We arrived in Picton in the early morning via the Cook Straight Ferry. From Picton, we drove along the scenic Queen Charlotte Drive to Anakiwa to hike a section of the Queen Charlotte Track. We did a 10-mile out and back from Anakiwa to Onahau Bay. The track follows the coastline of Queen Charlotte Sound (part of the greater Marlborough Sounds) and provides spectacular coastal vistas along the way.
A sign at the trailhead said wild pig sightings are rare, but can happen. So during our hike, when we heard a rustling in the bush, we thought it might be the elusive wild pig, but it turned out to be a goat.
It was obviously low tide on our way out on the track, because on our way back, water filled areas that were dry sand just a couple of hours prior. It looked like a completely different landscape.
After our time on the Queen Charlotte Track, we headed to the city of Nelson. We’d heard nice things about the place, and besides, how could we pass up making a stop at a city that bears our last name? Upon arriving in Nelson, we headed to the Botanical Reserve. At the base of Botanical Hill is a field where NZ’s first-ever rugby match was played.
A walking track zig-zags up Botanical Hill, where at the top is a needle marking the “Centre of New Zealand”. Whether it is truly the center of New Zealand depends on how you define the center. Nonetheless, Nelson is the central land district among NZ’s 12 districts and Nelson was laid out from the summit of this hill.
From the summit are nice panoramic views of Nelson and the surrounding area.
We hung around Nelson until after dinner, then headed to a campsite near our next destination: Abel Tasman National Park.