Deb and Brett Cusiel have operated Debretts
backpackers for 17 years here at Portage Bay. We have enjoyed living here now for
two decades and we both love the Sounds, the sea, the bird life, great weather and
fabulous bush, and of course the fishing.
The stunning vista's are everywhere and their beauty never ceases to amaze,
how views change, and how different they can be from different view points.
Tranquil beaches and calm morning waters are really something that still make us
stop for a moment and admire the beauty that is the Marlborough sounds.
Great walks, Great veiws,Great place to Stay.
Debretts is on Kenepuru's north facing shore in the historic Portage Bay. Portage (to portage) came from the indigenous Maori, who carried or transported their Waka from the Kenepuru Sound, up and over the Portage/Torea Saddle and down into the Queen Charlotte Sound, thus having access to both Sounds. This link was vital to settlers as well, as there was no road, or only parts of the road as we know now, and boat was the common means of transport in the Sounds and from Picton and Havelock. In 1863 the crown granted land in Portage Bay and the first house was built. In 1875 the first post office and grocery shop was opened. Around 1914 the the lease for the Sounds mail contract changed hands and the first official guest house was also built. This burnt down and in 1926 and a larger guest house was built. In 1952 Portage was granted a full publican's licence and the Constable is reputed to have asked with a grin, "what will you do with one you have been using for the last thirty years?" Leading on to the existing Portage Resort today.
The Portage Bay shop was built in 1987 and stocked supplies of every nature for locals, holiday makers and trampers, with food, fuel, accommodation and activities to cater for everyone. Brett worked here for a number of years after the shop opened and Deb joined the team later, where they eventually took over the lease for four years. At the expiry of the lease Brett and Deb purchased land in Portage Bay and built Debretts.
While in Portage Bay you can dine at the Portage Resort or visit the local store. Have a beer or local Marlborough wine.
Swim off the beach or take a water taxi to walk short sections of the Queen Charlotte track, take a packed lunch and we can drop you at a secluded beach for you to soak up some Marlborough sun and warm inland sea.
Debretts is situated at the half way point on the Queen Charlotte Track
Debretts is situated at the half way point on the Queen Charlotte Track at Portage Bay, below the Torea Saddle. The Queen Charlotte Track is a 3-4 day tramp at a total distance of 71 kilometres. The Track's start point is at Ship Cove, in the outer Sounds and traverses the Sounds all the way to Anakiwa, home of Outward Bound.
Transportation from Picton is about one hour by boat to the start of the Track, and pack or luggage transfers between your accommodation providers can be arranged with you preferred boat company.
Please remember to keep packs to a comfortable weight as they are handled many times when being transferred from boats, wharves, vehicles and to accommodation. 15 Kg is the recommended weight and please remember to name your luggage in accordance with the name you have made accommodation bookings for so there is no confusion.
The charm of this track is that you can walk any section of the track you wish. You need only carry your day pack with provisions for your walk .
Pack a warm jacket and a torch if you are tramping over the winter months, and sturdy shoes or boots are recommended. The coastal environment can change quickly at times so be prepared. You can also opt to catch the boat to your next nights accommodation should you choose not to walk any of the sections. It is advantageous to let your accommodation provider know if you wish an early check in. Some areas have good mobile phone service, more so as you approach Torea Saddle. Please support the Queen Charlotte Track by buying your Track Pass
QUEEN CHARLOTTE TRACK – Q.C.T.L.C. Pass
The Queen Charlotte Track is a unique partnership between the Department of Conservation, Marlborough District Council and Private Landowners.
A Queen Charlotte Track Land Cooperative [Q.C.T.L.C.] Pass is required for hikers and bikers on Q.C.T.L.C. private land between Kenepuru Saddle and Anakiwa . School children are free.The Pass fee, $12 for 1 – 4 days, and $25 for a Season Pass, contributes to Track Maintenance, Enhancement and Access. Passes are available in Picton, Blenheim, Wellington, Nelson and on the Track. Please see for more details.