Headed up to Campuestohan Mountain resort today and it was scorching hot! The place was surprisingly nice but I’m afraid we didn’t get to enjoy it that much because of the heat.
The grounds were lovely and very kid-friendly with a huge playground and a bevy of statues of famous characters against a background of a great big log cabin. Very kitschy. Especially the gigantic Islander tsinelas (jandals for the kiwis). LOL..
All your heroes in one place!
In fairness, the Iron Man replica was quite good.
The star of the day was first great-grandson and cutest little boy, Baby S, whose boundless energy was undeterred by the heat. Needless to say he kept everyone entertained the whole time.
But all that cuteness overload wasn’t enough to hold us for long. After a superb lunch of pork, pork and more pork, we all packed up and headed home.
The Mailboat Cruise was the only thing I really wanted to take while in Picton. It’s a 5 hour cruise where you accompany the mail as it gets delivered to all the outlying areas that are accessible only by boat. Only Beachcomber Cruises runs it.
Sightseeing is always a treat but this cruise is different because you get a glimpse of how life is lived by locals in the area.
It was a busy day during our visit and the boat was almost full:
And here are the mail bags, ready to go:
One of the best parts of the cruise was the dolphin pod that was swam close to the boat and gave us a good show. When the skipper revved up the engine and let ‘er rip, they chased the boat around. There were so many of them that it was impossible to count.
One of the mail stops along the way:
In the midst of all the mail deliveries, we stopped for a quick peek at Ship Cove - Capt. Cook’s first landing spot. There’s a monument there now to commemorate this significant event in New Zealand history:
The trip back was quite long (an hour) so I was able to squeeze in a quick snooze. Coffee and tea are available on the boat for free and there were cookies for sale.
The Mailboat Cruise has daily trips (except Sundays) and costs NZ$91 for and adult. A bit too steep initially but totally worth it for 5 hours and all the wonderful things you see. The skipper is also a wonderful tour guide with a story to tell about every nook and cranny of the Sounds.
After getting off the Coastal Pacific, we were met at the train station by our host Sharon of Echo Lodge. It was our first Bed & Breakfast experience so we were quite excited about this part of our South Island trip.
The B&B is just a short walk away from the waterfront, in a quiet part of the street. The house was lovely from the outside and even better inside. The moment you step into it, you feel like you’ve finally arrived home.
The rooms were spotless and you are enveloped not by the stiff, starched, uniform smell of chain hotels but by the scent of mum’s freshly changed sheets. A welcome change from the 2 nights in a backpacker hostel we had spent. It made me just want to snuggle under the covers and spend the rest of the day in bed..
Welcome to Echo Lodge!
After the Mailboat Cruise, we were feeling a bit tired so we just brought home some fish & chips and a bottle of wine. Sharon sat down and accompanied us and we had a really loooong and good chat about anything and everything Picton. We were also joined by the other guests, a French couple who could not speak a word of English. Interesting to find out how you can still keep a conversation going with the language barrier & all.
Chloe the Cat aka Mistress of the house.
Echo Lodge’s rates come with continental breakfast — a breakfast that exceeds expectations exceedingly! There was quite a selection of breads, jams and cereals and all very lovingly presented. We were truly stuffed, hubby and I.. and we both declared that this was one of the best continental breakfasts we had ever had.
Breakfast of champions
After breakfast we chatted some more with Sharon and since it was drizzling, Russell graciously dropped us off in town so we didn’t have to walk in the rain.
Echo Lodge facade
As I’ve said, it was our first B&B experience so we did not have any preconceived expectations when we arrived. But I was really truly over the top impressed with our stay here. What makes the place special, I believe, is the care and love and attention that the owners have placed into even the most minute details of the house.
My only regret really is not staying longer.