We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Picton or the Sounds

Cambridge, United...
Level Contributor
6 posts
38 reviews
Save Topic
Picton or the Sounds

We have travelled to and around New Zealand a few times but have never been to the top of the South Island. This year, we have 15 days and intend to spend it all in that area. So far our plans are

Day 1 Christchurch overnight after flying in from Sydney.

Day 2 Hanmer Springs

Day 3 Nelson

Days 4-7 Golden Bay

Days 8-12 ???

Days 13-14 Kaikoura

Day 15 Christchurch ready for morning flight.

It's days 8-12 that are confusing me. Do we go to a hotel on the Sounds, or stay in Picton and do day trips?

My husband is 62, can't drive, is partially sighted (hence the trip - he knows he won't have his sight for much longer) and worried about getting about on boats with luggage. I fancy staying at Raehiti Lodge, Bay of Many Coves or Craglee but he seems to think it will be too difficult. Are they biggish boats? He thinks they are small motor boats.

I see that Raehiti has a road going to it, but it looks winding - is it sealed? I know that some of the hire companies have problems if we use the cars on unsealed roads. Is it reasonably wide or single track with passing places?

I saw on here that the Portage and Te Mahia are also driveable but was not impressed with the reviews. Are there any others that don't need a boat? I am not put off by distance, but would prefer to leave the car in Picton or Havelock and use the boat.

So, my next question - is there anywhere to leave the car in these places? I could take it back, and then rehire it, but there is little to be gained because the hire periods of more than 14 days are cheaper - but if it is going to cost me a fortune to park it, it might be better to dump it and get another.

Or -the other option would be to stay in Picton for the entire time and go on day trips to the Sounds and take in a winery.

What would you consider is the best option?

Cambridge, United...
Level Contributor
6 posts
38 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Picton or the Sounds

I forgot to say - this is planned for November.

Umbria, Italy
Destination Expert
for Sunshine Coast, Umbria
Level Contributor
4,563 posts
97 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Picton or the Sounds

My first thoughts are to avoid Picton as it is just a transit point..... go by boat to the sounds and park the car.

Hopefully there will be a carpark at the boat departure point and if you cannot carry your luggage get help.

Google QC Walk and there are at least 5 companies that have boats going to varied lodges..... the road is easy but if you are worried give yourself a holiday.

I am going to just do a day walk this year and head over to the Farewell Spit area.

Feilding, New...
Destination Expert
for Rotorua
Level Contributor
1,600 posts
39 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Picton or the Sounds

As we lived in Picton some years ago, I am probably rather biased but it is a lovely little town. Using Picton as a base is the better idea as it allows you a choice of restaurants and places to go. You are able to take wine tours from Picton, either drive yourself or a bus tour. There are several boat tours to the Sounds. You could take the Mail boat tour in Queen Charlotte Sound and on another day do the Mail boat trip into Pelorous Sound from Havelock. Queen Charlotte Drive between Picton and Havelock is a windy road, quite narrow in places, but on a sunny day the view is one of the most beautiful in N.Z.

There are several excellent B & Bs in the Picton/Blenheim area (some surrounded by vineyards)

Three in Picton I can recommend are;Michiru (owned and run by a delightful English couple), Glengary B & B and Retreat Inn.

There are several restaurants/cafes in Picton. Many of the wineries offer lunches and some dinners. You could also go across by boat to Portage and some of the other Sounds Resorts, for lunch

Queenstown, New...
Level Contributor
1,340 posts
7 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Picton or the Sounds

I guess it depends on what you want to see and do as to where to stay. If you are wanting to do a trip to wineries then I suggest you stay in Picton and do day trips to the sounds.

You can leave the car at the ferry terminal, I've done it before myself and had no problems.

As for the size of the water taxi's have a look at the sites below, they have photo's of them. The operaters will help with your luggage.





If you stay in Picton itself, I've heard from a few people that say the mail boat ride is good.


I can reccommend the Mussel cruise from Havelock.


The road out on the Kenepuru Sound isn't sealed and is slow & windy, but has some great views on the way. The only place you can get petrol is at The Portage, which is very expensive!

I have stayed at Te Mahia numerous times and have enjoyed every stay. You can also get a water taxi there too. It's a great spot and I highly reccommend the place. The Portage I don't reccommend at all.

Cornwall, United...
Level Contributor
102 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Picton or the Sounds

We stayed at Raetihi Lodge and it was lovely, the road out is long, unsealed and windy (or it was a couple of years ago)

If you get the water taxi across, the road out to the pick up point is still pretty windy, but is sealed. There is also free parking there where you can leave the car.

The boat over wasn't huge but did have a covered cabin, with seating for several people.

6. Re: Picton or the Sounds

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 04 October 2009, 05:31