The beautiful tree fern - or 'punga', particularly the silver fern, is an iconic symbol in New Zealand.
And Punga Cove is named for the many varieties of lush green tree ferns that grow in abundance in this part of the Marlborough Sounds, creating a unique and beautiful environment that remains all year round.
That’s why you’ll find that our rooms and apartments, too, bear names that reflect the importance of these beautiful native plants to our environment.
So which fern and room suits you best?
There are two groups of tree ferns in New Zealand - Cyathea and Dicksonia. Often, all tree ferns are labelled as “punga” in New Zealand, but a closer look reveals there are many different types. The proper name for the silver fern is actually “ponga”. If you’re walking through the bush, you can pick out the two main types; Cyathea tree ferns (five species of which are endemic to New Zealand) have scales on their trunks, while the Dicksonia species (three of which are native to New Zealand) have hairy trunks. The silver fern belongs to the Cyathea group.
Punga Cove’s Fern Studios are in an elevated position on our hillside, with sweeping views across the cove. The chalets are self-contained and have their own private balcony, perfect for sitting back with a drink on a beautiful Marlborough Sounds evening. Choose from a king bed or two singles.
The mamaku fern, also known as a black tree fern, is part of the Cyathea group of tree ferns. New Zealand’s tallest fern, it can grow to an impressive 20 metres tall, so can often be seen rising above the forest canopy, creating a lush tropical look within the bush. Mamaku ferns are common in the North Island and even grow on some Pacific Islands, but in the South Island are only found in select frost-free areas, such as here in Endeavour Inlet. You’ll recognise the mamaku fern for its black frond stalks and of course its distinctive height.
Punga Cove has four Mamaku Apartments, positioned for the views and the Marlborough sunshine. The spacious two-bedroom apartments offer various layout options for groups and families, including expansive decks to enjoy the beautiful surroundings with a glass of something delicious.
Another iconic and deeply traditional symbol which is seen in motifs throughout Aotearoa, particularly within the Māori culture, is the koru. This is a Māori word which refers to the newly emerging leaves of a fern, coiled into a spiral. Traditionally, koru represents new beginnings and growth.
Punga Cove’s retro Koru Chalets are something truly unique and special, and a favourite with our guests. The cosy A-frame studios, perfect for up to two people, are nestled into the hillside, surrounded by bush yet open to the views and sunshine. Each of our six chalets is completely self-contained, and perfectly proportioned to feel just right.
The mature leaves of a fern is called a frond. The silver fern or ponga is a national symbol and is named for the silver underside of its fronds.
As you made your way to Punga Cove by boat or Queen Charlotte Track, you may have noticed that tree ferns often have brown, dry fronds draping down the trunk. This does not normally mean the fern is lacking water or dying: As the old fronds reach the end of their life, they remain on the tree to protect the centre while new fronds form. After all, with an ancient lineage that stretch back far beyond dinosaurs, ferns have had time to perfect their design and survival strategies.
Punga Cove’s Frond Suites are truly an experience. Located high on the hill above the cove, the views across the cove to the fern-clad hillsides and Endeavour Inletare unrivalled, and best enjoyed from your private sun deck.
After walking the Queen Charlotte Track, or making your way here by boat, coming home to these suites is a truly spectacular reward.