Marlborough ship wrecks, dive, walk, cruise to three extraordinary locations, SS Waverley, Wairau Lagoon, Mikhail Lermontov diving attraction, and rusting Amokura, located in Pelorus Sound. Throw in the wooden hull of the Edwin Fox in Picton to satisfy the curious traveller in all of us.
Marlborough is the unlikely candidate for shipwrecks and evocative stories of convict hulks and military transport ships. Mix the story up with a luxury Russian cruise ship you have the makings of a great holiday experience.
SS Waverley, Wairau Salt Marshes and Lagoon
Resting on the salt marsh tidal flats is the SS Waverley.
Wairau Lagoons Walkway – Marlborough, New Zealand is a heritage site providing glimpses into early human activity in New Zealand. Wairau is where rare inter-tidal salt marshes are protected and there is a SHIP WRECK, the SS Waverley. Walk across the stark landscape with the sound of shorebirds, water currents meandering slowly under the boardwalk. There is a sense of timelessness at the Wairau Lagoon… discover more about the Wairau Bar and Lagoon.
Luxury cruise ship Mikhail Lermontov – dive to a wreck at 30 metres well within recreational diving limits
Soviet luxury cruise liner Mikhail Lermontov
The Soviet cruise ship Mikhail Lermontov foundered off Cape Jackson in the Marlborough Sounds in January 1986. The Mikhail Lermontov wreck is now a diving attraction.
Mikhail Lermontov was on a luxury cruise ship on the last leg of a two week cruise when she hit rocks off Cape Jackson in the Marlborough Sounds. The rocks acted as a can opener splitting the hull wide open. The cruiser liner was able to limp to Port Gore on the evening of February 16, 1986, finally sinking at 10:45pm. Since the lifting of the original exclusion zone, the wreck, which sits 30 metres below the surface, has become popular with divers.
Go Dive Marlborough owner Dave McFadden has described it as “the most accessible [wrecked] cruise ship in the world because it’s within recreational depths”.
Edwin Fox wooden sailing ship with a varied history
The Edwin Fox ship is one of a kind, a forgotten treasure…
- Last surviving ship that took convicts to Australia
- Last wooden Crimea War troop carrier
- Oldest Merchant ship in the World
- Pioneering refrigeration Ship
- Oldest wooden vessel that brought immigrants to New Zealand
Now has its final resting place in the dedicated Edwin Fox Museum and Visitor Centre. The Edwin Fox Museum has a collection of artefacts and visual presentations about the life of the vessel and its passengers. A clinker 100 year old dingy keeps the Edwin Fox company. Explore the stories of some of our characters, convicts, immigrants, and captains. The location is the picturesque Picton waterfront.
Interested in shipwrecks? Check out:
- Kauri Coast beaches things to do & see – Best Bits – a ship graveyard
- Poor Knights Island – Things to Do, Attractions, Top Sights
- Waipapa Point Lighthouse & the fate of the passenger steamer Tararua
The HMNZS Waikato and the HMNZS Tui are 2 decommissioned NZ Navy ships which have been purpose sunk for divers just outside the Tutukaka Marina.
Amokura – Naval Gunship, naval training vessel and coal hulk
St Omer Bay, Kenepuru Sound
HMS Sparrow was a Redbreast-class gunboat launched in 1889, the sixth Royal Navy ship to bear the name. She became the New Zealand training ship NZS Amokura. In 1940 she was sold again to the Union Steam Ship Company of New Zealand for further use as a coal hulk at Port Nicholson, and in March 1953 was sold for the last time and towed to St Omer Bay in the Kenepuru Sound, where she was used as a store hulk and jetty. Although reported broken up in 1955, her remains lie on the beach at the southern end of the bay source Wikipedia.
In the late 19th century as HMS Sparrow she saw service with the Royal Navy on the west coast of Africa as part of the colonial policing that was the lot of the late-Victorian navy. Transferred to New Zealand the newly named Amokura became a naval training vessel. By the end of the New Zealand Naval Commission, 530 boys had served aboard Amokura between March 1907 and December 1921. For more information about the Amokuru visit the Torpedo Naval Museum in Devonport, Auckland.
For heritage buffs scroll through:
- Marlborough art, culture & heritage trail – Best Bits
- Top 10 things to do in Marlborough
- Wairau Bar and Lagoon story of human occupation & a shipwreck
- Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre where the drama of flight is captured
BEST BITS TRAVEL GUIDE
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