Located at the top of the South Island, Picton is considered the ‘gateway to the South Island’ for people arriving from Wellington via ferry, however there is more to Picton then just a 24 hour ferry service between the North and South Island’s!
There are two ferry operators currently transporting passengers and vehicles across Cook Strait between Wellington and Picton, they are The Interislander (which has up to 5 sailings in each direction daily) and the Bluebridge (with up to 4 sailings in each direction daily). It takes approximately 3 hours to travel by ferry between Wellington and Picton.
Visitors can choose to drive, float, rail or fly into the region! Blenheim airport is an easy commute from Picton and has direct airlinks with Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch airports. Direct flights between Wellington and Blenheim only take 25 minutes, direct flights to/from Christchurch are around 50 minutes and Auckland direct flights can be expected to take approximately 80 minutes. Air New Zealand, Sounds Air and Air to There operate domestic flights from Blenheim airport.
Of course there are some other great air transport options for those scenic flights or quick jaunts into the Sounds or over to Nelson! Picton Float Plane specialises in seaplane flights throughout the Marlborough Sounds, Wellington, and Abel Tasman with flights flown to suit your schedule. Windhawk Helicopters offer VIP helicopter charters to Marlborough wineries and resorts as well as scenic flights around the region.
If you are travelling in the South Island, another highly enjoyable and scenic way to travel to Picton is via the Tranz Scenic train. This daily service travels between Picton, Blenheim and Christchurch (and return) along the stunning Kaikoura Coast. Sit, back and relax while enjoying panoramic views, reclining seating and a fully licensed buffet car.
If you decide to drive to Picton, the following drive times are a guide only. Drive time to Picton…
From Christchurch: 4.15 hours
From Dunedin: 9 hours
From Franz Josef: 6.30 hours
From Greymouth: 4.30 hours
From Kaikoura: 2 hours
From Nelson: 1.45 hour
From Westport: 3.20 hours
From Blenheim: 30 minutes
If you don’t feel like self-driving you can enjoy the scenic highlights while someone else does the driving! Shuttle buses and coach lines (such Intercity and Naked Bus) operate to and from Picton, connecting you with routes along the South Island.
While the Picton township is well positioned for easy walking to the majority of shops, cafes, restaurants and visitor information, you can still choose a variety of options for getting yourself around the Marlborough region.
Gateway Taxis Picton Ltd operate a taxi service in Picton and they also have mini buses, cars and limousines available for chauffeur service.
Water taxi is a popular mode of transport for travelling throughout the Marlborough Sounds, especially is you are wishing to walk the Queen Charlotte Track. Arrow Water Taxis are located in Picton and provide a 7 day service for bikers, hikers, bach owners, builders, etc that can take you anywhere in the Queen Charlotte Sound and Tory Channel. Endeavour Express is another good choice, specialising in water transport in/out of the Queen Charlotte Track and to all outer sounds lodges.
Hiring a rental car is probably the most popular form of self-transportation when spending time in Picton. There is a decent selection of rental car operators offering a range of vehicles to suit your budget and requirements, including compact cars, 4WD’s and mini-vans.