Monday, June 8, 2015

New Zealand trip - Day 3

Woke up this morning to see the beautiful view of the harbor from my room window, too bad no time to sit and enjoy it. Another full day of activities but much more laid back. We went on the 8:45am Interisland ferry to cross to the south island. This takes about 3 hours, plenty of time to relax. We were lucky and had a pretty smooth crossing. The last hour is when you want to be outside as you cruise between the islands of the Queen Charlotte Sound. This is called “one of the most beautiful ferry rides in the world”.
 The particular vessel we were on is the largest of their 3 ships. They are replacing the smallest one with a new vessel. The company will be announcing the name next week. The vessel will go into service in July. When this happens, all three vessels will have the Premier lounge, with complimentary food and free wifi.  If not in the Premier Lounge, you can pay for food and wifi (via an access card). Having done both the standard passage seat and the Premier lounge, I recommend paying the extra fee.

Once on the south island, we made our way south towards Blenheim and the Brancott Estate Heritage Centre for lunch and wine tasting. It is a rough job but someone has to do it. Brancott (formerly Montana) is the largest winery in New Zealand. They are the first to plant and create the world's first Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc wine.

Next stop was at the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre currently featuring Sir Peter Jackson’s own WW I aircraft and artefacts, known as the Knights of the Sky. Rare memorabilia is on display, worthy of any national collection and ranges from beautifully crafted “trench art” through to personal items belonging to the famous Red Baron himself.

After our 1 hour guided tour, we move back up to the town of Picton. Here we enjoyed more wine and the local green shell mussels, onboard the MV Odyssea vessel.  The green shell mussels are the second largest industry of this region, behind the wine industry. The seafood Odyssea cruise featured Regal salmon and Tio Point oysters complimented with Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. Great way to experience the picturesque scenery of this area. These vessels can also be chartered for overnight stays.  
Dinner this evening was at our hotel, the Park Regis Picton. The hotel was nice but the elevator was not position conveniently to the lobby. Most walked their luggage up or down 8 to 10 stairs to get to the room.

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