Picton Tourist Attractions
Picton, where the ferries sailing between the South and the North Island (Wellington) put in, lies at the northeastern tip of the South Island, at the head of one branch of picturesque Queen Charlotte Sound, 30km north of Blenheim.This little port, where Katherine Mansfield often stayed, is hemmed in by steep hills. In spite of the busy ferry traffic it has retained its original character. As the many yachts in its marina indicate, it is a popular holiday resort.
Smith Memorial Museum
The Smith Memorial Museum on London Quay commemorates the whaling tradition in this area since the mid-19th C Whaling ceased only in the 1960s.
Victoria Domain Lookout
On the way to Waikawa Bay (northeast of the town) is the Victoria Domain Lookout, from which there are fine views of the town and Queen Charlotte Sound.
Queen Charlotte Sound
North of Picton is Queen Charlotte Sound, a beautiful arm of the sea with many picturesque inlets. The best way to see the marvelous coastal scenery is by boat - the finest places are Mistletoe Bay, the Bay of Many Coves, Endeavor Inlet, Resolution Bay and Ship Cove. The Queen Charlotte Walkway, a beautiful trail offering no great difficulties, runs from Anakiwa to Ship Cove. There is also a road, Queen Charlotte Drive, through this picturebook landscape. From Picton there are organized boat excursions and fishing trips that take visitors, among other places, to Ship Cove, where Captain Cook called in several times, Queen Charlotte Sound and further out into the Marlborough Sounds. For divers there is a trip to the wreck of the Soviet cruise ship Mikhail Lermontov, which sank in Port Gore in 1986.
Robin Hood Bay
It is well worth an excursion from Picton to the picturesque Robin Hood Bay in the east; the steep sections of road require a confident driver.
8km from Picton, to the north of Waikawa Bay, is the Karaka Point Reserve, in which are the remains of a Maori pa.
At its narrowest point Cook Strait, the storm-swept channel between the North and South Islands of New Zealand, is only 23km wide. The ferry crossing takes nearly 31/2 hours. The first hour (from Picton) is spent sailing through the beautiful Marlborough Sounds; then follows an hour and a half in the open sea, and finally three-quarters of an hour in Wellington's huge natural harbor.
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