s/y Nine of Cups
Marlborough Sounds & More South Island
March 2010
Return to Home Page
Return to Home Page
Queen Charlotte Sound
We visited the Queen Charlotte Sound by car a few weeks ago and were so impressed with its beauty,
we felt we had to return with
Nine of Cups. We left Homestead Bay and had a great sail to the
well-protected anchorage of Schoolhouse Cove in  Resolution Bay. With glorious weather abounding, we
walked parts of the Queen Charlotte Track. First, we tramped from Schoolhouse Cove to Ship Cove and
back (9km return) and then Schoolhouse Cove to the Furneaux Lodge in Endeavor Inlet (~20km
return...whew!). There was something new each direction and each day. Outstanding!
Stretching 71km, the Queen Charlotte Track is
renowned for its stunning views and contrasting
landscape, historical landmarks and wonderful
variety of native bush and wildlife.
Resolution Bay - 41S06.80 / 174E13.33
Our first day's hike took us from School House Cove
over to Ship Cove. Above, an extraordinary view of
Resolution Bay from the lookout halfway to Ship Cove.
James Cook named the sound
Queen Charlotte Sound in 1770
after Queen Charlotte, wife of King
George III and claimed the new
territory for Great Britain.
Oystercatchers roam the beach at Ship Cove.
We saw several wekas on the track; this
one was most insistent on sharing our lunch.
A carved Maori warrior with paua
shell eyes guards the lovely park  at
Ship Cove.
A view of  Ship Cove through the salt grass
which grows along the shore.
A monument erected in 1912 to James
Cook and crew who stopped here five times
between 1770-1777.
Cook's ships spent a total of over 168 days in Ship
Cove over a period of seven years. Cook spent
more time here than anywhere else in New Zealand
and it was here that the first sustained contacts
between Maori and European  were made.
"X" marks our anchorage spot in Schoolhouse Cove. The red line shows our hiking track.
Maori legend believes that Kupe, the first
human to discover this land, chased a giant
octopus to the South Island.
We were impressed by the size and sheer
quantity of lush fern trees that line the trails.
Bird songs and the steady buzz of
cicadas provided the background
music for our hike. Above, a fantail.
The second day's trek to Furneaux Lodge
was long, but a cold beer at the lodge
provided the energy to do the return trip.
Picton - 41S17.27 / 174E00.59
We passed over private property and shared
the track with sheep.
New Zealand has about 60 million sheep
and only about 4 million people.
The track was well-marked and well
maintained. Once we reached Picton, we
gladly bought our "Trust" tickets for care
and maintenance of the trail.
David spotted this weird looking  and
rather large "stick insect" on the trail. It
looked very much like a...stick.
With a mainsail repair to be handled, we opted
to head into Picton Marina, only 10 miles
away,  to find a sailmaker. It was a breezy
Sunday and Kiwis are keen to sail.
Luckily, the Picton Marina had a berth available
for us. It provides all the amenities and as usual,
a hot shower was high on the list. It's only a
5-minute walk from downtown Picton.
We were able to locate a most efficient and
accommodating sailmaker immediately and
arranged for the sail repair. We were also able
to locate a galvanizer in Christchurch who
could turn around galvanizing of our chain and
anchor within 3-4 days. Hmm... this presented
the opportunity for a short, but fun ROAD
TRIP! We rented a car, loaded the chain and
our 50K anchor into its trunk and proceeded
to Christchurch like low-rider the next
morning. Having dropped off the chain and
anchor, we headed to the Banks Peninsula and
Akaroa for stop #1 of our mini-road trip.
Road Trip!!! Akaroa and the Banks Peninsula
Plans change, especially aboard this boat!
Plans to go south to visit Fjordland,
Stewart Island and the Chatham Islands
were unfortunately not realized this year!
Too much to see and do and too little
time before our visas expire on 12 May.
Instead we've opted to coast/port hop up
the east coast of NZ and see what we
can see before it's time to leave.
with us back to the North Island.
New Zealand Birds
North Island
The views from the top of the cliffs looking over
Akaroa and the bay below were surreal.
Originally a small French settlement, the
French influence remains in Akaroa.
Akaroa Lighthouse and harbour
Almost a French colony...
In 1838, Jean Francois Langlois,
captain of a whaling ship, purchased
what he thought was the entire Banks
Peninsula from the Maori for ~1000
francs, then returned to France to bring
settlers for a colony. While he was
gone, the British entered into the
Waitangi Treaty with the Maori and
quickly went to Akaroa and raised the
British flag...just 6 days before Langlois
returned with 57 French settlers. The
French settlers stayed, but relinquished
rights to the land and were placed under
British rule. Bummer!
One of three scenic piers extending into
Akaroa Harbour
Original Langlois cottage c.1843
The Banks Peninsula was first sighted by
James Cooks in 1770 aboard the
and named after Joseph Banks, the naturalist.
