Our mega-cruise ship pulled into the commercial dock in the small town of Pickton located in the Marlborough Sound on the northern end of the South Island of New Zealand. The landscape is mountainous with lush vegetation.
Instead of the usual containers, piles of trees harvested and prepared for lumber greeted us.
The small terminal building was nearby but not concerned with visitors.
The town is about a ten-minute bus ride from the dock and our ship provided a shuttle bus. Although the distance to town is short you would probably not want to walk it because of the lack of sidewalks or walking paths. The shuttle bus dropped us off in the middle of town and a greeter welcomed us.
The greeter provided us with a map of the town.
Using the map and well placed signs we found our way to the tourist information building.
If you want to book a tour this is the place to go. They have brochures from vendors all over the area and you can find a huge variety of activities to do with a guide or on your own.
A walk through the town takes less than an hour although you can certainly find places where you can linger and enjoy the view of the mountains…
or the harbor.
Banks and ATMs can be found on along with restaurants and cafes,
as well as bars. At least one of these had a sense of humor.
A pretty park sits on the edge of the water, a nice spot for a picnic.
A local craft sale sprung to life when the cruise ship pulled in.
An old style hotel gave character to the whole scene.
Picton can be enjoyed by foot or bike. Pick up a map at that Tourist information.
Wine tasting appears to be a very big draw for the region around Picton and many opportunities for wine tasting are possible if your ship’s departure is late enough in the afternoon.
A map at the information center shows the Marlborough Wine Trail for those wanting to do it themselves.
The reverse side of the map gives information on each of the wineries.
A car rental office is located right across the street from the tourist information building.
The Maoris occupied the area around Picton for 700 years before the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman arrived in1642. Later in 1770 Captain Cook arrived, claimed it for the British and named the sound on which it was located after Queen Charlotte the consort of the then King of England, George III. Fifty years later a whaling station was established but since 1964 whales can not be killed and have become tourist attractions.
The town of Picton has profited from a gold strike in 1864. A regular ferry to Wellington on the North Island is a principal mode of transportation, but it’s still a small town with a population of only 3,000 people. With a quiet charm the town enjoys beautiful countryside and the benefits of a seaside community.
The official currency is the New Zealand dollar. ATMs and banks are located in town on the main street, Auckland Street. Banking ours are 9:30am-4pm Monday to Friday.