Day 9 (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 Marlborough fiords.

   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, this mussel.

Route for New Zealand's 6th day

   After lunching, we will cover the 120 Km to Motueka, which 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.

Tickets for ferrySpace in ferry for vehicles

   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.

Good Bye to WellingtonGood Bye to Northern Island

   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.

Ferry reaching Southern Island
Ferry reaching Southern Island
Ferry reaching Southern Island
Ferry reaching Southern Island
Ferry reaching Southern Island
Ferry reaching Southern Island

   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.

View of Picton and Queen Charlotte Sound

Queen Charlotte DriveLookout of the Grove Arm

   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.

"The Mussel Pot" restaurantLunch in "The Mussel Pot"

   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.

Pelorus BridgePelorus River

   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.

Southern Island landscapeBeach in low tide

   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.

Sea Kayak Company in MotuekaSea Kayak Company in Motueka

   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.