There is something nice about travelling by ferry. Maybe it’s the short hop between very different places, maybe it’s the taste of the high sea? Anyway hopping between North and South Islands of New Zealand by ferry sounded far better than flying. So we boarded the ferry as foot passengers in Wellington and managed to grab the reclining chairs right at the very front of the ship before anyone else. Years of practice commuting into London helped.
Strangely, going to South Island doesn’t entail going south at all because Picton is almost due west of Wellington. It lies amongst myriads of inlets known as the Marlborough Sounds. The ferry has to make its way down a narrow passageway between headlands and islands. Like threading a needle, the ship is sailed accurately along channels, sometimes making 90 degree turns, until it docks in Picton.
Picton itself was far nicer than one could expect from a ferry port. Surrounded by steep wooded hills, and with a nice marina area, it was a very pleasant stop-over for one night.
The stay was made even more enjoyable by our Airbnb hosts Kurt and Trisha. Kurt, an Austrian architect, was friendly and funny, and Trisha took us to a neighbours garden to pick as many ripe plums as we wanted.