In February, my husband and I packed up the motorbike and headed out a road trip adventure around the South Island. I have been really looking forward to writing about this, but at the same time, putting it off a bit because I just don’t know where to start. It was such an epic trip, in such a beautiful part of the country; I want to make sure I do it justice!
Our trip began on the eve of Waitangi day, we were on a 5pm sailing and at 1pm, I still hadn’t packed. Packing for a motorbike trip can be quite quick, you don’t have a lot of luggage space so there isn’t actually that much to pack. On the other hand, it can be quite a challenge deciding what is really essential and deserves a space in the small side pannier.
Between us we have 1 set of panniers, a small backpack and a tank pack. Somehow, I managed to fit all of this:
Packing completed. Time to head to the ferry.
While waiting to board, we got chatting to another motorcyclist. One of the things I love about travelling on a motorbike is that you are instantly in a club. When out on the road, other riders will give you a nod or a wave, and when you’re parked up, they will just start chatting to you, sharing stories of the adventures they have had on their bike.
Wellington had put on some nice weather for us, thankfully. I don’t really have an issue with motion sickness, but the cook straight can get pretty rough. I have been on one of those rough sailings and I don’t wish to do it again!
The ferry ride is around 3.5 hours, about an hour of which is through the picturesque Marlborough sounds. We had a pretty smooth sailing, apart from a rough 30 minute patch after we left the shelter of Wellington harbour. It was a full sailing and the motorbikers were last to board, so all the inside seats and the outside seats at the front were taken by the time we got on board. We ended up in the only available seats we could find, which happened to be outside in the smokers area, but also in the centre of the boat. Now here is a tip from my mum to you – ‘Stay in the centre of the boat, it’s more stable there’. Yes the boat was rocking and we watched the horizon going up and down, but neither of us had any sea sickness. When I went inside to get some food, I passed a lot of very ill looking passengers. Excellent advice mum!
We then entered the calm waters of the Marlborough sounds. It is so picturesque and beautiful. A flock of birds effortlessly glide through the air, following alongside the boat. The water is so still and the setting sun casts a golden glow across the hills. I watch as birds feed on schools of fish that have risen to the surface.
What a way to start our holiday.
We arrived in Picton, a quiet, peaceful town and drove a couple of minutes down the road to our accommodation. Tonight we are staying at Sequoia Lodge Backpackers, a pretty place, with tropical looking plants, a spa pool and giant chess set. The rooms were simple but clean. All we needed.
We then decided to head across the road to a local pub, Crow Tavern, to grab some dinner and a wine. The pub has a bit of a kitch, kiwiana feel to it, the staff are friendly and there is a really chilled out atmosphere. This place feels like it is a bit of a community hub, reading the notices on the board I learn that Kerri-oke is cancelled this Saturday as Kerri is away.
That made me smile.
But now it’s time to get some rest. We have a decent ride a head of us tomorrow we want to be feeling fresh for the next leg of the journey.
There are 2 ferry companies that operate between Wellington and Picton, The Interislander (which we traveled on) and Blue Bridge. Both companies have multiple sailing times during the day.
Our return trip for 2 adults and a motorbike cost us $336. (You need to take your own tie downs for the motorbike)
Sequoia Lodge Backpackers is in a convenient location and only a couple of minutes drive from the ferry terminal. Linen, towels and breakfast is included in the price. There are a variety of room types to suit all budgets. We stayed in a double room with shared bathroom for $76.