Sunday, 11 December 2011

New Zealand Tour. 25th to 27th September 2011. Picton to Wellington.

Reading about the Port of Picton in the Tourist Bibles (LP &RG) you don’t really get a feel for the place. ‘its a busy port as its the main access point for the South Island’ I’m thinking Dover? And due to this,  I am also thinking, I don't like busy Dover so let’s stay in Haverlock or Blenheim??? How wrong can you get!
Europeans don’t be put off, don’t confuse the lovely town of Picton with our own busy Port towns, for example, the above mentioned Dover, Piraeus, or Hamburg may spring to mind! It is not like them.....Picton is a sleepy hollow, New Zealand version of a Port.
Picton is picturesque; the town is a good place to stay. It has a lot of very reasonable priced accommodation, good restaurants, a variety of companies offering day trips to the Marlborough Sounds or the Queen Charlotte Track and I think it is the perfect base for exploring the whole Marlborough Region. So don’t overlook it, like we almost did.  
Our plan was to do lots of the available activities, but by now all I wanted to do was relax, so we turned up and booked into The Apartments on the Waterfront, 45 Beach Road, Waikawa Marina, Picton... and for £60.00 we got........a fully self contained apartment that could have slept 5 people in two bedrooms. The complex had a pool and Spa. The flat had the two bedrooms, a bathroom and a laundry on the ground floor, a large sitting room with 2 balconies, a fully equipped kitchen and a cloakroom on the upper floor. It was clean and a real home from home. From here we enjoyed a relaxing three days that consisted of not doing very much to enjoying a day out in the Marlborough Wine Country, tasting the wines and eating a decedent meal at the Highfield Estate.


The Malbrough Wine Trail leaflet can be picked up at the i Site, on one side is a map and on the other a list of all the Wineries and the facilities they provide. I saw some wines I knew in this area, The Brancott Estate, Wither Hills, Cloudy Bay and Highfeild. We ended up at Highfeild as it was easy to find.
When it was time to leave the South Island I was sad, I loved it. I really liked the town and area of Nelson.
The ferry had been pre booked by Britz the Campervan company. It was the Interislander. There was another company in the harbour, Bluebridge. If I had had the choice I would have booked Bluebridge as the Interislander ferry was old and looked very poorly maintained, it was making the Greek Vessels we used on our Greek Island Adventure look like luxury liners. I did not think the Ferry looked Seaworthy, just one example of this was that the chains holding up the lifeboats were rusted, and I mean thick with rust, if the lifeboats were needed I don't think the chains would move, the whole ship had a faded, dilapidated, uncared for look to it. I did not relax one bit on the 3 hour crossing to Wellington and despite being very sad at leaving the South Island I was glad to get my feet on the firm soil of the North Island.