The wonderful Marlborough Sounds

Trip Start Oct 01, 2012
Trip End Oct 01, 2015

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Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Friday, January 31, 2014

It was only about an hours drive up to Picton where we were to base ourselves to explore the nearby Marlborough sounds, we headed straight for the Information centre booked a water taxi for the following day to take us over to the queen charlotte track and enquired about campsites, unfortunately the one we chose was not accessible via campervan so the lady suggested another one for us. Once we had all that sorted we decided to explore the town – we headed through the park which looked out over the sounds and stopped at a bar overlooking the water and this is where we stayed for the remainder of the afternoon sipping white wine and eating mussels. The Marlborough sounds are famous for their green lipped mussel farms so we thought what better place to try them out. They were huge – tai and my dad really enjoyed them but I preferred the clams that marion had ordered as the mussels were a little too big for me. anyway it was a lovely afternoon, the sun was shining and we realised there was so much to do in picton that were would just stay there for 3 days instead of heading over to able tasman. After lunch we drove to the campsite which was fabulous – we got a pitch right on the edge of the water and sat in the sunshine looking in awe at the beauty that surrounded us, the campsite office said that dolphins were in the bay that morning and orcas just a few days ago – we were hopeful to see some.

The following morning we headed off to get our water taxi over to the queen charlotte track – we initially thought we would do a 15km walk to the next taxi point unfortunately they didn't leave that much time so we decided to get dropped off at another point an head off on smaller tracks in search of waterfalls. It was a great option as we were the only ones around, we walked up to the waterfall which was about a 45 minute uphill climb through native forest and sat on a rock and had some lunch. When we got back down to the path we decided to venture off in another direction and after a while came across a very friendly donkey which we fed for a while and I wondered how we could persuade our landlady to allow us to have a donkey! The sand flies were out in force so we carried on up the track until we realised we had to turn around and head back in time for some refreshments and to get the taxi back to picton. Marion had got chatted up the day before by a guy who had recommended a restaurant in town so we went there and had some snacks before heading back to the campsite and going to bed. The following day we awoke and had a lazy morning at camp, we decided to try and book onto a fishing trip however the winds were too high that day so we booked another boat trip for the following day and decided to head out to explore the nearby surrounds. First off though was my dads favourite past time – dumping the waste water which was now overflowing into the shower – gross! After trying to find the tap to empty the tank proved unsuccessful we asked a nearby camper if they could help – they confirmed our suspicions the tap had broken off and so we had no way of dumping it! We realised a bit of bad news means a very stressed mark medley! We tried to get him to chill out though and borrowed a wrench from the campsite and heading off into town to the dumping station to try and do it manually – unfortunately the drain was raised and so we could not do it into here so there was only one option – we had to illegally empty the tank somewhere else – we find a quiet road – put a map on the bonnet of the camper so people would assume we were lost while the boys wrench the tap open and the water drained onto the grass! Luckily no one stopped to see if we needed a hand with directions as the only map we had was one of the north island and im sure they would of realised that something was up! unfortunately by the time this little mission was completed we didn’t have time to head off anywhere so we headed to a restaurant in town and enjoyed some more locally caught fish. The evening was a fairly quite one, we ate cheese and sampled the wine we had bought at cloudy bay and headed to bed at what seemed to be our curfew during the holiday at 10pm!

The next day we awoke to a beautifully clear and sunny day – we packed up and headed around the sounds to where we would be beginning our boat tour – we were all pretty excited about this trip as we each had our own boat between 2 of us to speed around on the sounds. Another stressful journey of M & M driving and we soon arrived at the venue – it turns out to be a family run business and the couples house was on the edge of the water overlooking the sounds, we had a safety talk and explanation about how to work the boats and off we went. Marion was a little nervous to be getting into a boat driven by my dad and who can blame her he doesn’t exactly have the best record on the water! There was nothing to worry about though and after getting used to the steering we were soon speeding off over the sounds to the other side where we followed the coastline of uninhabited areas which were full of native forest. The sun was shining and the water was millpond still – it was amazing. The next 4 hours or so we sped around the waters, jumping the wakes of other boats and careering from side to side – it was so much fun and to top it all off the scenery was out of this world – it was by far the best thing we had done since we had got here over a year ago! The guy that ran it showed us a mussel farm where they produce over $200,000,000 worth of mussels per year!  We then headed off to a deserted beach where we pulled up and stretched our legs for a while – marion at this point even picked up a jelly fish!! Very brave!! We all then eagerly jumped back into the boat and continued our journey back, it was all over far too quickly but has definitely made us want to buy a boat now!!  We tour operators suggested we head to havelock for lunch and mentioned a place that was great for mussels called the mussel pot so us and another family headed there for some lunch. I decided to go for clams this time after lunch a couple of days ago whereas tai who was stuck for choice decided he wanted a bit of everything and ordered a mussel platter for 2 just for himself! Lunch was great and we could of spent all afternoon in the garden of the restaurant soaking up the sunshine but it was time to get back on the road and start making our way back down south. We had decided to spend our final couple of days relaxing in a place called hanmer springs – an alpine village famous for its hot springs. 5 hours and a lot of windy roads later we were checked into a campsite by someone who seemed to be a customer of Heisenberg! It had been a fantastic day and we all relaxed at the campsite and chatted about the great time we had had up in Marlborough sounds.
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