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Tēnā koutou katoa

This is all about New Zealand - Aotearoa - and the time I spent there. Magical times, beautiful scenery, gushing geysers, thermal wonderlands. Hear about Waitangi Day, discover the meaning of the word "Aotearoa", see the Glaciers, read about hangis and Hakas, and visit the beautiful Bay of Islands. So come with me on a journey - a journey to The Land of The Long White Cloud.
Kia ora


Watch The Haka

40. Marlborough Region & Picton

Friday 12 January

Today is my last look at the North Island as I make my way to the South Island. The shuttle bus arrived at 7.30am and arrived at the Wellington ferry terminal at 7.45. I had booked the 8.25 ferry which would arrive in time to catch the Tranz Coastal (train) from Picton to Christchurch. The ferry crossing takes 3 hours.

The "Arahura"
Arahura is a Māori word meaning "pathway to dawn".
The Arahura has been sailing across the Cook Strait since 1984 and can carry up to 550 passengers. There's a food court, a bar, and has extensive food and beverage facilities.

The onboard facilities are very good, with a cinema, lounge, and outside observation decks.

Ship Ahoy!
It was very windy as you can see. I love sitting outside and usually do, but I and other hardy souls made for indoors as the wind was icy and the chill factor seemed to seep into one's bones.

Marlborough Sounds
The Marlborough Sounds are an extensive network of sea-drowned valleys created by a combination of land subsidence and rising sea levels at the north of the South Island of New Zealand. According to Māori mythology, the sounds are the prows of the sunken waka (canoe) of Aoraki.

The main channels of the Marlborough Sounds have calm water and are popular for sailing. Cook Strait, however, is infamous for its strong currents and rough waters, especially when the wind is from the south or north. Because of this, some of the narrow channels closer to the Strait are dangerous.

How The Sounds Were Formed
The Marlborough Sounds is a network of fjiord-like waterways, sheltered by steep hills, most clad in native and timber forests. Geologists would describe the Sounds as ‘drowned valleys’, where in past millennia, the mountains sank in earth movements and the sea flooded into the valleys. Māori legend tells a more exotic story of their creation, how as Kupe wrestled with a giant octopus he grasped at the South Island for support, his fingers digging deep and carving out the waterways.

Tory Channel
Tory Channel is named after the "Tory", a pioneer ship that brought British colonists to Wellington in 1840. It lies to the south of Arapawa Island, separating it from the mainland and forms a substantial part of the ferry route between Wellington and Picton.

Queen Charlotte Sounds
Queen Charlotte Sound is the easternmost of the main sounds of the Marlborough Sounds, in New Zealand's South Island, and like the other sounds, is a drowned river valley.

The area was a base for whaling throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, notably at Perano Head on Arapawa Island which lies to the east. Queen Charlotte Sound has calm water and is popular for sailing - a marked contrast to the notorious waters of Cook Strait.

The town of Picton, the northern terminus of the South Island's railway and State Highway networks, lies near the head of the Sound.

At the head of Queen Charlotte Sound is Picton, a quaint waterfront village - gateway to the South Island. Picton is the main link between the South and North Island, with scheduled ferry service over Cook Strait. I had an hour os so to spare before my train left and went for a stroll around the streets.

Dublin Street Roundabout
Having Irish ancestry, I just had to get a photo of this!

World War I Memorial
Overlooking the foreshore, the Sounds War Memorial was dedicated and unveiled in 1925. The inscription reads: "To Commemorate the Sounds Men who fell in the Great War 1914-1918", (21 names). Another eight names were added and a platform built around the memorial after World War II.

The Kiwis honour their soldiers with Remembrance Day (11 November) as well as Anzac Day (25 April), which is a national holiday.

Welcome to Picton
This sign is placed stragically along the walk from the ferry to the town.

The Tranz Coastal
The TranzCoastal train journey travels between Picton and Christchurch, departing Picton at 1.00pm and arriving Christchurch at 6.21pm. I fell asleep on the train and broke the side arm of my glasses. When going to the buffet car, my watch strap broke due to the train rocking wildly causing me to lose balance and hitting my arm on the wall of the carriage.

The Journey
The TranzCoastal travels through 22 tunnels and crosses 175 bridges. As on the TranzAlpine, the TranzCoastal includes an open air viewing carriage where all your senses are awakened with the clean, fresh, sea air. (The above photo is from Tranzscenic)

It was raining and foggy and we arrived 30 minutes late. The shuttle bus costs $5.00 and I arrived back at the YHA in Manchester Street. Wonderful staff at this YHA - they had placed a sign saying "Reserved for.. Room 2"

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