Situated at the northernmost point of New Zealand’s North Island, the pretty coastal town of Picton is the link the joins the country’s two great islands. It’s so much more than just a stopover between the islands, however, and is well worth an extended visit.
Immerse yourself in the collection of charming cafes, speciality shops, galleries and restaurants. Charter a cruise or fishing journey out into the extensive network of sea-drowned valleys that are Marlborough Sounds. Or simply enjoy the wide-swathes of coast available on Picton’s doorstep – a fifth of New Zealand’s total coastline, in fact.
We list some of the top activities and attractions to check out when you’re there next.
Go cruising through the Marlborough Sounds
Sometime in the distant past, thanks to a combination of land subsidence and rising sea levels, Mother Nature produced the stunning drowned landscape of the Marlborough Sounds. The many landmasses in this collection of peninsulas, islands, and seas are the reason a fifth of the country’s coastline can be found here, just a short trip from Picton.
The appeal honestly can’t be put into words, and you simply have to experience this wondrous landmark for yourself. Luckily enough, there are plenty of cruises available from Picton to take you through the drowned mountains and hillsides.
Beachcomber Cruises is one such outfit that offers a number of different tours throughout the Sounds. Perhaps the most unique option is the Mail Boat Cruise, which, as the name hints at, actually allows you to deliver mail by water in what is an officially recognised post service. What better way to immerse yourself in the local community and live like the kiwis do?
Enjoy kayaking through the Queen Charlotte Sound
If you’d prefer to see the Sounds up close and personal, we recommend embarking on a guided adventure kayak tour. Hugging the coastline, you will be treated to stunning views of the native bush and the thriving marine life that call these waters home. Better yet, you’ll also be able to glide across the exact point the waters transition from a deep blue, to a lush green.
Head into wine territory
Once you’ve had enough of the water, head inland to the region of Marlborough itself to partake in the much-loved pastime of a winery tour. The region is responsible for producing close to a whopping 77% of the country’s total wine; so you know you’ll be able to find a good drop. The area is particularly known for its Sauvignon Blanc, closely followed by its Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Experience Kaipupu Wildlife Sanctuary
Spanning 40 hectares, and entirely surrounded by a predator-proof fence, the Kaipupu Wildlife Sanctuary is a community restoration project committed to protecting New Zealand’s wildlife. Visitors are allowed to stroll through this haven of natural flora and fauna, and are encouraged to look for some of the country’s stunning bird life and other protected wildlife species.
Make sure to add Picton to your New Zealand itinerary and explore the unique landscapes that surround this coastal paradise.