New day, new driver. Today I’m getting taken to Picton by Motors. Again there’s a big chunk of people who haven’t appeared, and there’s a leak in the boot of the bus, so all of the bags are now living in the back seat. Not too much of a problem since the bus is so empty.
The first stop is the airport to pick up new arrivals. However none of them appear – turns out there’s an error of communication and they thought the pickup was two hours later, they’d make it to Picton on their own. There’s been quite a few pick up issues of that note now – admittedly the Kaikoura quake did cause scheduling problems, but Stray Mate has had its own share of mistakes too. Something to keep an eye on if you do travel with Stray.
Since Stray no longer go to Kaikoura, today is mostly just a very long drive to Picton. Up until Christmas they would stop in Nelson overnight, but due to hostel bookings, they couldn’t guarantee rooms so had to change the stop to Picton. For Motors, it’s the first time she’s doing this drive, so is pretty focused on making sure she makes the right turn off. The rest of us are either sleeping or focused on the views outside the windows – this is a very beautiful part of New Zealand to be driving through – green grass, high mountains and clear blue water everywhere.
We get to Picton sometime after 3, and check into the hostel. We’ll be leaving in the afternoon, so we have the evening and the morning to hang around. There are tours in the morning, but honestly – not only do I not have the money, pretty sure they wont get back in time for the ferry, so I’ll be exploring on my own. First stop is down to the harbour.
It’s very picturesque, with a whole lot of money in the water. I make my way over to the small hill that’s in the centre. It’s got a few walks and mountain bike tracks that head along the coast, so I figured I’d do a partial one. Head up to the top to get a view of Picton from the lookout point, and then walk along the coast for an hour towards a beach called ‘Bobs Bay.’
It was named after a local fisherman, but that’s literally all anyone knows – who Bob was or why he was important enough to have a beach named in his honour, but the name stuck. Until the walks along the hill were built, it could only be reached by boat, even at low tide. Its also a great place to sit and watch the boats come in and out (and oddly enough, watch a few swimmers and kayaks swim out towards the smaller islands).
When I make it back, I wander around town before heading to the hostel. Tomorrow I’m going to head up the mountains behind the hostel and see the full landscape before we leave.