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One of the favoured few

Tags: Marlborough Residential

Owning a property which is accessible only via water or air, serves to highlight the uniqueness of the location and reinforces the notion that you have a very special part of the world to call your own.

The current owners of this Double Cove property had long admired the iconic Marlborough Queen Charlotte Sounds enclave, and the fact that they could only get there by helicopter or boat made it all the more desirable. When the property came on the market, they snapped it up.

Double Cove is a coveted, “M”-shaped bay in the Marlborough Sounds around an eight-minute boat ride from Picton. There are only a dozen or so homes and property is tightly-held tending to pass from generation to generation and remain within families. Any future development in Double Cove is very much constrained by the surrounding bush clad hills.

A track at the back of the properties in the cove joins up with the world-renowned Queen Charlotte Track – a popular 70 kilometre walking track that wends its way from Anakiwa to Ships Cove – named by Captain James Cook in 1770. Cook’s ship Endeavour anchored at Ships Cove to replenish supplies.

Wellington-based owner Lisa Ryan says the previous owner of the family’s Double Cove holiday home was a wealthy expatriate New Zealander who lived in Hong Kong. As she understands, he bowled the original house that was on the fairly steep site in the mid-1980s and built a new home which he only used for a couple of weeks a year when he returned to New Zealand for a summer break.

“It was a very well-built home and initially we did some minor renovations before deciding we needed a bit more space so added on a games room and a second master bedroom with ensuite, along with the day room at the water’s edge,” says Lisa. “The home is now configured over three levels – with a master bedroom on the top and bottom levels, and family living space and additional bedrooms on the middle level.

“This makes the property perfect for two families to enjoy and we have found it works brilliantly when we have a house full of kids and their friends.”

The home is accessed via a beautifully landscaped pathway that provides great vistas. Consent has been approved for a passenger lift to be built, and there is a much-appreciated goods lift for taking suitcases, food and the all-essential supplies of Marlborough wine up to the house.

Days are spent water-side where everyone congregates to take full advantage of the spectacular Queen Charlotte Sounds location.

“At the water’s edge we have created a wonderful day room where we tend to spend most of our summer days,” says Lisa.

“It has a kitchen and bathroom and space to sprawl out – which encourages everyone to gather around the water rather than be up on the hill in the house.

“We take lunch and all the supplies we need for the day down there each morning and there is an intercom between the day room and the house so if we’ve forgotten anything, we just buzz whoever is up there to bring it down with them.”

The adjacent boat shed houses kayaks, a jet ski, wakeboards, stand-up paddle boards and all the other holiday paraphernalia that a sea side holiday demands. A boat lift makes launching easy, and Lisa says that over the years, they have had many boats, including a 60-foot beauty.


“Now we have down-sized to a little Beneteau and a couple of rigid inflatables which everyone loves going out in.” The bay immediately in front of this property is a marine reserve – an initiative designed to protect the ecosystem of the inner Sounds.

“You don’t have to go far in the boat, however, until you reach some great fishing grounds,” says Lisa.

“Just past the head of the bay we catch fantastic blue cod. Scallops are plentiful too.”

Double Cove is a place where life slows down. You can be as connected or disconnected as you wish. 

“There is excellent cellphone coverage so you can keep in touch with the outside world if you need to but the internet connection is not the fastest so it’s easy to put work on the back burner,” says Lisa.

“This is a place where children are encouraged to put down their devices – and they do not take much convincing given the amazing times that can be had here.”

The cove offers safe swimming and there’s always someone keen to go water skiing, jet skiing or putting their hand up to be towed on the biscuit behind the boat.

“There’s quite a party atmosphere over Christmas and New Year – it’s a fun place to be. “With Picton so close and regular water taxis zipping around the Sounds, visitors are welcome,” says Lisa.

With plans to relocate across the Tasman, Lisa says the Double Cove property will simply not get the use that it deserves so they are selling their interests in it.

“In a perfect world, we would keep it. But life moves on and someone else will get years of enjoyment out of this property just as we have.”
This article is from the Bayleys annual Waterfront Magazine

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