Picton the gateway to the south is located at the end of the stunning Marlborough Sounds, the journey for many starts at the Wellington ferry terminal on board one of the three inter islander ferries the Aratere, the Kaitaki, and the Kaiarahite that transport people and there vehicles from the Wellington Harbour to the Marlborough sounds, the trip takes around three hours depending on the weather and the sea conditions.
The open sea can be uncomfortable in adverse conditions even for the big inter islander ships but what a trip of a life time, standing at the front of the ferry as it leaves the narrow Wellington harbour entrance is the best place to be as the ship swings the stern around to miss the narrow headland and rocks.
The next 2 hours are boring unless there are heavy seas running in the cook straight then the fun returns as the ship lunges up the swells and drops down the other side, entering the Marlborough sounds is spectacular as a pillar of jagged rocks mark the fantastic trip through the entrance and into the calm waters of the sounds.
The place to be here is on the top deck weather dependent, we were on the Aratere which is the best of the three inter islander ferries and the top deck has seating and access all around the perimeter offering fantastic vantage points for taking photos.
The tide was running out through the heads on our trip through the Marlborough sounds entrance and the menacing currents were a mix of swirling water eddys and near vertical standing waves as the water is forced out through the headland, once inside the heads the sea was flat like a sheet of glass and we could not of asked for better weather the sun was shining and the air on the top deck was warm.
The trip down through the sounds takes around 45 to 55 minutes and the shear volume and the area of the sounds is incredible there are so many bays, coves and beaches scattered through out the sounds and only a hand full of houses can be seen all the way to Picton, this area is so remote there are no roads out here access to the few houses that dot the shoreline are boat access only a far cry from the bustle of Wellington Harbor that we left only a few hours ago.