Waikawa Marina

The name, Waikawa, means bitter water.1

Waikawa Marina, the third-largest floating marina in New Zealand, is located in the south-western end of Waikawa Bay, Picton.

It is operated by Port Marlborough and provides over 600 berths, all with power and water. Toilets and adequate parking are available, with showers accessible at the Waikawa Boating Club premises.

There is a chandlery, sail maker, dive shop, boat sales and charter companies, restaurants, marine repair shops, travel lift and trailer boat launching ramp adjacent to the marina.

See the Marlborough Marinas website for more information about Waikawa Marina


Invasive marine pests are a threat to Marlborough’s coastal environment and aquaculture industry and marinas are busy locations of potential transfer.

The marine pest clubbed tunicate (Styela clava) is known to be established in the marina.

The highly invasive Mediterranean fanworm (Sabella spallanzanii) was also detected in 2019. Fortunately, a rapid biosecurity response and ongoing surveillance has prevented its establishment.

The easiest way to reduce risk of further marine pest spread into and around the Sounds, is to ensure your hull is maintained to no more than a slime layer when arriving and/or departing the marina.

Good hull maintenance means lower fuel use, limits the spread of marine pests and gets you to your destination faster.

Additional requirements exist for craft coming into the Sounds or returning to the Sounds after a period of time elsewhere. These craft must ensure that any fouling on the hull does not exceed ‘light fouling’ as defined by the Regional Pest Management Plan 2018, rule

Go to the Marine Biosecurity page on the Marlborough District Council’s website for more information on marine pests 

Go to the Mediterranean fanworm (RPMP 2018) page on the Marlborough District Council’s website for more information on rule  


1. H. A. H. Insull, Marlborough Place Names, (Wellington: A. H. & A. W. Reed, 1952) 67.

Facility photos

MDC6591 QCS WaikawaMarina ToiletBlock 05

Videos / other media


The name, Waikawa, means bitter water.

During the Nineteenth Century it was also referred to as Milton Bay.1

As with other bays near Picton Harbour, Waikawa has a long history of human use and at least eight iwi (tribes) are associated with the area, including Te Ātiawa o Te Waka-a-Māui, Rangitāne o Wairau, Ngāti Kuia, Ngāti Apa, Ngāti Toa, Ngāti Koata, Ngāti Rarua, and Ngāti Tama.2

During the early 1960s that the concept of a launching marina in Waikawa first started to be discussed but it was not until 1988 that the development was completed.3


1. H. A. H. Insull, Marlborough Place Names, (Wellington: A. H. & A. W. Reed, 1952) 67.

2. E. Newcombe and O. Johnston, “Picton Bays Environmental Information and Health Assessment, Cawthron Report No. 2805”, accessed, July 30, 2019, http://envirolink.govt.nz/assets/Envirolink/1606-MLDC-106-Picton-Bays-Environmental-Information-and-Health-Assessment.PDF .

3. Tony Fitzgerald, It’s Our Life: The Imperfect History of the Waikawa Boating Club Inc., 1950-2017, (Blenheim: Prisma Print, 2017) 35.

Extremely popular
Mid (5-10m)
Rocks/reef/sand bank warnings
The rock shown off the Snout is about 2 metres below the surface and is 10m to 15m from the shore.

Be aware of the large number of moored boats.
There is a red, white, green sector light for keeping clear of moorings at night. There is also a green light at the starboard entrance to mooring.