Also known as the Torea saddle, the Portage is the neck of land at which Kenepuru and Queen Charlotte sounds approach each other most closely. Mid-19th-century settler Robert Blaymires regularly carried his boat from Torea to Kenepuru, and gave the name Portage to the route.
In pre-European days, Maori inhabitants found the best way to access the separate waterways and rich fishing grounds of Kenepuru Sounds was to carry their waka (canoes) and supplies (hence the term ‘Portage’) over Torea Saddle from the Queen Charlotte Sounds.
Early farming settlers positioned the Portage settlement at the head of Kenepuru Sounds because of the sheltered north-west facing bay, prime central position to the overall Kenepuru Sound, and the commanding view down the length of the Sounds. To this day, the sublime sunsets and views of the Kenepuru Sound support a thriving tourism sector that visits this stunning beautiful and uniquely pristine natural area.
By 1870 the Portage Lodge was providing guest stays and by 1912 it was a well-known guesthouse throughout New Zealand.