Coming into the Marlborough sounds which contains over 18% of New Zealand’s coastline, you may notice pods of dusky dolphins riding the bow wave of the ferry or witness a yacht race as the ferry makes its way to the beautiful gateway to the South, Picton Harbour.
Climbing off the InterIslander ferry will find you a short walk from Picton town centre or you might be catching a quick ride on the bus to town from the Blue Bridge ferry. There is an information centre along Auckland Street and a number of popular restaurants can be found on High Street (Picton’s main street) and on London Quay road. Toilets are located near the stairs leading up to High Street from the foreshore and opposite the tourism operators on London Quay.
Tourism operators and water taxis are located on London Quay on the foreshore close to the start of the marina. Further up High Street heading away from the foreshore you will find a petrol station and shopping mall with a supermarket. There are also a large number of accommodations in Picton, from backpackers on Auckland Street and London Quay, to lodges, hotels and B&B’s on Wellington Street and along Waikawa Road.
Things to see may include Kaipupu Point Sanctuary for a glance into the past of native plants and birds, a walk up Victoria Domain to have a look over the sound, EcoWorld Aquarium and Cinema which offers great entertainment for all and for younger children the playground and model railway on the foreshore.
As you approach Waikawa marina you will see a sea of sails. This spectacular marina is the 3rd largest in New Zealand with many moorings and berths. Picton marina is smaller. You will notice the arch bridge as you enter the marina. There are a number of well maintained facilities dotted around the Waikawa marina including showers, toilets, boat ramps, picnic tables and a variety of restaurants on the water’s edge. In Waikawa bay there are also a number of handy boating businesses for boat parts, repairs, diving equipment and yacht brokers. The Picton Marina is very close to the Picton town centre which includes a supermarket and restaurants.
If you wish to use the moorings shown as Club moorings shown on the map in this guide, you must first join one of the three boating clubs:
- Waikawa Boating Club
- Pelorus Boating Club or
- Mana Cruising Club.
Information about these Clubs and membership are found on the following websites:
Quick safety note
Every day throughout the summer our Harbourmaster patrol vessels are on the water to provide information and advice on maritime safety. Our patrol skippers are friendly, approachable and always happy to have a chat about boat safety. Please be aware that you are legally obliged to give your name and contact details to a patrol boat skipper or harbour maritime officer if requested.
Please note that the fishing information included in The Cruise Guide is only a guide in itself. Make sure you check for local restrictions by contacting your nearest MPI or DOC office or look online for new Cod rules.
Interacting with Marine Mammals
- Ensure that you travel no faster than idle or ‘no wake’ speed within 300 metres of any marine mammal.
- Approach whales and dolphins from behind and to the side.
- Do not circle them, obstruct their path or cut through any group.
- Keep at least 50m from whales (or 200m from any large whale mother and calf or calves).
- Swimming with whales is not permitted.
- You may swim with seals and dolphins but not with dolphin pods with very young calves.
- Avoid approaching closer than 20m to seals and sea lions hauled out on shore.
- Idle slowly away. Speed may be gradually increased to outdistance dolphins and should not exceed 10 knots within 300m of any dolphin.