for the Interislander Ferries
to Do in Wellington
to Stay in Wellington
What's on in Wellington
Where to Stay in Picton
What's on in Picton
travelling by InterIslander
ferry from the North Island of New Zealand to the South Island
your entry point to the beautiful Marlborough region is the lovely
port of Picton.
a population of fewer than 4000 people Picton fair hums in summer
as tourists invade to check out what the region has to offer - and
believe me there is a lot.
Picton you can check out the Edwin
Fox Maritime Museum, home of the world's ninth-oldest wooden
ship, and the Ecoworld Aquarium
and Terrarium. The aquarium is pretty cool and will have the
kids entertained for a while.
beachfront is very pretty so if all you want to do is sit down with
a drink before you head elsewhere then it is the perfect spot.
Picton you have two choices of direction. East, towards Blenheim
and Kaikoura, or west towards Nelson,
the Tasman park region, or the West Coast.
headed westward first as the travel times that way seem to be a
little less precise than the major route between Blenheim, Kaikoura
and Christchurch and we could make
up any extra time later on in the journey.
you are heading to Nelson then your choices are a main highway or
a windy 35km journey down the Queen Charlotte Drive. Even with two
kids in the car that had to be the way to go as people had recommended
it and so off we went.
isn't a hard drive - although it isn't fast - but the benefits are
getting some terrific water views. The end of the drive is a town
called Havelock, which is built on the junction of the Kaiuma and
Pelorus rivers. It is renowned as the capital of green-shelled mussels
- a delicious New Zealand seafood that you must try.
is a lovely city in one of the most sunny climates in New Zealand.
Relaxed but charming it offers beaches, good restaurants and some
lovely gardens to wander through.
Queens Gardens, which are located in
the centre of Nelson, have historic and rare trees, large ponds
and an atmosphere of serenity.
Isel Park, which has a historic stone
house as its centrepiece, is a six-hectare woodland garden with
several trees that are the largest of their kind in New Zealand.
Some date back to the very early days of European settlement in
New Zealand. Spring is the best time to visit Isel Park as mass
plantings of bulbs and perennials are at their best then.
and an eating tip - try the Hot Rock gourmet pizza and pasta bar
in Tahuananui Drive in Nelson. The pizzas are glorious and the atmosphere
Nelson it's about 50 kilometres to Motueka and then it's on to one
of the great hidden secrets of New Zealand - Kaiteriteri
is a sensational spot with a lovely beach surrounded by islands
and bushy promontories. Fantastic spot to swim, sunbathe or partake
of the excellent fish and chips available from the local takeaways
the road from Kaiteriteri is Split
Apple Rock. This is an amazing natural phenomenon where a large
rock has been split into two and looks just like the sliced fruit.
You can do a half-day kayak out to Split Apple Rock, or drive to
just above the spot and walk down through bush to the beach. It
is a very tranquil place and I have to say seeing Split Apple Rock
is one of the great sights I have taken away from the Nelson region.
can also take kayak journeys from
Marahau, which is north of Kaiteriteri and the main entry to
the Abel Tasman National Park.
Marahau you can book trips to swim with the seals through Swim Seal
where you take a 45-minute scenic trip on a water taxi to Tonga
Island Marine Reserve. There you can hop into the water for an hour
or so and have a great time with the playful seals.
Seal is an eco-friendly adventure that let's you join the seals
in their natural environment and the operators say their trips take
you to the warmest waters in New Zealand to swim with the seals.
you are into walking or hiking then the Abel Tasman National Park
has been rated as one of the most beautiful in New Zealand. Along
the 51-kilometre track, which will take you between three and five
days to finish, there are scores of exceptional sea and landscape
offering inspiring vistas is Takaka
Hill - between Motueka and Golden Bay - and don't take any notice
of tales of very windy roads it was fine to navigate.
are plenty of things to explore on Takaka Hill, namely the Ngarua
Caves and a heap of very deep 'holes' that cavers keep getting trapped
places of interest near Takaka are the Bencarri
Nature Park and Cafe and the Waikoropupu Springs.
cafe is a top place to stop for a breather and to let the kids work
off energy among a variety of farm animals and some pretty cool
'tame' eels that allow you to feed them.
springs, better known as the Pupu
Springs, are the biggest freshwater ones in New Zealand and
the water is clearer than you can possibly imagine.
on is the town of Collingwood - and
its driftwood bedecked beach - and then the spectacular Farewell
spit is a huge wetland that is a major bird sanctuary and also offers
fabulous sand dunes that would make Lawrence of Arabia feel at home.
This is a really restful part of the country to explore with lots
of very interesting sights to see.