Pretty as a picture in Picton…

Arriving in Picton was a momentous occasion for us as it marked our crossing from New Zealand’s North Island to its South Island! The sun was shining as our ferry pulled into the harbour and we almost felt like we were starting our New Zealand trip all over again!

The first thing we did was meet the owner of Go Wild – the camper van company that we’d rented Fred from, as he had a new fridge for us as we’ve been having trouble with the current one.

After that, we drove around to the marina and paid a visit to the “i-site” information centre, before heading up to Karaka Point, where we had fantastic views of Marlborough and Queen Charlotte Sounds.

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Later that evening we cooked dinner whilst overlooking Picton Foreshore…

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After we had eaten we followed up on a ‘tip from the locals’ that we had read in an AA tourist magazine. This tip told us about a track leading into the Essens Valley, where we would be able to spot hundreds of glow worms after dark. The track was pitch black, muddy and we needed our torch to get around, but the sight we eventually stumbled upon was well worth the 30 minute walk! A wall of glistening green and white lights shone out in front of us – twinkling like the stars above. It was absolutely beautiful and we stood and watched them for what seemed like ages before walking back to the van.

That night, we parked up in a small rest area just off the state highway, with two or three other vehicles who had already found their spot for the night.

The next day, we awoke bright and early, showered at Picton Marina (where there are coin-operated hot showers, just behind the main Islander ferry terminal) and drove round to the start of a walking track called the Tirohanga Walkway. This 2km track wound steeply up a forest covered hill. The track led us to a lookout on the top of the hill where we got fantastic views of Picton town, marina, Waikawa Bay and across Marlborough Sounds.

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The lookout was the last of our Picton activities as we decided then to head down South and start our tour of the South Island. We were currently in the region of Marlborough, which is famous for producing the majority of New Zealand’s wine. It would be a shame if we missed out on sampling its produce first hand, so we decided that it was time for a little wine tour of our own…

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