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The Marlborough Sounds in the northern coastline of the Marlborough region is a scenic area of lush forested hills bounded by the sea. The green hills and blue sky give the water a beautiful blue/green hue. A 'sound' by definition is defined as a drowned valley, and with many drowned valleys here, the result is an intricate area of waterways making the land here hard to develop. Consequently, much of the area is still in its natural state.
There are two main sounds, Pelorus Sound, with the town of Havelock at its base, and Queen Charlotte Sound with its base, the tourist town of Picton. Picton is the main port for the Interislander ferry service between the North and South islands, so there are many services, accomodation options, and places to eat. A third but smaller sound called Kenepuru Sound is less known and visited.
The Sounds as the area is often called encompasses an area of about 4,000 km². The coastline makes up about 1/5th of the length of New Zealand's coast due to its intricate and indented outline shape.