Picton and Napier

Old Sep 2, 06, 8:53 am
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Picton and Napier

As part of a cruise, Picton and Napier will be port stops. Looking for suggestions for day tours in each place. Willing to hire a car and driver in each place.
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Old Sep 2, 06, 9:47 am
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I drove through both with a rental car (not cruise) and they are small towns (picton is a village, napier is maybe 2 miles total). A bike would be good for Napier. There isn't much to see outside of the art deco buildings in town and things like the zoo, except for some wineries. Everything else is more like a 3 hour drive from Napier. As for Picton, a drive over to Nelson and its artist colony is well worth it. Some great glass blowing and wood working art.
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Old Sep 2, 06, 10:20 am
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If you have a whole day at Picton, then going to the wineries around Blenheim is a possibility - particularly easy if you have a car and driver, even if not the most atmospheric.
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Old Sep 2, 06, 5:43 pm
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Picton is a small town in the Marlborough Sounds and doesn't have much in itself for visitor (it is one end of the ferry route between North and South Islands). The Blenheim area is not far away and lots of good wineries (some tours will do pick up and drop off in Picton). Nelson is further - you'd want a full day to do it - but plenty to see and do (beaches, art & craft, bush walks, summer festival, etc). If driving take then route via Blenheim one way and via Queen Charlotte Sound the other way (very pretty but slow drive as quite winding along the coast) - allow 2 hours each way not counting any stops en route. Something a bit different is to take the mail boat from Picton out through the sounds (no roads in many parts!). Either stay on the boat for its whole route, returning to Picton, or get dropped off part way out and picked up when it returns for a couple of hours to explore.

For Napier, the art deco buildings (when the whole inner town was rebuilt after a big earthquake) are nice but will only fill an hour or so. Again wineries in the region. Visit Cape Kidnappers - great views and a gannet colony. If you want a longer day trip, drive through to Taupo (over a quite big hill).
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Old Sep 3, 06, 5:40 am
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Thank you for the input. Might use Napier for a little walking and do the wineries in Picton. Any one winery better than another
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Old Sep 3, 06, 4:02 pm
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Originally Posted by rstidolph
Thank you for the input. Might use Napier for a little walking and do the wineries in Picton. Any one winery better than another
There are lots of good wineries (Blenheim area has dozens), not all of which are open to the public. IIRC there is also a distillery open to the public.
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Old Sep 4, 06, 3:42 am
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Originally Posted by rstidolph
Any one winery better than another
Have now had the time to look for a couple of links.

First, there's the Wine Marlborough site, which shows where everyone is.

Second, when I was there I did a slightly different tour with a company called Southern Wilderness. Although they're mostly doing sea kayaking and the like, they have a one-day Marlborough Wine Walk, which conveniently picks up and drops off in Picton as well as Blenheim. (The company is actually based in Picton.) We thought that this was better than just shuttling around all over the place on four wheels - one got a good sense of the place, as well as of its produce.
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Old Sep 7, 06, 9:54 pm
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Originally Posted by rstidolph
As part of a cruise, Picton and Napier will be port stops. Looking for suggestions for day tours in each place...
...about Napier, you may want to read the Napier day from my NZ trip report (and look at the photos) for some ideas.

In addition to the things I mentioned, there are some very good wineries around Te Awanga, near Cape Kidnappers, and in the Hastings area. Many of these are smaller than you'll find in the Marlborough wine region (near Picton), and thus, rather unlikely that you'd be able to get their wines in many places outside New Zealand (don't know if that sort of novelty is important to you).
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