The town is small and quaint with a
myriad of old wooden buildings tucked
between restaurants, cafes and
boutiques. Above, a neat sculpture of a
painter we saw in the pedestrian mall.
The terrain varied greatly as we headed from
Picton south. We passed through miles and miles
of vineyards in the Marlborough
region...Montana, Mount Riley, all names we
recognized. The dun colored foothills were dotted
with grazing black cattle and white sheep. The
road snaked its way over, under, around and
through (yup, tunnels). Lots of switchbacks and
steep hills until we were at the Pacific Ocean. The
rocky shore was home to seal colonies and varied
sea birds. Cray fish shacks offered live and
steamed crayfish to passersby. The winding road
hugged the coast until we arrived in Christchurch
then what could have been the Kansas/Nebraska
plains spread before us and we could barely
make out the snowy peaks of the mountains that
Cook dubbed the Southern Alps.
A fur seal colony at Oahu Point was reason
enough to stop, stretch and observe.
Nin's Bin, a crayfish shack, was open for
business and evidently so popular it was even
noted on our road map.
From Akaroa, we headed west to Mt. Cook National Park. We drove
along the Inland Scenic Route (Rte 72) watching the mountains come
closer and closer. The area surrounding Mt. Cook is called Mackenzie
Country named after a 19th century sheep rustler, James Mackenzie. This
was definitely sheep country and the rugged, steep hillsides and fields were
thick with grazing sheep. Each little town along the way had an information
center and something  it deemed special to offer. We stopped in Geraldine
for coffee and a quick look-around and Lake Tekapo to photograph the
famous Church of the Good Shepherd and a statue dedicated to its hard
working sheepdogs. A lookout on the edge of Lake Pukaki offered a
superb view of Mt. Cook (if he had not been sulking behind a huge cloud).
At 3,754 meters, Mt. Cook/Aoraki is the highest mountain in New
Zealand, however there are 27 other peaks in the Southern Alps over
3,050 meters. They were dubbed "Southern Alps" by Captain  Cook.
The Southern Alps became more and more spectacular the closer we got.
The Church of the Good Shepherd situated on
the shore of Lake Takepo was particularly scenic.
The bronze sheepdog statue in Lake Takepo
The Inland Scenic Route was indeed scenic.
The black stilt (kaki) are an endemic wading bird and considered
to be the rarest wading bird in the world. Unique to New
Zealand, the black stilt was once common in New Zealand rivers
and wetlands. As settlers appeared, habitat changed. Foreign
plants and animals were introduced and wetlands were drained
for development until only 23 birds were left in existence. NZ's
Department of Conservation (DOC) began an intensive
management system of the black stilt population in 1981. They
captured several healthy breeding pairs, artificially incubated the
eggs and raised the young chicks in captivity until they had a
better chance of surviving in the wild (~3-9 months) with a result
of more than 300 birds now surviving. We visited the  Black Stilt
DOC center in Twizel for an outstanding tour.
Lookout over turquoise waters of  Lake Pukaki.
The water color derives from the minerals
suspended in the water.
Finally, we enter the Mt. Cook National Park
and head to the Mt. Cook Village.
Tributes to Sir Edmund Hillary abound
here at the Hillary Alpine Center.
A wonderful Mt. Cook Info Center
featured a photographic gallery and all
things mountain!
The Maori refer to Mt. Cook as Aoraki, a very
sacred place and  the surrounding mountains are
his brothers.
We took several short walks including Kea
Point above with its view of Huddleston Glacier.
Another walk took us to the Tasman Glacier.
The gravel road to the head of the track led
over a single lane, scenic bridge.
The shelter at Tasman Glacier was a great
respite from showers and the cutting wind.
The Tasman Glacier is a glacial milk river with
icebergs floating by. Quite the sight.
The South Island's largest city is Christchurch, an
oh-so-English city complete with the Anglican
Christchurch cathedral at its central square. The
city was founded in 1850 as an ordered Church of
England enterprise and was meant to be a model
of class-structured England in the South Pacific
Mount Cook / Aoraki National Park
Looking up
Playing big chess in the Cathedral Square
We took a streetcar tram for a tour of the city
which allowed us on/off privileges. Above, the
Worcester Bridge over the lovely Avon River.
Punting in the Park...poled punts give
short river tours of the Avon River.
Christchurch is NZ's center for Antarctic
exploration. Above, a statue honoring
Robert Scott, Antarctic explorer.
Canterbury Botanical Gardens
Antarctica exhibit at the Canterbury Museum
The Maori exhibit at Canterbury
Museum was interesting and informative.
The sculpture "Chalice" in Cathedral
Square was erected for the millennium
and celebrates the 150th anniversary of
the founding of Christchurch.
Newly galvanized chain and anchor
lay on the wharf awaiting its return to
David works on the electronic chain counter in the
forward head...where else would you work on a
chain counter?
The Coathanger Bridge...a shortcut for
pedestrians from the marina to downtown.