Mainland Island native wildlife sanctuary located in the Marlborough Sounds of New Zealand.
Wilderness hiking, Accommodation, Marine activities. Where humans and nature work in harmony.

Our Environment and Us

Jellekes Hoek

About half way around the Kaitangata loop track there is a sign called Jellekes Hoek (Jellekes Corner). Jelleke was a young Dutch woman who came here as a member of a tour group. This is what she said in an email, sent to us after she had returned to the Netherlands."

"I find it very difficult to express in words my feelings when I stayed at Queen Charlotte Wilderness Park. I had already problems to tell my friends and family why that was the greatest part of my stay in New Zealand. I really loved it there, it’s was the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. Even when I walked through the rain (soaking wet), the second day to the Lighthouse I’ve felt extremely happy from top (head) to toe. Here you could listen to the silence. I really felt at peace with myself and my surroundings. You’ve created back a kind of balance between plants, animal and human, essential for the earth. I think that balance is destroyed at many places over the world, and people should take your/our place as a good example how you can repair the balance".

Jelleke seems to think that we would have a far better world if humans were to harmoniously share their space with nature, rather than to try to exist quite separately and in competition. We think that if more people thought like Jelleke then we might yet get to avoid the social and economic disruption that is just around the corner. This is why we have dedicated a corner of our Park to Jelleke so that her plea for respect for nature and sustainability in everything that people do can be passed on.

Certainly as far as we are concerned Jelleke has most elegantly defined exactly what our Park should represent and we thank her for that. We are proud and pleased that Jelleke will always have a corner here.

Our scenery

Look out of the Lodge windows and you will see, through a subtropical garden, a bay of tranquil blue. Soaring out of the bay are rugged mountains, covered in green forest, right down to the sea. Mostly you will see this scene in bright sunlight, the twinkling of the sea promising a good day for your chosen activity. But sometimes the crags will be shrouded in mist, so that you might think that you have been transported back to Jurassic times and the call to explore hidden valleys is strong.


Take the 15 minute walk up to the top of the hill at the back of the lodge and look north and you will see 300km, to Mt. Taranaki, a volcano, growing out of the middle of the sea. A little to the west, looking out over the beautiful and mysterious bay of Port Gore, are the many bush clad islands of Cook Strait, mostly sanctuaries for wildlife. In the far distance is the Rangitoto group. Just off the largest of them, Durville, is Stephens Island, home to the prehistoric dinosaur, the Tuatara.

To the east will be the west coast of the North Island and the Islands Kapiti and Mana, seemingly deserted. In the background will lie the much greener and possibly snow clad mountains of the Tararua Range. Further right, guarding the entrance to Cook strait are the sentinel rocks of the Brothers Islands and the northern tip of Arapawa Island, conveniently placed to protect the tranquillity of Queen Charlotte Sound against southern ocean storms.

Turn right round now to face south and you will be looking down the vast blue river of Queen Charlotte Sound, flanked by green bush clad hills. In the centre of the sound lie Long and Motuara Islands, bird sanctuaries now. To the south west you will see the limpid waters of inner Port Gore and the majestic peaks of Jackson’s Head, Oterawhanga and Mount Stokes, the highest peak in the Marlborough Sounds, which in winter is sometimes tipped with snow.

And that is all you will see. Whether you are at the top of a hill looking out or are in the forest or on or under the water. No roads, no cars, no houses, no tourist groups, no people, except for you and your friends. Perhaps there may be a boat passing through the strait or a distant view of an aeroplane but their impacts on the vista will have been reduced to nothing by the immensity of the surroundings.

Our nature

Come to arguably the most isolated but livable place in arguably the most isolated but livable country in the world and what you’ll find, is nature in the raw. Here humans are in the minority, a strange and unusual species to the wild animals and birds that will peer at you from the shelter of their dark forest, warily curious. Here nature is the reality you will be a part of.

