On the next part of our driving trip, we headed to the Marlborough Region of New Zealand's South Island. Located at the top of the South Island. this area is known for winemaking, and for the Marlborough Sounds. We drove through the vineyards near Blenheim, but spent most of our time in Picton.
Picton is a pretty port town located at the head of the Queen Charlotte Sound. It is from here that ferries arrive and depart to Wellington and the North Island.
The two ferries pictured here were traveling through the Queen Charlotte Sound and then across the Cook Strait to the North Island.
The War Memorial at Picton overlooks the harbor.
Picton sits at the end of the Kaikoura Range. This was the view from our hotel room.
The female paradise shelduck is my favorite bird sighting in NZ so far. Shelducks are described as large goose-like ducks and they are endemic to NZ. They live in pairs, and in the wild you often hear them before seeing them.
The male paradise shelduck is pretty handsome also.
This muscovy duck isn't native to NZ, but occasionally there is one hanging around. How can you not love that face!
This pair of pied shag were hanging out at the Picton Harbor. A pied shag is a type of cormorant found in AU and NZ.
The old boat, behind the fence in this shed, is the Edwin Fox. It is the oldest surviving boat that brought immigrants to NZ, and the only boat left that transported convicts to AU. It is also the oldest merchant ship in the world, and the 9th oldest ship (period) in the world.
We went to Karaka Point; it is a narrow headland that juts out into the Queen Charlotte Sound. A large pā (fort) was built here for defense purposes by a 16th century tribe (Ngāti Mamoe). The ditches seen here were used for storage; they are all that remains of this pā at Karaka Point.
The fall colors in the vineyards near Blenheim. We often saw sheep grazing amongst the vines.
Nelson is the oldest town on the South Island and the second oldest in NZ. It sits at the top of the island, and the people here claim to have the sunniest region in NZ. It was not one of those sunny days when we visited.
At the Nelson Saturday Market, we bought feijoas and Dutch apple donuts.
The Christ Church Cathedral sits on Church Hill; it overlookis the Nelson CBD.
It was quite the surprise to walk around to the opposite side of the church pictured above. This is what the actual entrance to Christ Church Cathedral looks like. I think this church belongs in a movie.
Westport was our first stop/stay in the West Coast region of the South Island. The Māori explored the mountains around here for pounamu (jade or greenstone) , but it was gold that brought the first European settlers to the area. However, it was coal that kept the town going; it has more than one coal mine in the area.
The Buller River is one of the longest rivers in NZ. We followed it through the Buller Gorge to where it flows into the Tasman Sea at Westport.
The Westport sign with a cabbage tree on it's right. This palm is a native tree and can be seen all over NZ.
Looking up the Butler River, from the bridge at Westport.
One of the historic buildings in downtown Westport.
The Art Deco style civic building in Westport.
A garden around a palm tree in Westport
A view of the mountains above Westport as the sun is setting.