I crossed to Picton on the top of the south island from Wellington using the Bluebridge ferry. The only other option is the Interislander ferry, both take about 3 1/2 hours and both around 55 NZD.
The weather was good albeit a bit blustery but you soon forgot about this coming into the Marlborough sounds. The scenary is stunning with secluded bays and mountain back drops everywhere. As the ferry approaches you can’t actually see the entrance to the sounds until very close.
The ferry travels up the Queen Charlotte sound until it reaches its destination of Picton. The water is beautifully clear and home to apparantly 5 species of Dolphin, Orca, Humpback whales, seals and penquins, unfortunately i didn’t see any of these during the crossing though.
Turning the corner into the Queen Charlotte sound –
View from the ferry –
The Interislander ferry on its way to Picton –
Although Picton is a port it hasn’t got all the normal traits associated with a port. Its not very industrial, its not dirty, its not seedy, in fact far from it. Picton is a quaint seaside town where cafe culture rules ! Many cafes adorn the front with a nice marina nearby. The main town itself is only really a couple of blocks by a couple of blocks, you can’t really get lost and if you do you’ve done something very, very wrong.
View from Picton beach –
You can do a few hikes from Picton the most famous one being the Queen Charlotte track, being almost 70 kms long if can take anywhere between 3-5 days to complete. To get to any starting point you need to get a water taxi or any other kind of ferry to give you a lift and then pick you up afterwards. This adds to the expense a bit so i found a trek nearer to home which was free to do and only a few hours at most.
There is a trek called the Picton to Waikawa trek which can take a couple of hours to get to the peninsula, from here you can see the town of Waikawa, look out over the Queen Charlotte sound, and look back at Picton.
View over the Queen Charlotte Sound –
Most people seem to arrive on the ferry, stay a night then move onto their next stop which is a shame. Picton has a lot going for it and is worth spending at least a couple of days there even if you don’t do any trekking.
It was a great start to my 4 week trip around the south island, beautiful scenary, crystal clear waters, mountain views, nice people, good weather, just like a holiday should be !!