As we’ve said about many places before, it was sad to be leaving – this time, Golden Bay - and as we headed over the summit of Takaka Hill for the last time we had a fond look backwards over the Bay and up to Farewell Spit – it was certainly a final farewell this time.
Our journey to Picton took us back through Nelson where we encountered real warm sunshine when we stopped for a coffee and, seeing everyone walking about in their shorts and jandals we hoped the weather would continue. However, as we neared Picton, driving around the stunning Marlborough Sound coastline, the sky took on a dark and more wintry appearance. By the time we reached and found accommodation the rain was pouring down and it was measurably colder.
The Picton Top Ten Holiday Park was only a five minute short cut walk to the town centre via the ‘Coat Hanger’ bridge across the marina. It was pitch dark and a cold wind was blowing through rain as we tried to find our way into the town. Some short cut! But we eventually found our way across the bridge and came across a warm and welcoming hostelry in the shape of the Oxley Hotel. It looked very festive and we soon discovered the reason why – there was a big rugby union match involving the Hurricanes (Wellington) v the Crusaders (Christchurch) live on the big screen. As we learnt during the evening, Picton being at the northerly end of South Island and Wellington only three hours away across the Cook Strait, loyalties and support were divided – and this made for an excellent evening. We stayed, perched on our bar stools, enjoyed the local beer and wine, took in the warmth of the place and decided to stay for some excellent food. The return journey over the Coat Hanger was much easier to bear.
Upon arrival we’d booked our ferry for two days later and our accommodation in Wellington so would certainly be saying our goodbyes to South Island on Monday. The weather continued to be very cold and damp so we confined ourselves to some indoor sightseeing in the form of a visit to the local aquarium (actually much better than it is billed or looks ) and the museum of the Edwin Fox, apparently the ninth oldest floating ship in the world. Both were very good and worth a visit to pass the time. Picton is in a wonderful setting although it didn’t put on its Sunday Best for us. But we did make a new friend (albeit short term) in the form of a homeless cat who frequents the Top Ten Park. He/she made itself very much at home in our unit and knew where the door of the fridge was! No sooner had M lain down on the bed to read but Tui (as we named the cat) leapt up and curled up on her lap. Thereafter Tui was a regular visitor.
E & M xxx