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BUG New Zealand travel guidebook

Destination guides > Pacific Islands > New Zealand > Marlborough > Picton


As the southern terminus for the Cook Strait ferries, this pretty little town is most people’s first impression of the South Island. Although most people come here to make transport connections, Picton is also the launching pad for exploring the Marlborough Sounds with many hiking trails starting nearby including the popular Queen Charlotte Track.

The ferry from Wellington arrives in Picton at the top of New Zealand's South Island

Practical information

Picton i-Site Visitor Centre

The Foreshore, Picton
Tel (03) 520 3113
Website www.destinationmarlborough.com
Open Jan-Apr 8.30am-5pm daily; May-Sep Mon-Fri 9am-5pm, Sat-Sun 9am-4.30pm; Oct-Nov 8.30am-5pm daily

Coming & going


Flights from Wellington are competitively priced, often working out at around the same price as the ferry. Sounds Air (tel 0800 505 005) fly from the small Koromiko airfield 9km south of town and operate their own shuttle bus to and from Picton. Air New Zealand (tel 0800 737 000) fly from the busier Blenheim Airport, about half an hour south of Picton.


There are frequent bus connections with Atomic Shuttles, InterCity and Naked Bus plus several smaller bus operators having services to Christchurch, Nelson and elsewhere in the South Island.

Atomic Shuttles (tel (03) 349 0697) have buses to Christchurch and Nelson. InterCity Coachlines (tel (03) 365 1113) go to Christchurch, Greymouth and Nelson and Nakedbus.com go to Christchurch, Greymouth, Motueka and Nelson.

Naked Bus stop at the ferry terminal and other buses stop outside the i-Site Visitor Centre on the foreshore.


Picton is the northern terminus for the South Island’s rail network. The train station is on Auckland Street only 200m from the ferry terminal.


The ferry terminal handles Blue Bridge and Interislander ferries to Wellington. Most rental car agencies have their offices outside the ferry terminal and along nearby Auckland Street.
There are also water taxis that connect Picton with various spots in the Marlborough Sounds. Many backpackers use these to get to the Queen Charlotte Track and some of the more remote hostels in the Sounds.

Hostel accommodation

Atlantis Backpackers’ Hostel

London Quay, Picton
Tel (03) 573 7390

Bayview Backpackers

318 Waikawa Road, Picton
Tel (03) 573 7668
No booking fee when you book this hostel online at bug.co.uk

The Juggler’s Rest

8 Canterbury Street, Picton
Tel (03) 573 5570

Picton Lodge

9 Auckland Street, Picton
Tel (03) 573 7788

No booking fee when you book this hostel online at bug.co.uk

Sequoia Lodge

3a Nelson Square, Picton
Tel (03) 573 8399

No booking fee when you book this hostel online at bug.co.uk

Tombstone Backpackers

16 Gravesend Place, Picton
Tel (03)573 7116

The Villa

34 Auckland Street, Picton
Tel (03) 573 6598

Wedgewood House YHA

10 Dublin Street, Picton
Tel (03) 573 7797

Eating & drinking

Although Picton is just a small town, the constant movement of travellers through town means that it has a relatively good choice of places to eat. Most restaurants and cafés are clustered on High Street and there are a few places on London Quay.

Le Café Picton (London Quay, Picton) was the first place to town to serve real espresso and also serves nice meals. Gusto (33 High Street, Picton) is a smaller place that also serves good coffee.

There are several bars in town including Seamus’s Irish Bar (25 Wellington Street, Picton), which is one of Picton’s more popular places for a drink.

If you’re preparing your own food, there is a SuperValue supermarket in Mariners Mall (High Street, Picton).

Sightseeing, museums & tourist attractions

Edwin Fox Maritime Centre

The Edwin Fox is the world’s ninth oldest ship and is the focal point of this small maritime museum near Picton’s ferry terminal. This ship was built in Kolkata (then Calcutta) in 1853 and is the only surviving wooden ship to carry immigrants to New Zealand and convicts to Australia. It is also the oldest surviving troopship from the Crimean War.

Foreshore, Picton
Tel (03) 573 6868
Website www.edwinfoxsociety.com
Admission $8
Open 9am-5pm daily

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