Ships Cove, New Zealand Cruise Port, 2024, 2025 and 2026 Cruises to Ships Cove, New Zealand | The Cruise Web

Ships Cove, New Zealand Cruise Port

On the west coast of Queen Charlotte Sound—part of an extensive network of sea-drowned valleys north of South Island known as the Marlborough Sound—Ship Cove is a small bay town just west of Long Island and Motuara Island. It was named by Captain James Cook in 1770 when he docked his ship the HMS Endeavour there to resupply food, water, and wood. He set up a vegetation garden and penned a few pigs for future trips to the Pacific before abandoning the post after his fourth trip. Today a monument to Cook adorns the bay’s coastline. Over 1,700 acres of Ship Cove’s land have been declared a scenic reserve by their local Scenic Reserves Board. The actual cove can only be reached by boat and has numerous picnic areas as well as paths to a few waterfalls, plus the longer bush track leading to the elevated Resolution Bay.


  • Erected in 1913, the Cook Monument still stands alongside the Queen Charlotte Walkway. Predating the Scenery Preservation Act, this protected site has staying power.
  • Beside the respectful monument is the infamous creek where Cook and his men made home brew to share. However, because of the mount’s protected status, all traces of alcohol in the waters have long since dissipated.
  • Right beyond Queen Charlotte Sound is Cook’s Strait, the aged water mass that separates New Zealand’s North and South Islands.
  • On nearby Arapaoa Island, bask in their rare distinction of having pig, sheep, and goat breeds that exclusively exist here and nowhere else in the world.

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