Located 2 minutes drive from the Ferry Terminal and just a short walk from Picton's picturesque waterfront, cafes, restaurants and all Marlborough Sounds tours, activities & attractions
Located at the North-Eastern corner of New Zealand’s South Island, Picton is Marlborough’s second largest town with a population of approximately 4500 people. Picton is nestled at the head of Queen Charlotte Sound, the larger of the three main sounds that include Kenepuru and Pelorus. Together they form the Marlborough Sounds, an intricate network of sea-drowned valleys covering some 4,000 square kilometres and boasting 1500 kilometres of coastline, one fifth of the entire New Zealand coastline. Made up of a myriad of sheltered waterways, deep coves and secluded beaches the Marlborough Sounds have long been a favourite holiday destination for many New Zealanders seeking both solitude and adventure.
Picton is a town steeped in history, originally established as a Maori settlement in the 1500’s it has seen many transformations from a gold mining town, fishing port, busy maritime port to a now bustling tourist destination. The passenger ferry service connecting Wellington and Picton dates back to 1875 with the first roll-on roll-off rail and vehicle ferry coming much later in 1962.
The ferry journey between Wellington and Picton covers 92 kilometres with approximately a third of the journey unfolding in the sheltered crystal-clear waters of the Marlborough Sounds. It is a journey widely considered one of the most beautiful ferry cruises in the world and has established itself as one of New Zealand’s most iconic tourist experiences.
Activities in Picton are wide ranging with some great walking and mountain bike tracks. The renowned Queen Charlotte track which runs almost the entire length of Queen Charlotte Sound stretching from Ship Cove to Anakiwa and covering over 70 kilometres of spectacular walking track passing through historic sites, secluded bays and lush coastal bush. Another must-do activity is one of the many nature and wildlife cruises that operate direct from Picton marina. The clear sheltered waters of the Marlborough Sounds are home to an abundance of marine life including NZ fur seals, Orca and 5 different species of dolphin including the rare Hector's dolphin. Between the months of June and August Humpback Whales, Right Whales, Fin Whales and Blue Whales can all be seen during their annual migration North through the Cook Strait. Kayaking is another popular activity and another great way to explore the Marlborough Sounds with multiple options ranging from hourly, daily and multiple day hire to full guided tours.
When it comes time to relax, Picton has a vibrant cafe culture with numerous cafes and restaurants dotted throughout the town many of which are located along Picton’s picturesque waterfront and offer unsurpassed views over the Marlborough Sounds. Here you can relax with a great coffee whilst enjoying the views or indulge in some fabulous food made from fresh local produce and complimented by some of the best Marlborough wines.
With all the above and a great climate to boot, Picton and the Marlborough Sounds should not be missed when planning your travel through New Zealand. Don’t become one of the many visitors to Picton fooled into thinking that they'll see all that the Marlborough Sounds has to offer from the brief ferry ride, only to be caught out by its spectacular beauty and left wishing they had factored more time into their itinerary to explore both Picton and this wonderful region better.
Make the most of your stay in Picton and stay at Picton Campervan Park. Take advantage of our great central location within easy walking distance to Picton’s picturesque waterfront, cafes and restaurants and the many activities and attractions that this vibrant town has to offer.