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Picton Info, Please


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We are making an unscheduled stop in Picton.  I am hoping to do something fun to see some of the surrounding area, not just the little town.  If anyone has been to Motoara (spelling?) Island for the wildlife sanctuary there (mostly birds) or Waipupu Sanctuary, I'd love to hear about it.  If you took a boat tour, was it worthwhile in your opinion?  I'm mostly hoping to see nice scenery, but birds or animals would be a plus.  I'd prefer not to walk more than a mile or so.  


I realize the route into Picton by cruise ship is scenic, but we get in before 7 and don't think I'll be up to see anything.  Then when we leave it will still be light,  but no guarantees I'll be outside to watch what I can watch.  


Any particular recommendations for Picton?  I'm not a wine person, so would rate those excursions at the bottom unless the scenery is spectacular.


I don't suppose there are any lighthouses, are there?


Wish I had more time to research.....

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When we go to Picton in March, our ship is offering an excursion called "Sheep Farm & Winery" that goes to Winterhome, a working sheep farm with a sheep dog and shearing demo, and a formal garden (which will be blooming more for you now than for us then...); then lunch; then a stop at the Hans Herzog winery on the way back to the ship.  This covers several bases for us – and the local guides I contacted said they can't offer a sheep farm stop for private tours because the minimum price is aimed at ship's tours.

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We were in Picton in October and this port was a bit of a challenge if you weren't doing a ship tour and not interested in wineries (we aren't).   Several of us wanted to go to the Omaka Aviation Museum which showcases director Pete Jackson's collection of WWII and WWI aircraft.  We found it very interesting.   Luckily, an Aussie on our roll call who is licensed to drive a van or small bus offered to rent a car since she is used to left side driving.   So we were able to visit Omaka, St Clair Winery, Makana Chocolates, and drive the coastal road along the Marlborough Sounds - this last part was a bit like Mr. Toad's Wild Ride.   Scenery was spectacular but after a while the twisty roads kind of did us all in!   Not sure how you could do this without a car.


This area is wine country so a lot of the excursions are based around that.  Or hiking on the Queen Charlotte Track.

There is a HOHO that runs from the I-Site in Picton to Blenheim and circles around through the wineries and back- 



There are lots of cruises through the Marlborough Sounds (if you don't mind more time being on a boat).   There are some that go to Motuara Wildlife Sanctuary.   


Check out  Shoretripsandtours,  Viator or TripAdvisor if you are lacking time to research the port.  Lots of options you can just book.

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Thank you for the replies, and more will be welcome.  Our ship wasn't scheduled to dock in Picton, and the Destinations staff had to hustle to find some excursions to offer. They have some excursions that are fairly interesting but kind of limited - no sheep farm, no Motuara, etc.  I am leaning towards trying to get on an 8 AM Beachcombers boat trip to Motuara, but not sure I can make it there on time, and after the changes to itinerary we've experienced, I'm not sure I want to spend more money on something that I could miss and end up paying for after I miss it.  But of course the ship's excursions are quite expensive, so I'd prefer to find something on my own -- but don't have anyone to share with if that's needed to keep the price down. 


But I'm looking....

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Hi roothy123.

I can add something here are the Motuara Island cruise.  We did this cruise in March 2019 (touring NZ by land, not a cruise).  We went with E-ko Cruises - they have a morning cruise 8am and a 1pm cruise (4 hours in duration).  Not sure what time your stay is in Picton if you have time to do it.  The times of the cruises are aligned to the Wellington-Picton ferries.

The cruise is great and you see plenty of wildlife (birds, fur seals and dolphins) both on the way to the island and back to Picton.   The boat will slow down or stop if there is any interesting wildlife.  The boat will also stop at the Motuara pier and then go on a one hour walk of the island where you will see birdlife and plants.  The guided walk stops at the top of the Island where there is a lookout with nice views of Queen Charlotte sound.

Great cruise.






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