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Jan 02
2015

Queen Barb

We left Wellington at 6:45 am with the ferry, it's quite early, because we had to be at the port 1 hour before. The view in the early morning was nice, but too much clouds blocked the sun and everything looked gray. If you can book the ferry early, do so! We booked it only 2 or 3 days before and paid about 80 nzd more because the cheap tickets sold out.

We arrived to picton and the weather smiled to us. Barb and Terry welcomed us at their house with cup of tea/coffee and were extremely nice. We planned to go to the Queen Charlotte track for 2 days but the forcast postpone our plans for the Queen Charlotte in 2 days. That left us time for the wine tasting in the following day. As barb heard we're planning to go to the wine tasting she immediately volunteered Terry to take us to Blenheim, half an hour drive from Picton, and also got us bikes and helmets. Not only it saved us money, but also we could come back when we want without waiting for the alcohol to wear off.

Barb and Terry's House Barb and Terry's House

We followed the main road along the vineyards and went to each winery on the way. The wine was really good and in the last winery we decided to buy a good bottle of wine to our generous hosts. Note, there are wineries who charge you for the tastings while others don't. I'm not an expert but consider myself a wine lover and in my opinion you shouldn't pay, you can drink enough without paying at all. The wines are usually at the same level in terms of quality. I almost forgot the chocolate factory we visited. Definitely recommended.

The Chocolate Factory The Chocolate Factory

Terry recommended on a restaurant, Wairau River Wines Cellar Door & Restaurant. The food was excellent! I mean really really good! I guess the wine, the nice warm weather and the great view of the vinyard added to the experience but there's no question about it, I highly recommend eating there.

Wairau River Wines Cellar Door & Restaurant Wairau River Wines Cellar Door & Restaurant

Wairau River Wines Cellar Door & Restaurant Wairau River Wines Cellar Door & Restaurant

Wairau River Wines Cellar Door & Restaurant Wairau River Wines Cellar Door & Restaurant

Wairau River Wines Cellar Door & Restaurant Wairau River Wines Cellar Door & Restaurant

When we finished our lunch we tried to call Barb to get a ride back to Picton and we couldn't get her, after cycling for a while we tried again and got no answer, then, just for a second, we thought it was weird that they were so nice to us and now left us to cycle back to Picton. We called it "Serial Killer" nice, you have to suspect at some point. But make no mistake, they were waiting for us at the beginning of the road, where Terry dropped us in the morning.

The day after was cloudy and rainy so we rested, saw movies and ate ice cream, but Barb and Terry had plans for us. Barb came to invite us to the new years eve dinner, we couldn't say no to that. BBQ and wines where served and we also got to meet their lovely friends who came to celebrate 2015 together. Just before midnight we drove to the harbor to watch the fireworks. I can't say it was impressive but it was a nice way to start 2015.

New Years Eve Feast New Years Eve Feast

Fireworks Fireworks

We started 2015 with the Queen Charlotte track. We tried to shorten the track and skipped the first 12 km of bush with a water taxi. Actually, we wanted to do a one day track, about 32 km of it, but couldn't find a boat that will take us back in the evening. There are only 2 travel companies and water taxi company without an office who can drop you at specific points on the trail and all of them can pick you up at 17:00 or earlier. There is one advantage, they can drop your bag in the camping so you don't have to carry the heavy bags all day long. 2 days seems to be enough for us to finish most of the track, so we sent our heavy backpack to the first camping site.

Morning clouds covered the sky, when we started. It was disappointing because Queen Charlotte have 2 things to offer, bush, which we hate and colorful lakes, which looks pale without the sun. As we got to the first camping site, realizing that the next day won't offer us a different view, and after walking for hours in the bush, Maya offered to change the water taxi pickup and come back from the camping site in the morning. It was a great idea and left us enough time to do the Queen Charlotte Drive in our way to Nelson.

Weka - Queen Charlotte Track Weka - Queen Charlotte Track

Queen Charlotte Track Queen Charlotte Track

Queen Charlotte Track Queen Charlotte Track

Queen Charlotte Track Queen Charlotte Track

Queen Charlotte Track Queen Charlotte Track

Queen Charlotte Track Queen Charlotte Track

Queen Charlotte Track Queen Charlotte Track

In my opinion the Queen Charlotte was not worth the time nor the money we paid for the transportation. If you're looking for great beaches and colorful water view go to the Abel Tasman instead. I'll elaborate on this great walk track on the next post.