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Lochmara/picton

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Oct 27th, 2015, 08:10 PM
  #1
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Lochmara/picton

Hello
We are hoping to take a ferry from Wellington to get a glimpse of the South Island. 3 adults, 2 children (age 4 and 1) and only 3 days. I was looking at Picton as a home base and then landing the mail boat for a day. But then stumbled on lochmara and thought that might be a nice alternative, especially with the glow worms. Would appreciate any insight or alternatives.
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Oct 28th, 2015, 05:45 PM
  #2
 
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I've not stayed at Lochmara, but have stayed at Punga Cove (awful) and Bay of Many Coves (awesome). I've also spent several nights in Picton on numerous occasions.

There's something really special about staying at accommodation that is accessible via water only, especially for those who are content to plop themselves down for a few days and rely upon a resort for everything.

I notice that Lochmara has no cooking facilities, which for me is a drawback, as that means being wholly dependent upon the lodge for all meals. That sort of arrangement tends to make me feel captive, but it might well work for you and your family.

I have to wonder if more time on the water accessing your accommodation after the ferry crossing might be redundant though.

Having said that, I've loved every water taxi ride I've taken into the sounds and I adore the mail boat, particularly on a beautiful clear day (I've been to the SI a dozen times, but never taken the ferry).

On the upside, Lochmara is located right on Queen Charlotte Track, making day walks from the lodge possible, which isn't always the case with Marlborough Sounds accommodation.

Staying in Picton is a good option too - it'd be less expensive (those water taxi fares add up), and you'd have access to all sorts of walking/exploring options that you could do on your own.

If you had a car, you could drive into Blenheim too, about a 25 minute drive from Picton to visit some wineries (although perhaps not of interest with youngsters!).

As for the glow worms being an attraction...the kids would no doubt love them, but they're pretty common in NZ, you just need to know where to look.

It's all good!
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Oct 28th, 2015, 11:03 PM
  #3
 
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As Melnq8 wrote, there are many NZ places where you can see glow worms Even in cities. After it rains, it's sometimes possible to see them in Wellington's Botanic Garden (scroll down this page):
http://wellington.govt.nz/recreation...en/attractions

In Auckland, they're sometimes seen in the Waitakere Ranges and in Manukau's Totara Park, according to this Stuff NZ article:
http://www.stuff.co.nz/travel/destin...ectacular-show
Remember, they can only be seen in the dark (as in a cave), or after dark (as in the woods or in a park). So if you look for them on your own in the dark, take a torch/flashlight to light your way and take care to not slip.

Waitomo Caves is the NI's most renown glow worm attraction. If your kids are keen to see them, it'd be a real treat.
http://www.waitomo.com/Waitomo-Gloww...s/default.aspx

I never found the idea of insect larvae overhead appealing, but found myself in Te Anau with time to spare, so I took its famed glow worm tour, which also involves a boat ride through a cave system. The experience was touristy and a bit rushed, but interesting and enjoyable.

I've also visited free glow worm sites in Hokitika and in Dunedin (where I live), which were nice, but not as large, impressive or interesting as TA caves.

Here's a list of other spots:
http://www.backpackerguide.nz/6-plac...s-new-zealand/

Just "googling" Picton and glow worms, turned up the Esson Valley/Waitohi Stream walk near Alexander's Holiday Park:
http://www.visitpicton.co.nz/index.p.../walks-tracks/
http://www.alexanderspicton.co.nz/

Map of Picton walks:
http://www.marlborough.govt.nz/recre...ctonWalks.ashx
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Oct 29th, 2015, 12:37 AM
  #4
 
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When are you going? Because your 1 year old might not get as much out of the seeing glow worms as the rest of you.
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Nov 7th, 2015, 02:12 AM
  #5
 
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Hi melnq8, curious as to why Punga Cove was awful. Planning a visit next year to walk the track and obviously need to book accommodation. Thanks.
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Nov 7th, 2015, 08:30 AM
  #6
 
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dreamon -

It's been many years since we stayed there, but our bad experience is still fresh in my mind. We thought we were in for a treat, but instead we found a 'resort' located in a beautiful spot, but neglected and poorly run and the new (at the time) owners defensive and seemingly disinterested in their guests. It was disheartening and very un-Kiwi-like.

There are many reviews on the following link, some good some bad. I like to think they've improved over the years, but then I read a new review that sounds similar to our experience and I have to wonder.

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserR...th_Island.html

Should you opt to stay there, I'd love to hear if the place has improved.
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Nov 7th, 2015, 05:43 PM
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Thanks, melnq8. There doesn't seem to be a lot of accommodation options along the track but will certainly look into all the alternatives. I'm using the Queen Charlotte web sites but if there are others with different listings, I'd be glad to hear. Will report back if we do stay there.
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Nov 7th, 2015, 06:41 PM
  #8
 
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dreamon -

Have you see this site?

http://www.qctrack.co.nz/track-operators/accommodation/

These are on/near the track between Endeavour Inlet and Camp Bay, as is Punga Cove.

http://www.qctrack.co.nz/directory/c...et-to-camp-bay

There are also some places scattered about that you won't find listed on the above site, problem is few are right on the track and will involve a detour, often times a rugged, steep one.

https://www.holidayhouses.co.nz/Marl...Any&minguests=
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Nov 7th, 2015, 11:07 PM
  #9
 
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Thank you, melnq8. I've seen the first site/s but not the last one. Will check it out.
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