Two iconic Marlborough lodges, which were recently purchased by locally-owned Marlborough Tour Company, hope to welcome more Top of the South guests to come and explore the beauty of their own backyard.
Popular Furneaux Lodge and Punga Cove Resort, both located in Endeavour Inlet on the world-renowned Queen Charlotte Track, were bought by the long-time Marlborough company last year.
It came shortly before Marlborough Tour Company learned it had been awarded Qualmark’s Gold Sustainable Tourism Business Award for its tours and cruises, which put it among the top tourism experience providers in New Zealand.
Marlborough Tour Company general manager Scott McKenzie says the Qualmark achievement and the purchase of the lodges rounded off a very exciting year of expansion for the company, which was established more than 20 years ago by Marlborough couple Chris and Sue Godsiff, who are still owners today.
Earlier in 2018, the Godsiffs brought on board another family, brothers Dennis and Trevor Burkhart, who own Burkhart Fisheries in Ward, as 50 percent owners.
The decision to sell half of the successful high-end tourism business stemmed from a desire to bring more of Marlborough to the tourism market, all year round.
“We want to make the most of the quieter months in Marlborough, as often these seasons bring the best weather for visitors to enjoy. We want to expose that hidden treasure,” says Scott.
“Bringing the Burkharts on board means that all the things we have dreamed of doing at Marlborough Tour Company, we can now do.”
Those dreams include boosting and expanding year-round tourism offerings for the benefit of the region’s wider industry by building on the company’s already substantial authentic Marlborough experiences, while also enhancing local connections.
“We know that as an industry, Marlborough tourism will always deliver memorable, unique and first-class experiences, and, following the purchase of Punga and Furneaux Lodges, we are very excited to now be an even bigger part of that.”
Scott says the expansion demonstrates Marlborough Tour Company’s confidence in tourism growth in New Zealand, in Marlborough, and in the Queen Charlotte Track as an iconic tourist destination.
“Both lodges are an integral part of the overall track experience.”
With ‘fantastic and exciting’ plans in the pipeline for both lodges, Marlborough Tour Company hopes to draw more local people in to enjoy a slice of paradise so close to home.
“People flock from all over the world to see this stunning place, and we’d love to share more of it with locals. Furneaux and Punga are perfect for a cheeky overnight getaway, a special weekend escape or a relaxing short break, without the pressure of lengthy travel times.
“Or, make a day of it. Cruise scenic Queen Charlotte Sound, walk some of the track, then enjoy a leisurely lunch on Furneaux’s expansive lawn or try one of Punga’s legendary pizzas on the jetty. Finish off with another relaxing cruise back to Picton in the late afternoon. You really can’t ask for a better day out in your own backyard.”