A few days out of Auckland… We start with a flight to Wellington, and are welcomed by a freezing weather. Typical Christmas temperature… Except that it is summer here! Well, we’ll stick to indoor activities. This includes a visit to Te Papa museum, and then to Weta studios. The next day, 24 December, we catch the 6.30 ferry to Picton.

Cruise ship in Wellington Harbour, as our ferry leaves for Picton.

The weather is not much  better than yesterday, but a ray of sun hits a cruise ship moored in Wellington Harbour. The weather improves on the way to Picton, and ends up being nice and sunny once we arrive.

Interislander ferry between Wellington and Picton
View from the ferry while arriving in Picton

As the weather is nice, we walk along Snout track, which provides excellent view on Queen Charlotte Sound.

View on Queen Charlotte sound (Totaranui) from Snout track

We then drive to Blenheim, where we spend the night. Christmas day ends up being quite a challenge, as everything is closed. Our AirBnB host recommends a trail in the Wairau Lagoons and a visit to the nearby beach. The weather is a bit cloudy and windy, and it is therefore not possible to swim at the beach, but the view is nonetheless beautiful and well worth the trip.

On 26 December, we wake up early and drive back to Picton to catch a boat that drops us at camp bay for a bit of hiking along Queen Charlotte Track.

Early morning in Picton

The track climbs to Eatwell lookout, where we are rewarded by a breathtaking view on Queen Charlotte sound.

Lunch at Eatwell lookout

We wait for the boat at Punga resort, and have time to drink a nice and cold ale, and for a quick dip. The water is not very warm, but the scenery is  priceless. Once the boat brings us back to Picton, we drive to our next stop: Nelson. This turns out to be longer than expected, for even though the two towns are quite close on a map, the road goes around the mountains. The next day is already the last of this short trip. We have breakfast at Kaiteriteri, and then a quick dip at the beach, followed by a short visit to split apple rock and the nice beach nearby.

Beach near split apple rock
Pohutukawa near split apple rock

We finish this trip by some wine tasting at Rimu Grove’s cellar door, followed by lunch at Mapua wharf, and it’s already time to drive back to the airport.

Wine tasting at Rimu Grove
Mapua Wharf