Picton is a tranquil seaport town, well known as the destination and departure point for the inter-island ferries between the North and South Islands. Picton has more to offer than just a seaport town however. While the ferries slip quietly through the harbour, there is plenty of other reasons to enjoy a night or two in this quiet, sleepy town on the edge of Queen Charlotte Sound.
If you arrive in Picton the day before your adventure then head to the Picton foreshore for a wonder along the waterfront. You will find our office located amongst the water transport companies on London Quay.
Located on Picton Foreshore you will find Picton Beach, a colourful pirate playground, a mini-putt golf course and a grassy park with ample shade cast by Picton’s iconic palm trees. You will also find stairs leading up to the cafés, bars and restaurants of London Quay.
If you keep walking around the beach, you will come to Picton Marina, filled with highly-desirable yachts, catamarans and fishing boats. Cross the bridge over the marina and it will bring you to another beach. This little circuit can easily fill a couple of hours – with one of those hours spent enjoying a coffee or something colder and more relaxing!
Picton has a good variety of beaches to enjoy a dip in the Picton harbour. Picton Beach is in the town centre and just a few metres from the cafes, bars and restaurants on London Quay.
For a more private and peaceful feel, simply head over the Picton Marina bridge to Shelley Beach on the far side. There are toilets next to the beach, but no cafes or shops. There is also a shaded grass bank leading down to the beach if you need some shelter from the sun.
A 15 minute drive along Queen Charlotte Drive will get you to the pristine white sands and secluded privacy of Governer’s Bay on the Grove Arm. The beach is reached via a 10 minute walk down from the road. If you don’t have a car, then you can hire a bicycle or a kayak, or simply catch a water taxi, from Picton marina.
For a secluded spot within walking distance from Picton, try heading to Bob’s Bay. This secluded beach is reached by walking along the road past Shelley Beach to join the Lower Bob’s Bay track. The path is signposted and leads over several bluffs for 1km.
Picton has some of New Zealand’s best walking trails, taking anything from thirty minutes to several hours. Whether you are looking for a pleasant 30 minute walk through native bush or a 3 day hike all the way along Queen Charlotte Sound, Picton has a perfect walk for you – so pack some good shoes.
Head up Queen Charlotte Drive to the lookout point above Picton ferry terminal. The walk isn’t spectacular, but the views are. The road has a footpath, but it is fairly steep and unshaded – so take some water!
If you have a few hours and like a good bush walk, then one of Picton’s best short walks is the Snout Track. The trail starts from the centre of town and leads all the way to Snout Point where the Picton to Wellington ferry curves out of view from Picton town. The Snout track begins from the stairway behind the boatsheds on Shelley Beach and takes approximately four hours return.
For a short walk on a hot sunny day, the Esson’s Valley Walkway is just the ticket. Sheltered and shaded by the oldest native bush in the region, this walk also leads to a refreshing lake.
Leading uphill from Picton town along a 1.2km trail, the Tirohanga Track provides excellent views of the Queen Charlotte Sound and the town below. The trail takes 30-45 minutes and starts from the south eastern corner of Picton town.
If you want to just get out onto the water for an hour or two and paddle along the harbour shoreline, then hiring a sit-on-top or stand-up paddle board from us is a great option.
Located just beyond Port Marlborough, the Kaipupu Point Wildlife Sanctuary walk is a 2.8km trail through lush bush chirping with New Zealand’s favourite birds, including silvereye, fantail, grey warbler, tui, kereru, bellbird, weka, and kingfisher.
There is no access by road or path to Kaipupu Point, so you are best to contact one of the water transport companies on the waterfront to see who is travelling to the sanctuary on the day. Alternatively hire a sea kayak from us and enjoy a paddle over to the sanctuary (not suitable for young children).
The Edwin Fox Ship Visitor Centre is a great way to spend an hour learning some interesting history about the ninth oldest ship in the world.
Beginning life as a trade ship in 1853, the Edwin Fox was quickly conscripted into duty carrying troops to the Crimean War. After the war, she circumnavigated the seas of the world, carrying English convicts to Australia and settlers to New Zealand. From 1873, she carried a total of 751 settlers on four trips from England. In 1897, she finally settled herself in Picton as sail became quickly succeeded by steam.
Sit back and watch the boats come and go, whilst basking in sunshine and sipping a on a refreshing drink. Enjoy famous Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, intriguing and bold craft beer, or a delicious Flat White, there are many bars, restaurants or cafes on London Quay to do so.
Between drinks, you can slip off for a wander on neighbouring High Street, where colourful clothes, jewellery and souvenirs are all on sale in close quarters. There is also a delicious ice-cream parlour to help keep you cool!
Picton’s restaurants are relaxed and casual. There are plenty of options along the waterfront and on the High Street. They cater well to everyone from those waiting for a short time for the ferry, to those staying for a few days in Picton.
King Salmon and Green-lip mussels are locally grown and are a feature on many of the menu’s.
If you are staying a few days, the neighbouring town of Blenheim is just 30 minutes drive away and has many more upmarket dining choices as well as wineries to visit in the Wairau Plain.
There is a full range of accommodation available in Picton – from backpacker to boutique accommodation.
Located centrally, near Picton Marina, Picton Top 10 Holiday Park provide premium holiday villas, high-spec cabins and self-contained units to suit families and couples, powered sites for camping and campervans, plus standard camping sites for pure economy (view map).
The Picton Yacht Club overlooks Picton Marina, with rooms and apartments nestled around a large private swimming pool. If you are looking to indulge in some deep relaxation, then this may just be the place for you!
Located in the centre of Picton, the Jasmine Court Motel combines 4-star quality with a family-friendly feel. If you are seeking cost-effective comfort and convenience, it is worth enquiring here first.Getting to and from Picton
Most major vehicle hire companies offer Picton car hire with drop off and collection from the Interislander Picton Terminal. This is very convenient for those arriving and departing on the Wellington ferry. Car hire companies often prefer you to drop your car off before travelling on the ferry and then collect another car when you disembark – so please check this with the car rental firm when you book.
Picton has a Fresh Choice Supermarket which also is home to the NZ Post Office. There is also a Four Square store in the town. There is a Westpac Bank branch in the town and various ATM’s. We have two chemists, and a medical centre in the town and a police station.
Marlborough is famous for its Sauvignon Blanc. Only a 25 minute drive from Picton and you will find yourself in the centre of the wine country. Sounds Connection is based in Picton and operates excellent wine tours into the Marlborough wine country on a daily basis.