Havelock is 43km from Blenheim and at the junction between the highly scenic Queen Charlotte Drive to Picton and the State Highway 6 to Nelson. It was founded as a result of the gold rushes in the nineteenth century at Linkwater, Cullensville and the Wakamarina valley. The town grew from nothing to having 23 hotels and a thriving port in a matter of months. Milling of native timber in the nearby Kaituna and Pelorus valleys again increased the activity in Havelock from where logs were exported to Australia and the rest of New Zealand.
Currently, tourism and mussel farming are the principal areas of importance in the economy. A fish and mussel processing unit has set up to service the local farmers as well as facilities for the many tour operators and boaties. Only a few hotels remain but new shops catering for the townspeople and visitors alike have set up.
Annually, Havelock hosts a mussel festival in March, with a range of food and entertainment on offer.
A water taxi service provides a link to the start of the Nydia Track which provides tramping access through to a DOC camp site in Nydia Bay.
A number of arts and crafts are produced in and around Havelock.
Named after Sir Henry Havelock a British general at the time of the Indian Mutiny, Havelock has seen its share of famous people. Lord Rutherford and Dr William Pickering, both scientists of international fame spent their childhoods in Havelock.