About Furneaux

Immerse yourself in nature.

About Furneaux

Escape away from the hustle and bustle of city life and make your way to Furneaux Lodge and its beautiful, tranquil grounds. With limited internet and cellphone reception, your stay here is guaranteed to be relaxing and stress free. This magnificent Marlborough Sounds accommodation is an exclusive bush retreat and eco resort that is steeped in history, making it perfect for a romantic weekend getaway. 

Our modern waterfront suites are contemporary one bedroom apartments, and are absolutely private with stunning views. The self-contained two bedroom cottages have panoramic views and are great for family groups and people hiking the Queen Charlotte Track. In combination with our award winning restaurant, it is the premier wedding venue in the Sounds and a popular location for conferences.

Relaxing and peaceful, the Lodge is family-owned and operated. Our attention to guests and passion for Furneaux and the Marlborough Sounds will ensure that your time here is enjoyable and memorable. 

Facilities available

  • Fully licensed restaurant serving an all-day menu
  • Drying room
  • Mountain bikes, kayaks & SUPs free for guests to use
  • Moorings are available free of charge for guests staying with us or eating in the restaurant. Mooring charge for visitors $25 (overnight)
  • Small shop with basic supplies
  • WiFi available in the main lodge - there is no mobile phone reception in our area

Our Environment

Conservation at Furneaux

Furneaux Lodge is proactive about conservation and environmentally-friendly initiatives and practices to protect our slice of paradise. Our single use plastic shampoo/conditioning etc bottles are being replaced with larger refillable bottles in each room. Milk is delivered in 10 litre or 20 litre bladders, reducing plastic consumption noticeably. Likewise mixers for drinks (ie coke etc) are no longer in plastic containers but in aluminium tins, and there is a general move away from the use of gladwrap. We're also revisiting the packed lunches for people walking/running the track.

As part of our enviro work and caring about the beautiful environment that surrounds us we support a range of local community initiatives that have a similar vision, to preserve and restore the environment we live and work in, including:

Endeavour Inlet Conservation Trust

Marlborough Sounds Restoration Trust

Kaipupu Wildlife Sanctuary

Picton Dawn Chorus 

Our forests

Furneaux Lodge is located near 2,000 acres of extremely rare and precious virgin native forest. Within it are native beech and rimu - giants of the forest. The Marlborough Sounds is clad in a huge variety of vegetation, from lush sub-tropical rainforest as seen here around Endeavour Inlet, to manuka scrub and gorse. Much of the Marlborough Sounds was cleared for farming and timber, but a number of conservation projects are now allowing native forest to regenerate.


Endeavour Inlet is home to much of the plentiful bird and marine life that call the Marlborough Sounds home. You are almost guaranteed to encounter a cheeky and bold flightless weka during your stay, or on the Queen Charlotte Track. Also look out for kereru (wood pigeon), tui, piwakawaka (fantail), kotare (kingfishers) and the rare King shag.

In the water, we often see passing pods of dolphins, Little Blue Penguins, seals, eagle rays and stingrays and even the occasional orca or whale.

History of Furneaux Lodge

Furneaux Lodge is centred around what was once the holiday home of Scottish immigrants Patrick and Elizabeth Howden who arrived in New Zealand in 1878 and, living in Wellington, regularly holidayed in Endeavour Inlet.

In 1904, Patrick Howden purchased 1406 hectares of land under Mt Furneaux - named by Captain James Cook after Captain Tobias Furneaux - and built what is today the main lodge. In 1932 son Harry Howden, by then a distinguished navy captain who was living in Australia, purchased and subdivided some of the property. When Harry Howden died, he left most of the land to the Government and people of New Zealand as scenic reserve, while some of the remaining land was left to family members.

In 1971, Frank and Vi Matthews of Christchurch bought Furneaux and upgraded the existing building, adding extra accommodation with independent chalets in what had been a sheep paddock. Frank Matthews took great care to retain the character of the original house in his renovations and extensions. This was to be the start of Furneaux Lodge as an accommodation resort. This included a stone croft built in 1975 from boulders out of the creek. The lodge’s campground was closed in 2004 and waterfront suites added between then and 2006.

In 2018, Furneaux Lodge was bought by Marlborough Tour Company, which was owned by longtime Marlborough families and tourism operators – the Godsiffs and the Burkharts. In 2019, the Godsiffs sold their remaining shares to the Burkharts brothers.

The Furneaux Lodge bell

The bell at the front of Furneaux Lodge harbours a fascinating past involving kidnappings, bandits and a daring rescue. Originally owned by a Spanish Mission in China, in 1930 the bell was given by Bishop Galvin and Roman Catholic missionaries to Lieutenant Commander (later Captain) Harry Howden, Furneaux’s former owner whose parents built the original lodge.

The gifted bell was a token of thanks to Howden and the crew of his ship, British naval gunboat HMS Mantis, for rescuing three of their missionaries from the middle Yangtze River in China. Fathers Laffen, Fernandez and Linenhan had been kidnapped for ransom by bandits and were being held at the town of Pialochi. Two Chinese emissaries from the town of Chenglin were sent to release the missionaries from the badits. Meanwhile, a sampan - small boat - was rigged and armed as a “Q boat”. Harry Howden and his crew used this boat to rescue the three missionaries.

He was later awarded an OBE for service while in command of the HMS Mantis.

Marlborough Sounds history

Māori inhabited the sheltered waterways of the Marlborough Sounds centuries before Europeans arrived. Many myths and legends surround the Sounds, including the battle between the great navigator and warrior Kupe and Wheke the giant octopus.

As Kupe fought Wheke in Raukawa/Cook Strait, the octopus tried to anchor himself to the earth and gouged out the Sounds’ complex land forms.

The first European contact came with Captain James Cook, who found shelter and abundant food and water in Meretoto/Ship Cove, located in Tōtaranui/Queen Charlotte Sound. Endeavour Inlet and Resolution Bay were named after Cook’s ships. Captain Tobias Furneaux captained the Endeavour’s sister ship, the Adventure.

Since Cook, the Sounds has seen many industries come and go including whaling, mining and pastoral farming. The latter resulted in the burning off of much native forest, some of which is regenerating now.
Today, aquaculture is one of the Sounds’ main industries, particularly King salmon and Greenshell mussels.

About Marlborough

The Marlborough Sounds top the wider Marlborough region, which features a huge variety of landscapes, from alpine to sweeping plains and the rugged Pacific east coast. Its main centres are Blenheim, Picton and Renwick, and the smaller settlements of Havelock, Seddon and Ward.

Marlborough’s dry, sunny climate makes it perfect for wine production and it has become New Zealand’s largest wine industry, which stretches across the Wairau and Awatere Valleys. It is best known for its flagship variety, sauvignon blanc, but also produces many other quality wine styles.

Accommodation at Furneaux Lodge

We offer a range of accommodation options, from contemporary suites to family and group-friendly cottages and basic cabins.

Endeavour Suites

Private contemporary waterfront 1-bedroom suites with stunning Inlet views.

Cook's Cottages

Comfortable, well-appointed 2-bedroom cottages with outdoor living and views.

Hiker's Bunk Cabins

Basic units on the waterfront with single bunk beds, close to dining and beach.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

Relaxing and peaceful, the Lodge is family-owned and operated. Our attention to guests and passion for Furneaux and the Marlborough Sounds will ensure that your time here is enjoyable and memorable.