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French Pass & D’Urville Island, Marlborough Sounds road trip

Okiwi Bay to Elaine Bay

Elaine Bay in the Marlborough Sounds Elaine Bay in the Marlborough Sounds

The road climbs the hills and valleys of the coast with dense bush or farm clearings on either side. The road is now unsealed with dense bush and glimpses of the sea. The seascape is amazing with its colour variations from pale blue to deep forest green. The bush is interspersed with rolling bare farmland stripped of any bush or trees. The land contours up and down the hills plunging into the distant bays.

Road to Elaine Ba @szmolyanstefan

Towards the termulus of French Pass the peninsula has narrowed to a strip of land between Inner and Outer Pelorus Sound. It is extraordinary with the ocean, D’Urville Island, tidy rows of mussel farms in the sea competing for attention where to look and what to take in.

Take the opportunity to look at the road as it cuts a sliver of space between the land and sky. French Pass tidal flow is where swirling currents squeeze between 800 metres reaching a phenomenal speed of eight knots.


The road is sealed to Elaine Bay. The remaining road is gravel with cattle stops, loose road stones (metal) and plenty of dust in the summer heat.

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