a farm, a Marlborough Sounds mussel farm, writes Elen Turner

Whichever way you come into Havelock, you’ll be welcomed by a sign proudly declaring that this small town on Pelorus Sound is the Greenshell Mussel Capital of the World. It would also be a contender for the City of Sails title, if Auckland hadn’t already taken that one. Plus, Havelock’s population is barely 500.

Most jobs in town are connected to the mussel industry in some way, and you don’t need to spend long at Havelock Marina to see the flat mussel-harvesting boats go in and out. Also running twice a week from the marina is the Greenshell Mussel Cruise. The sightseeing trip combines some of the highlights of the Marlborough Sounds in an easy afternoon: seafood straight from the sea, local sav, and spectacular views of three of the four sounds: Pelorus, Mahau, and Kenepuru.

Mahau and Kenepuru Sounds are much smaller than Queen Charlotte, to the east, and Pelorus, from which they branch. Despite being referred to as one geographic area, the Marlborough Sounds are historically and culturally quite distinct from one another. Captain James Cook was the first European to sail to Queen Charlotte Sound, in 1770, but didn’t even know Pelorus Sound was there. Europeans didn’t make it to Pelorus Sound until 1838, when Lieutenant Chetwode sailed in on the HMS Pelorus.

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