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Previous Day see: Day 3 – Wanganui to Lower Hutt

Day 4 – Wellington to Saint Arnaud (South Island)

The Inter-islander Ferry

We’re now sitting in the car, waiting for the Wellington to Picton ferry. It was a short drive from the holiday park, and we were way early. Hopefully we’ll be first in line for a cup of coffee when we get on board.

The Interislander Ferry is not cheap – from $220 to $395 one way!! So I’d recommend overseas visitors fly between the islands and rent their cars separately for each island. But as we’re taking the MGF over it’s the only way….

The ferry itself is OK –not posh, and not as big as I thought it was going to be. There’s a cafe & bar that does very nice coffees and muffins, and a ‘restaurant’ with a selection of sandwiches, paninis, a butter chicken and cooked breakfast at reasonable prices. Don’t expect cordon bleu though!! The journey was supposed to take 3 hours, but there was trouble with the ferry that was coming out of our berth in Picton so we were an hour late.

Picton Harbour


We didn’t stop in Picton, but motored on down to Blenheim to fill up with petrol and to find a reasonably sized supermarket. There is a New World three roundabouts into Blenheim – turn left just before it then right into it, as there is a railway separating the car park from the main road.

Then on to SH63 towards Saint Arnaud. This takes you through the Marlborough wine region. There are vineyards lining the sides of the road, and names that most wine buffs will recognise. Allen Scott, Montana, Gravitas, and many more… The road is straight for about 65 km, then starts winding upwards to Saint Arnaud.

Saint Arnaud

In the winter this is skiing country, and in the summer there are walkers – known in NZ as ‘trampers’. Saint Arnaud is on the northern edge of Nelson Lakes, and is a good base. There’s a water taxi, and you can hire kayaks. Go prepared to cater for yourself though – there’s a small general store and a posh motel with restaurant, and not much else.

We stayed in the Travers-Sabine Lodge. There are private rooms and bunk accommodation with shared facilities that were very good.. The kitchen has everything you need to cook a meal, so we didn’t need to use our scant and very definitely not non-stick camping pots. It was a tad more than our previous stops at $59, but we thought it worth it for the quality of the accommodation.

In fact, we wish we’d booked two nights here, as we would like to try the kayaks and one of the local walks. Never mind, maybe on the way back.

Lake Rotoiti (scroll across to see all this scene)

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St. Arnaud Map

terris_travelogue/south_island/day_04.txt · Last modified: 2010/11/10 09:06 by art
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