Getting There & Getting Around
By Plane -- Air service to Picton from Wellington is provided by Soundsair (tel. 0800/505-005 in NZ; www.soundsair.com). Air New Zealand Link (tel. 0800/737-000; www.airnewzealand.co.nz) flies into nearby Blenheim. The Picton Airport (also known as Koromiko Airport) is approximately a 10-minute drive from Picton's town center. The Blenheim Airport is 10km (6 miles) from the town center. Marlborough Shuttle Services (tel. 03/572-9910) provides airport and ferry transport in Picton and Blenheim.
By Train -- The TranzCoastal provides daily rail service between Picton and Christchurch. The trip takes about 5 1/2 hours. Contact Tranz Scenic (tel. 0800/872-467 in NZ; www.tranzscenic.co.nz) for more information.
By Coach (Bus) -- Coach service into both Picton and Blenheim is provided by InterCity (tel. 09/623-1503). The trip from Christchurch takes 5 hours; from Nelson, 2 hours. Picton, and Kaikoura farther south, are both included in the routes of Magic Travellers (tel. 09/358-5600) and Kiwi Experience (tel. 09/366-9830).
By Car -- Most rental-car companies request that you turn in one car in Wellington (on the North Island) and pick up a new one in Picton. However, you can take cars and campers on the ferry should the need arise. If you're driving from Nelson, the trip takes about 2 hours; from Christchurch, 4 to 5 hours.
By Ferry -- For timetables and information on the Interislander, call tel. 0800/802-802. For information on Bluebridge ferries, call tel. 0800/844-844.
It's difficult to get lost in Picton. The town faces Queen Charlotte Sound and the small shopping area is centered on High Street. London Quay runs along the foreshore, with the ferry terminal at one end and the town wharf at the other.
Blenheim is not quite so straightforward, despite its small size. Its layout has always puzzled me and no matter how many times I visit, I always go around in circles. Be sure to pick up a map at the visitor center!
The Picton i-SITE Visitor Centre, the Foreshore (tel. 03/520-3113; fax 03/573-5021; www.destinationmarlborough.com), is in the same building as the Department of Conservation (the latter only in the building Oct-Apr), and is open daily 8:30am to 6pm in summer, 8:30am to 5pm in winter. The Blenheim office is at the Railway Station, Sinclair Street, State Highway 1 (tel. 03/577-8080; fax 03/577-8079). It's open December to March from 8:30am to 6pm Monday to Friday, and weekends from 9am to 5pm; March to November, it's open weekdays from 8:30am to 5pm, and weekends from 9am to 3pm.
Other useful websites: www.marlborough.co.nz, www.picton.co.nz, and www.marlborough4fun.co.nz (for events listings).