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We made our way from Motueka over to Picton. (With the beach picnic stop in between.) Here we finally had to give up our little Mazda2. It did us well for our travels through the south island. There was quite a bit of organizing needed to get back down to a couple bags again but we somehow managed.

We were welcomed warmly by the B&B‘s (Anchor Down) owners, Ian & Janet. A glass of wine and great advice of the surrounding area. We also met the others staying at the B&B, a couple from the Netherlands (on their honeymoon) and a couple from Germany (on a 7 month vacation). Both had great stories to share.

We went to an Irish Pub close by for a quick bite to eat before calling it a night.

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The next day we got up bright and early to do our hike. Not before having a lovely French toast with berries for breakfast. We were then off to the marina where we caught a water taxi to Motuara Island.

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We got their at 9am and had the whole island to ourselves for an hour.

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The island is quite special as it is a sanctuary to a number of New Zealand’s rare and endangered birds, reptiles, and insects.

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Little Blue Penguins, weighing only 1kg and 40 cm in length. When we got close to the box we actually heard a little growl. It was a feeble attempt at scaring us though as its cuteness was apparent as soon as we opened the box.

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South Island Robin

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Fantail 

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We jumped on another water taxi for a short ride over to historical Ship Cove. A beautiful bay that Captain Cook stopped at many times throughout his voyages around the islands. This was the starting point for our 15km, 4.5-5 hour hike, a portion of the Queen Charlotte Track.

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The hike had a steep, muddy start but after the first two hours got a lot easier and had some lovely views of the Marlborough sounds.

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There were 100’s of traps laid out about the edges of the hiking trail, in the tress, and beyond. These traps are there to help control the invasive pests plaguing New Zealand such as possums, ferrets, and rats.

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We stopped for lunch and were greeted by some overly friendly Weka.

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It started to rain so we kicked it into high gear and finished the hike in 3.5 hours, considerably earlier than the suggested time.

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Sadly we could only get back to Picton via another water taxi not scheduled to pick us up for another 2 hours. We sat back, enjoyed a drink, and let the mud dry on our shoes and socks.

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On the way back through the sounds we encountered a pod of bottlenose dolphins. There were much larger than the Dusky dolphins we saw in Kaikoura. They were not as “jumpy” but were still an amazing sight to see.

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By the time we got back into Picton we were starving and Amy had a craving for steak since the end of the hike. We had a wonderful meal at Cortado, and yes, Amy had her steak.

Another glass of wine greeted us back at the b&b. Not only was it well deserved from the long day of hiking but right when we were walking home it decided to downpour and we were drenched by the time we returned. Amy still remembers how cold she was.

Our laundry was also taken care of so hot showers were #1 priority. A little bit of packing and we were in bed and sore.

  

Until Next Time…

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