Well, after a good nights sleep we headed off to explore the offers in Picton itself. Known as the ´Gateway to the Marlborough Sounds´the small town is pretty and quaint. The main street is colourful with small cafes and gift shops with the road leading down to the shoreline where there are small boats moored close to where the ferries are coming and going. There are numerous kiosks here offering day trips around the coast taking clients off on exploration trips either to walking destinations or to dolphin watching within the Sounds. Time was short so we had no time to do much so just wandered around the streets window shopping and watching the people. After two evenings at our motel, with its super friendly young hosts, it was time for us to head further west to the coastal town of Nelson.
It is known as the sunniest place in the country and is a town nestled in the surrounding tree covered hillsides. Again, the town is based around a main street, Trafalgar Street, although there is a seafront area slightly out of the main hub, more accessible if you have transport. The main street itself is noticeable by the Civic Tower at one end, a building opposite the information centre, which is unfortunately a very ugly building looking quite out of place, reaching down to Nelson´s Cathedral which is not so old, having been completed in 1965. The interior of this Cathedral contain some fine stained glass windows and externally it offers a nice view back down Trafalgar Street.
Thanks to our guide book, we found some excellent accommodation here, Accents on the Park. This place is a beautifully renovated Victorian villa which is oozing with charm. It felt more like a guest house than a backpackers place. A beautiful building with wonderful attention to detail on its interior. The shared bathroom facilities were impeccable and the rooms spacious with crisp linen on the beds and fresh towels daily. The staff were super friendly and attentive and couldn’t do enough to help if the need arose. I must say, it is by far the nicest backpackers accommodation that we have stayed in so far.
The town is nice to walk around, with a parade of the usual suspects, cafes, restaurants and shops although coming from Spain, it was weird to find that restaurants were clearing up to close around 9pm (something to bear in mind if you want to go out and eat). Bridge Street is where you can find the lively bars for evening entertainment, although we didn´t make it there ourselves.
As a base to see the surrounding area, we can definitely recommend the accommodation where we stayed and the town itself as a central region for a couple of days of exploring