Te Matau a Maui Bay & Kenepuru Sounds

Following a quick grocery top up at the Fresh Choice Supermarket in Picton, we set off for Marlborough Sounds on the morning of 4th February.

We were excited at the prospect of visiting the Sounds which cover a huge area with relatively little accommodation. We were hoping to find somewhere secluded and exclusive and the chalet we booked fitted the bill. It was about 2.5 hours drive from Picton which was itself the nearest proper town. There were no facilities in the immediate area of the house, the nearest hotel/restaurant/bar being Raetihi Lodge 6 km away. Just what we were looking for.

In truth I was a tad concerned at the drive ahead. When making the initial enquiry about the accommodation I was told that most of the last 20KM of the journey was on narrow and windy unsealed roads in a fairly mountainous region which I thought might be an issue with the car hire firm. There were options of water taxis from Clifton or even a water plane but in the event it wasn’t an issue with the car hire confirming AOK – but I still didn’t much fancy that last stretch.

The drive was fine. We have done worse and more stressful drives in the Lake District. We had a great stay. The house had its own friendly Weka bird (a flightless friendly bird about the size of a chicken) and a possum (an unwanted OZ import classed as vermin) which visited at least one evening pushing its pink nose up against the French windows as we sat reading.

The accommodation was Dutch-owned and excellent. It was kitted out to a high standard and, most importantly, the wifi was strong. The weather was mostly good with temperatures in the 20s and with only a couple of hours of rain on one of our 4 days.We did some good 10/15 km walks on 3 of our 4 days – and felt very pleased with ourselves as one in particular, a walk over the mountain to a bay in the Next Sound, was pretty tough – for us. The last day was spent reading and fishing on St Omer Beach.

A perfect time in the Sounds. Next stop: Nelson!

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