A visit to the ‘other’ French Pass

With all the discussion lately about the origins of the French Pass Road in Cambridge maybe a reference to the French Pass in the Marlborough Sounds is appropriate. It had been our long-held ambition to visit the ‘other’ French Pass from the one here in Cambridge on which we have lived for many years. And in March of this year we did just that.

French Pass is situated in the Marlborough Sounds, at the top of the South Island. To get there, we turned off SH 6 between Nelson and Blenheim at the Rai Valley sign- post. The 64 km drive to French Pass is truly spectacular. The narrow and winding road passes through dense bush and seaside settlements. It is sealed to Elaine Bay. The remaining section is unsealed, travelling through open farmland with wandering stock, cattle stops, loose metal, dust and corrugations. It is not for the faint hearted. We were however, rewarded with magnificent sea views in all directions including the French Pass itself and D’Urville Island to the North. It is a two hour journey each way.