Captain James Cook loved it here, too. © Destination Marlborough

Discover Captain James Cook’s favourite New Zealand base, Ship Cove


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Set on the outskirts of the Marlborough Sounds, Ship Cove Meretoto was a favourite anchorage of Captain James Cook and remains popular with boaties today. 

Known as Meretoto to Māori, the cove was valued as a place of shelter at the edge of the open sea. Arriving in New Zealand, Cook found the same thing and spent 170 days here between his first visit in January 1770 and his final departure in February 1777. 

It was during these visits that some of the earliest sustained contact between Māori and Europeans took place – trading goods and learning about each other’s culture. 

As well as being a historically significant site, Ship Cove Meretoto also marks the start of one of New Zealand’s Great Rides and fantastic multi-day walk, the 70km Queen Charlotte Track. 

Visit by charter boat or sea kayak, learn about the site’s history and take the short bush walk to a hidden waterfall. 

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