The Outer Sounds area is naturally exposed to all winds and can represent quite a hurdle to boat users due to its proximity to the Cook Strait. The latter is infamous for its strong currents and rough waters, especially when the wind is from the north or south.
Due to this, some of the narrow channels closer to Cook Strait are dangerous to navigate. Most notable amongst these is the French Pass at the southern end of D'Urville Island, which has several vortices.
There have been several shipwrecks in the Marlborough Sounds. One of the most well-known is that of the Russian cruise liner Mikhail Lermontov, which sank in 1986 in Port Gore near the mouth of Queen Charlotte Sound, after colliding with rocks.
But it's not always windy and rough: On a fine day, the South Island is visible from the coast of Wellington in the North Island, and the North Island can also be seen from areas in the Marlborough Sounds.
Notable places in the Outer Sounds are Croisilles harbour, D’Urville Island (Rangitoto ki te Tonga), Forsyth Island, and Te Kakaho Island (the Chetwode Islands), Motuara, Long Island, Blumine Island and Pickersgill Island.