After a day of travel and realizing that most things would be closed on Christmas Day, we planned for a busy day touring what the region has to offer.
We booked a half day sea kayaking trip out of a small town called Picton. Picton is the South island port of ferries crossing the Cook Strait from Wellington. We were joined by three other couples - American, Spanish and Australian - all off the cruise ship that was docked for the day. The trip took us out into the Queen Charlotte Sound - one of the many sounds/bays in this area, and also a scenic 70 km walking track. The islands were forested and extended in all directions.
It was a clear day with excellent weather that made it a perfect morning for kayaking. At times, we saw large pods of jellyfish in the water around us. Since their stings are pretty weak, we were able to get some pictures with the underwater camera. Shallow rocks were covered in mussels, a local delicacy. We also got very close to a NZ fur seal sunbathing on a dock. The various bays feature numerous vacation homes, locally known as baches, which sit empty most of the year.
We stopped for snacks and drinks in a nice beach cove, and through chit chat found out that the American couple was from Colorado. We paddled a few more bays to yet another sandy beach which was our pickup point. The return drive took us into the hills which made for great views to show just how scenic the area is.
When we returned to town, it was overrun with cruisers so we made a quick exit. Besides, we had some wine to drink.Read more