(September 16, 2012) Marlborough
Around 7:30 AM of this day we must be with the
motorhomes in the row to get them into the ferry to the Southern
Island. It is scheduled to leave at 8:25 AM and takes three hours for
reaching Picton. The last hour of this trip is like a cruise through
Once on road, around 11:30 AM, we would drive to
Havelock, a beautiful town between sounds which is the main place for
the green-lipped mussels. Here we will lunch in "The
mussel pot" restaurant seafood in general, but specifically,
After lunching, we will cover the 120 Km to
could be done in one hour and 40 minutes, passing through Nelson and
the coast landscapes with only one scheduled stop in our way in Pelarus
Bridge. There we will explore the river and make some pictures around
as it is a location for “The Hobbit” movie. It’s going to be something
weird, as those pictures are not going to have sense until the release
of the movie next November.
Ferry: 65 NZD per person and 150 NZD per motorhome
Lunch in The mussel pot: Around 35 NZD per person.
We start early today as we must be at 7 AM checking in the
ferry terminal, which leaves at 8 AM to the Southern Island. We drive
the 200 meters to the terminal offices and stop to get the strange
tickets - the ones in the picture below, yellow is for vehicle - and
join to the row corresponding to campervans. We can say now we’ve been
plugged tonight for free. We have nothing to reproach us for as we did
our best for paying. We think we can thank All Blacks for this.
We wait for 30 minutes before being able of getting into the boat,
between big trucks and other motorhomes and vans. When they’re parked
following the indications from the staff we can leave them to go
upstairs to the decks. There are two of them, both with an open air
part and interior part with a hall with TV and coffee shop, where we
get our breakfast.
After watching the views of Wellington getting further first, and the
whole Northern Island later, we play cards for a while. This trip is
three hours long and we must pay attention to the last one to enjoy the
views of the arrival to Southern Island between fiords.
When we reach this last hour of trip we go outside in order to live the landscape
and the changing weather, which offer rain, cold, sun and hot to us in
a few minutes.
It gets Picton on time and at 11:35 AM we are again on the road. For
one time, we’ve got time to spend in our way. For this reason we choose
the longest, but more beautiful scenic road along the coast to reach
Havelock at lunch time. On our way, we stop in all the view points to
Pelorus and Queen Charlotte sounds.
We’ve come to Havelock with a clear thought of going to “The Mussel
Pot” restaurant, which is easy to locate because it is at left of the
main road and it is a special building with green mussels all around
the roof. That’s what we’re here to taste… well, the real ones.
We order a platter with mussels cooked with all the ways they have
here: a delicious bowl of chowder, and then steamed, smoked, marinated, grilled,
battered, in bread… They’re really tasty and delicious and surprisingly
big, as they’re taking almost the whole big green shell
We really filled our stomachs just with mussels and do a short walk
around the small town before taking our vehicles and driving to Motueka
in a two hours ride with just two stops: one at Pelorus Bridge, over
the river with the same name. Here, the river is running through rocks
and I know an important scene in “The Hobbit” movie has been filmed
here. As it is not being still released, these are pictures for the
future. This river and bridge shows a wonderful landscape anyway.
The other stop is shorter, in a beach close to Nelson, where we’re
amazed by how the low tide is showing just a vast flat desert of sand
and rocks. We cannot even see the sea at horizon.
Once in Motueka we go to the company we’ve chosen for the rent of
kayaks to use in Abel Tasman N.P. tomorrow morning, but there is nobody
in there. Instead, there is a phone and a paper saying we can use it to
talk with someone of the staff. We can book the 4 kayaks – two persons
on each – for tomorrow.
And we only have to “park” our motorhomes. We’ve chosen the Top 10 in
Motueka while driving to here, so we are there plugged at daylight for
first time in this travel. We have now a lot of time to rest or
exploring the empty and closed town at this time. It seems this
Southern Island is going to bring good changes.