This is a place where nature can send huge waves surging up the cliffs while the sky seems filled with flowing dark anger. But it can also be a place that can be, and often is, of the utmost in tranquillity. When bellbirds call to the good life, high in their lush green world and the sea exchanges golden glances with the sun.

Our park is a place where you can perch on the cliffs, and gaze down into pools of gliding seals and flying penguins. Where the only passing traffic is likely to be a pod of orcas on their way south for their summer holiday, or dolphins, leaping between worlds. And where the odours are of fresh salt air mixed with the ancient smell of the bush rather than of the things of humanity.

Our park may not have pretty paths and trinkets made for tourists but we think that our Park is a happy place. A place, where people who are content to be part of nature rather than in control of it can find hope for the future from a glimpse of the past.

We are very content to have nature as our leader and our mission at our park is to both protect and enhance our environment so that the natural world can flourish in harmony with our occupation. Our life, as we never know quite what the natural world will have in store for us, is a daily delight. If you would like to share this delicious uncertainty we are sure you would enjoy a visit.




Many of our visitors have suggested that we should have some information about ourselves, the family who own the park, so at the risk of putting you all off, and to my life when the rest of my family gets to read this, here (in descending age order) we go!


My name is Ron and I am a bit of a dreamer. I dream that I can live in this beautiful place for the rest of my life and watch both the bush and my family grow. I fix things including your dinner if you are really unlucky. I don't really know that much but I like to talk about it anyway. Avoid me if you don't like that. I really love it when visitors like this place as much as I do.

My wife

Gerry is a gentle person, except sometimes with me. She lives for her three daughters and her five grand children. She looks after the lodge and its beautiful gardens. She also loves animals and knows a lot about our natural heritage and botany. She's a bit quiet so if you want to know anything you'll probably have to ask. She's also a sucker for broken wings so a good way to get to know her is to limp a little. The little dog on the back is Bonnie, who is Gerry's constant companion.

Daughter No. 1

Trudy has inherited her mothers green fingers and, when she is here, keeps us (and the lodge) supplied with fresh vegetables as well as taking the bookings and looking after the lodge. As the eldest she acts tough but is really a pussycat. Her husband Craig runs all the outdoors activities including our inflatable boat which he uses to pick people up and take them anywhere they want to go on the water.  Craig is like me in that he likes a good chat with our visitors but he knows and listens a lot more. Trudy has produced our only grandson, Aaron, who is being buried by his father in the photo below.

Daughter No 2

Christine, like her mother is also a very gentle person. Christine and her husband Murray are our animal welfare consciences and are vegetarian. Back when we farmed they used to have us all mustering the park for days trying to find a lamb which just might have been limping. I like it when Christine and Murray are here because then I get to spoil Emma and Charlotte two of our four grand daughters.

Daughter No 3

Dale is an environmental scientist as is her husband Ben. Dale is said to be a bit like me, poor girl but at least she knows what she's on about. Being both dive instructors, both Dale and her husband Ben like to teach people about the ecology of the marine environment. They often come here to dive and we like that because then we get to mind our third and fourth grand daughters Jessica and Lilly.


Mate is quite new to us and is in training to take over from Tigger who was my right hand man and director of entertainment. He’s a bit of a slow learner but I think he will come right in the end. People say that dogs get to be like their owners quite quickly. I think they’re right.

We are just an ordinary Kiwi family trying to live and make a living in the most pleasant way we can. Our atmosphere here is quite informal but you can be sure that we will do everything we can to make sure that you get the experience here that you want and our service to you will be second to none.

Our volunteers

Most of the year we have volunteers to help us look after our guests and do the many other things that living in such an isolated place demands. Nearly always they will be young people from overseas who come here to experience and study our work and way of life. They are very important to the park, our visitors and us, not least because their fresh ideas and enthusiasm do a lot to give us some hope for the future of our species and the planet we are so dependent on.


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