After over 3 months on the North Island of New Zealand, I finally decided to head to the country’s Southern half—the better half, in most traveler’s opinion. I originally planned to wait until spring before hopping to the South Island, hoping to avoid any severe winter weather. I hadn’t been feeling all too excited about New Zealand though, and I knew the North Island wasn’t enough. It was time to see more.
I took the Interislander ferry across the Cook Strait in the final days of June. My first glimpse of New Zealand’s South Island was the lush green hills of Picton—the southern terminus for the ferry. People tend to skip over Picton, only passing through from the ferry and immediately heading on to another destination. But I stayed.
Actually, I did leave at first, but only because I knew I’d be back in two weeks’ time. I arranged a hostel-sitting job, so I went to explore a few other places before returning to work.
Once I came back, I spent almost 3 weeks in Picton. I had the hostel all to myself while the owners were in Thailand. I just had to take care of a group for one night, but the rest of the time was mine. I was in desperate need of a mental break by then, so it was the most perfect opportunity.
Picton is absolutely tiny. There is a small street of shops and restaurants, and not much else. It’s such a great town though, with nature as its number one attraction (other than the ferry). There are tons of short walks and hikes to do and gorgeous scenery. It’s the access point for the Queen Charlotte Track, one of New Zealand’s Great Walks. Picton also has a beautiful waterfront, with boats going in and out of the marina, and a nice park for all to enjoy.
It initially seemed crazy to spend 3 weeks there, but I quickly realized there’s no better place to unwind. While many days were rainy, forcing me to stay inside, I appreciated the break from traveling. It gave me a chance to work on my blog and catch up on a few things. It also allowed me to stop and re-think what I wanted to do with my time in New Zealand, without the pressure of moving around or spending money.
I know I’ll return to Picton next time I visit the South Island, and not just because the ferry runs through it. I’ll return to see the town in summertime, when it comes alive. I’ll return to walk the tracks and see the Marlborough Sound from the water once again. I’ll return to regain some peace of mind.
Pin image to save & share!