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Between Havelock and Picton, a 40-kilometre winding road fringed with native forest offers one of the most scenic drives you're likely to encounter. Make sure you leave enough time to make plenty of stops along the way.
Near the Havelock end of the road, a sign simply says 'lookout'. Rural New Zealanders are known for their modest understatement and this sign is living proof of that tendency. The view out across the sounds from this spot at Cullens Point is an image that will stay with you for many years - it's breathtaking.
Queen Charlotte Drive continues downhill to wind past numerous sleepy bays. The strong arts and crafts community in this area means there are several opportunities to pause and browse art studios for a special memento or two.
Through the area of Linkwater, the road passes along a low saddle. You're now traversing five kilometres of land between the head of Pelorus Sound and the head of Queen Charlotte Sound. To achieve the same thing by boat involves travelling more than a 100 kilometres out to the open sea and back in again - little wonder early farmers considered putting a canal through here.
Continuing around the upper reaches of Queen Charlotte Sound you'll pass The Grove and sheltered Momorangi Bay before climbing the headland that leads into the seaside town of Picton.