New Zealand: Passing Some Time in Picton

Picton, South Island – April 11 to April 17, 2017

There was a print with this quote hanging in one of the places we stayed (ironically, not in Picton) but it made me think of Picton:

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

This quote sort of sums up our stay in Picton.  We had planned to stay for two nights at a BnB before taking the ferry to the North Island.  We ended up staying at the BnB for 4 nights, plus 2 more nights at another place. (Unfortunately, the first BnB was booked, or we would have stayed there the additional 2 nights.)

Why all the time in Picton?  Well, we didn’t want to cross the Cook Strait in rough weather, and we didn’t want to end up on the North Island too soon after Cyclone Debbie or at the same time as Cyclone Cook.

That said, we passed some time in Picton at an absolutely lovely BnB — Harbour Heights Bnb. (New website is here:  The owners, Kev and Leita (and their sweet “watchdog” Willow), made us feel completely welcome, and we thoroughly enjoyed the time we spent hanging out, chatting, and anticipating Cyclone Cook.  We had our own room with a small kitchenette but were welcome to use the main house kitchen and lounge area, which we did.  We all enjoyed getting to know Kevin (a former principal, rugby player, and rugby ref) and Leita (a preschool teacher) and the kids, especially, loved playing with Willow.

Photo compliments of Harbour Heights BnB
Photo compliments of Harbour Heights Bnb with Willow (resident pup) and Elvis (visiting pup).

We made the most of our time in Picton, despite the weather — seeing the “Beauty and the Beast movie,” visiting the whaling museum, getting family haircuts(!), walking a bit of the Queen Charlotte Track, checking out the marina, enjoying a few local restaurants, playing at the playground on the foreshore, sailing boats on a little pond, and celebrating Easter with a 2-person Easter egg hunt! 🙂

“Beauty and the Beast” was a beautiful movie and a great way to spend a rainy afternoon.  There were only 8 of us in the theater!

The view as we walked down the hill from our bnb into town.

Before and after pictures of our haircuts — some more drastic than others!.


And a family picture, too, as Mike was in on the fun as well!! 🙂

While Mike and the kids were done with all 3 of their haircuts in just over an hour, I remained at the salon for almost 4 hours!  I went from this to this!

While I was at the salon drinking coffee, eating ginger slice, and relaxing, Mike and the kids enjoyed a nice lunch, stopped by the ferry port, checked out a couple of museums, found a playground, and examined sea creatures (like this starfish). 🙂


After I was done with my haircut/new hairdo, we all went to the Whaling Museum that had a collection of close to 2,000 items of Maori (native people of Aotearoa – New Zealand), whaling, maritime, heritage, and textile displays.

Lunch at the Jolly Roger and wandering around the marina.

Special Easter “baskets” from Leita and Kev! and finally a sunny day in Picton!  We spent a little time at the playground and then decided we’d better take advantage of the beautiful weather and headed for the i-Site to get info on doing a walk on the Queen Charlotte Track.


We spotted a Weka bird hopping around.  As we watched him, we realized that he had a hurt talon. 🙁

All the rain from Cyclone Cook created muddy paths and “rivers” next to the path.

Silver ferns, a giant fern tree, and L showing how big the fern fronds are in comparison to him! 🙂

We saw at least 5 nests with baby shags!  It’s a little hard to see, but here’s one of them.

As we made our way back to Picton, we stopped at a couple of scenic lookouts with amazing views!

At another spot, we saw a huge cargo boat loading logs onto it.  The map nearby had a nice description of where we were.

Back in Picton, the sun was still shining, so we played a bit at the playground and then went for ice cream! 🙂

After we got settled into the place we stayed for the last two nights in Picton, we realized we didn’t have any wifi.  Usually it’s not a big deal here and there, but this time we really needed it to get tickets for the ferry across the Cook Strait to the North Island. We also needed to make sure we had a place to stay when we got there and a car to drive! 🙂

As a result, we headed back to the Jolly Roger for wifi, a beer and some fries. Mike and I started researching options, and the kids read and played on their tablets.  As you can see in the picture below, we were all “noses to the grindstone.”  So much so, that the woman in yellow (behind Mike) actually stopped over to make sure everything was okay. She said it’s unusual to see people sitting at a table and not talking to each other or to anyone else.  It was very sweet of her to be concerned, but we explained all was well…just needed a place with wifi to figure out travel plans. 🙂

The next morning, the kids were happy to see that the Easter Bunny found them. 🙂  Then it was time for a paper Easter egg hunt.  G decorated a bunch of paper eggs, and L hid them and made a map for G to use to find them. 🙂

While playing on the playground in town later that morning, we heard lots of horns honking.  We walked out to the main road and found a race going on, so we stopped to have a look.  It was the Pork Pie Charity Run — a race of 60 Minis traveling 2,500 km over 6 days and 7 nights!  When we saw them, they’d just come off the ferry from the North Island and were heading south to Christchurch.


We walked back over to the playground area (spotted a shag on the way) and G and L sailed a couple of sailboats on a little pond.

We ended Easter with a very non-traditional (but delicious) dinner of patty melts with crisps and carrot sticks! 🙂


Next stop…the North Island!

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