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The North and South Islands of New Zealand are separated by a 96 Km wide portion of "Wild Sea" called The Cook Strait. The connection between the two Island is made from the City of Wellington on the North island to the City of Picton on the South Island. Around the year of 1850, some politicians in New Zealand decided to make Picton the capital of New Zealand, but by the end, they understood that crossing the strait was not something easy at the time, due to unpredictable weather and high seas. So Wellington was choose. Today the crossing is made in big Ferry boats caring people and vehicles both ways. The journey takes around e3 hours and the boat has shops, bar, restaurants, living rooms, nice war seats and all the comfort Captain Cook could be eaten for. There is also the alternative to cross the start by plane, taking  around 25 minutes. Anyway, by Ferry or Plane, all one can ask for is a beautiful day ahead, because the views are breathtaking by air or by sea.

Arriving or leaving Picton you will find a gorgeous region called Queen Charlotte Sounds (photo). The Sounds are like Valleys or Gorges that were carved by Ice during millions of years. When the sea water penetrated inside, it formed an enormous quantity of canals in the middle of the mountains The result is one of the most beautiful areas of New Zealand. The contrast between the vegetation, the transparent waters of the canals and the mountains around are really breathtaking. The Sounds, are also a good spot for boating, with plenty of untouched beaches, small bays and protected harbours. For this reason, there are there large marine farming activities, producing succulent seafood such as Oysters and Mussels. Try a Kayak tour there, it is fabulous.

Picton is a small town but very cosy and full of friendly people. Picton don't have a huge number of tourist attractions mostly because it is more a entrance and exit gate to the Islands. Anyway, once we decided to spend 2 nights in Picton and found out that there are some very interesting things to see and do. Try for example the Warf Museum, where boat and relics from the time Whaling was a very big commercial activity in New Zealand. Pubs in Picton are also nice. There are good tracks through the vegetation with nice views to the Sounds. A Sail boat tour can culminate with a picnic in a dream beach. Right in front were the Ferry docks, just a block away is the train station (there is a courtesy bus from the dock to the station). The schedule of the train and Ferry boat are very well coordinated, meaning that when the train arrives, it will wait for the boat and vice versa. So, if one or other are late, you don't have to worry too much, but if you are going to board the train it is better go straight to the station than stay wonder around town or you can miss the boat (or the train). 

Note: Some times of the year is imperative to have seats on the train  booked well before.

The Tranz Coastal Train which name matches the scenery you will see along the way are a very good tour itself. The route goes from Picton to Christchurch stoping in stations along the way with views capable of making kids stop fighting to contemplate it. The comfort in the train is second to none, with seep wool covering the seats, and a nice inboard service. You can order a glass of wine and something to eat while just relax on your seat appreciating the panorama from those giant windows. In some parts of the ride, the train runs so close to the beach that the impression is that the train is riding on the sand (photo), passing wonderful bays, 22 tunnels, 175 bridges and many gorgeous small towns. There are packages during certain times of the year that can bring a large economy in the ticket price. It is a trip I never will forget.

Nelson is located 148 km from Picton. The whole region is surrounded by mountains, beaches, crystalline lakes, and places of fabulous beauty. Nelson city is nice, well planed, easy, full of bars, pubs, restaurants and accommodations for all pockets. The economy of Picton is based on tourism, fishing and wine industry. Wines produced in the regions are very high ranked world wide and Picton is responsible for around 50% of wine production in the South Island. Apples are another victorious product from the region and attracts lots of young people to work on these farms. But for me, what called my attention in Picton was the fantastic seafood they have over there. I am a sea food lover and I can't recall having such tasteful seafood dishes as I had in Picton. Nelson is the paradise on earth for seafood lovers. The Oysters are hearty, little bit sweet and the Mussels with green shells are tender and succulent. Lobsters and Fishes are so good that even King Neptune will cry for. Crabs looks like those weight lifters with plenty of meat inside the beast. To end this block, because I am getting hungry talking about it, I must say that Nelson has one of the best climate of New Zealand.

Tours by foot, buses, boat, bicycle, plane, helicopters, or any other transport mean your pocket can hold are plenty and nice. If you don't want to spend to much there are alternatives such as trekking in the National Parks around Nelson. Walking is one of the big deal of the region, with so many fantastic places that makes anyone sorry to sat goodbye. The National Parks in nelson are among the 10 best in New Zealand. Because that, if you are planing to visit nelson during the peak period, you'd better book your accommodation in advance. The small local airport becomes the number 4 in air traffic in New Zealand during the high season. There are 3 National Parks near Nelson: The Abel Tasman National Park is located by the coast with fantastic beaches, Caves, Rock formations and plenty of trails. The Kahurangi National Park has a large variety of plants as well as an Alpine scenery. The Nelson Lakes National Park, (photo) as the name says, is around a gorgeous lake which during Winter freezes up and sometimes allows ski on it. The beauty of this region is really impressive.

The region also offer plenty of radical tours and adrenaline tours, as well as contemplative ones. The one on the photo is a cable which with your legs hanging out of the seat you go down reaching up to 100 Km/h speeds. It also makes the way back up while you appreciate the landscape. (bring something warm to wear). For those with not too much emotion in mind, we recommend a tour to one of the wineries nearby Nelson. You will see the whole production as well as will be able to experiment different tastes of wine. We went to one of these tours and loved it. The only problem was that by the end of the tour I was calling Nelson, Wilson. The Maori community in Nelson is quite large, so you will be able to acquire arts and crafts directly from the artists. Nelson is a place you can't miss in a trip to the South island. It is beautiful, friendly with plenty to do. We strongly recommend it.

Tourist Attractions in Nelson and Picton

Distances by road from Picton to:

Wellington (by ferry) 96 km 3 hours & 20 min
Wellington (by plane) 96 km 25 min.
Nelson 120 km 2 hours
Blenheim  30 km 25 min.
Kaikoura 160 km 2 hours & 15 min.
Christchurch 335 km 5 hours
Queenstown 820 km 13 hours
Dunedin 700 km 9 hours & 30 min.
Bah Bah Bah - Wilson Bah Bah Bah - Nelson
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