Queen Charlotte Sound / Tōtaranui and Tory Channel / Kura Te Au, separated by Arapawa Island, are the two shipping routes from the Cook Strait to Picton Harbour. Queen Charlotte Sound / Tōtaranui itself is a long, heavily indented, deep inlet located on the North coast of the South Island. The area is subject to heavy gusts coming off high land and from mountain gullies during strong winds in Cook Strait.
Queen Charlotte Sound/Tōtaranui and Tory Channel/Kura Te Au are represented on charts NZ 463 & NZ 615 at a scale of 1:100,000, on NZ 6153 at a scale of 1:36,000. Picton Harbour and the entrance to Tory Channel/Kura Te Au are also represented on NZ 6154 at a scale of 1:10,000 and 1:10,000 (Picton Wharves at 1:3,000).
The area has large extents of the seabed which were last surveyed in 1942-43.