This morning was quite dark and overcast. Mist hung around the hills of Picton as we looked out our hotel window. But with only two possible days to take in a recommended trip on the Pelorus Sound mail boat – a full day excursion – and tomorrow’s weather forecast offering a 60% chance of rain, while today was only 40%, it was a no brainer. We had to go today.
We hadn’t booked, so decided to ensure we arrived early enough to hopefully secure a berth. The boat departs from Havelock, 45 minutes from our hotel in Picton. There are two routes between Picton and Havelock, both taking a similar time. However, hotel staff advised the one down to Blenheim and back up to Havelock was the main route. The other might be very beautiful – touted to be the most beautiful drive in New Zealand – but it was slow and windy. With time on our side, we chose the picturesque route, Queen Charlotte Drive.
As keen as we were to reach Havelock and get on board the mail boat, we discovered a delight we’d been unaware even existed. I’m so thankful we took this scenic drive.
Do not miss the chance to experience Queen Charlotte Drive if you are in the area. It is indeed a memorable drive. Slow and windy through thick native bush – very slow and very, very windy – but the views across the Sound are spectacular. It’s approximately 40 km long, and took us about 45 minutes to travel. We rarely got anywhere near the 50km speed limit, as the twists and turns were often very tight. Watching for cars and the possibility of encountering cyclists made such a low speed necessary.
If there is anything I can say to encourage you to drive this road, it would be to tell you that we drove back to Picton later in the day across the same road, just to ensure we had taken in all the pull overs and lookouts available.
Some views from Queen Charlotte Drive