The gateway to the South Island and also the best base to explore the Marlborough Sounds, Picton is a small town that is full of activities during the peak of summer, but slow and sleepy any other time. The town is built around a harbor and deep-water port. It is only a 20-min (28km) drive from Blenheim or 1-hr 20-min (110km) drive from Nelson.
Picton i-SITE Visitor Centre
(Location: The Foreshore, Picton; Operating hours: Daily 8:30am-5:00pm; Phone: +64 3 520 3133; Website: www.destinationmarlborough.com ; Email: email@example.com )
1) Edwin Fox Maritime Centre
Built in Calcutta in 1853, the Edwin Fox is one of the oldest ships in the world. During its long and illustrious career, the Edwin Fox has ferried convicts, troops and immigrants. She was towed to Picton in 1897, where she has been ever since. The Edwin Fox Maritime Centre has a few exhibits, and the tour will lead you to the vessel, which is progressively being restored.
(Location: Dunbar Wharf, The Foreshore, Picton; Operating hours: 8:45am-5:00pm; Admission: Adult/Child $5/$1; Phone: +64 3 573 6868)
2) Aquarium of the Marlborough Sounds (Seahorse World Aquarium)
Next to the Edwin Fox Maritime Museum is the Aquarium of Marlborough Sounds. With one of the largest collections of New Zealand’s marine life, it is a destination worth visiting. There are also free guided tours which includes seahorse feeding.
(Location: Dunbar Wharf, The Foreshore, Picton; Operating hours: 9:00am-5:00pm; Admission: Adult/Child/Student/Family $16/$9/$14/$40; Phone: +64 3 573 6030, 0800 800 081; Website: www.seahorseworld.co.nz ; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org )
1) Diver’s World
Visit one of the world’s biggest “diveable” ship wreck; the sunken Russian cruise ship Mikhail Lermontov.
(Location: London Quay, Picton; Departure time: varies & booking is essential; Rates: varies; Phone: +64 3 573 7323; Website: www.pictondiversworld.co.nz )
2) Marlborough Sounds Adventure Company
Marlborough Sounds Adventure Company offers sea kayaking, walking (trekking) and mountain biking of Marlborough Sounds. Take a guided/independent sea kayaking trip to explore the Sounds, or challenge yourself against the trails of the hills on bike, or take it easy and enjoy nature on foot.
(Location: Town Wharf, London Quay, Picton; Phone: +64 3 573 6078, 0800 283 283; Website: www.marlboroughsounds.co.nz ; Email: email@example.com )
3) Dolphin Watch Eco-tours
Experience swimming with dolphins! Viewing the dolphins is one magical experience that will not be forgotten. 10% of every fare goes to funding dolphin and whale research in the Marlborough Sounds.
(Location: The Foreshore, Picton; Departure time: 9:00am; Rates: Adult/Child $130/$130 for swimming with dolphins, $80/$80 for viewing dolphins; Phone: +64 3 573 8040, 0800 94 53 54 33; Website: www.naturetours.co.nz ; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org )
4) Skydive the Sounds
8km (5-min drive) south of Picton, along SH1, sits the Picton Adventure Airport and where Skydive the Sounds is located. Enjoy the breathtaking views of the North and South Islands from the skies. Feel the rush of the adrenaline!
(Location: Picton Adventure Airport, Koromiko, Picton; Rates: Adult $245 for 9,000ft, $295 for 12,000ft; Phone: +64 3 573 9101, 0800 373 264; Website: www.skydivethesounds.com ; Email: email@example.com )
5) The Sounds Connection
The Marlborough Sounds is an extensive cruising and fishing area. Enjoy the tranquility of Marlborough sheltered waterways, and catch some fishes (that’s your lunch!).
(Location: 10 London Quay, Picton; Departure times: 8:00am, 1:00pm; Rates: Half/Full-day $50/$70; Phone: +64 3 573 8843, 0800 742 866; Website: www.soundsconnection.co.nz ; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org )
6) Endeavour Express
A back-packer-friendly company which offers a range of cruises and cruise/walk.
(Location: Town Wharf, London Quay, Picton; Operating hours: Daily 7:00am-9:00pm; Rates: Adult/Child $45-$80/$30-$40; Phone: +64 3 573 5456; Website: www.boatrides.co.nz ; Email: email@example.com )