Up early to catch the 8am Cook Straight ferry over to the South Island, we boarded the boat up the upper car level and made our way to the observation deck. The ferry was very similar to the PEI ferries that depart in Caribou, just outside Pictou. I used to work on the ferry there from time to time while working for Nova Scotia tourism in highschool. I hadn’t been on a ferry in probably 10 years so I was excited to get back on the sea again. It was a cloudy, drizzly day so the views were a bit fog covered, but every now and then the sun would break through and show the beautiful tree filled mountains of the south island.

Cook Island Ferry in Picton 

As we pulled into Picton (striking resemblance to Pictou – also a ferry town) we drove down mainstreet in search for some lunch and a cider. We found The Fly Haggas, which yet again made me feel like I was home again, and enjoyed a crisp cider with fish and chips.

Driving out of the town and into the mountains of Marborough Sound, Jordan must have pulled us over a half dozen times in the first half hour, finding one beautiful look off after another to take pictures. The road again was a twisty one that lined the side of mountains along the coast.

Note the squiggly line the GPS is taking us 

Heading for the Abel Tasman National Park we drove through the coastal town Nelson which was a kite boarders haven. We must have seen 20 flying their sails in this cove with a couple wind surfers in the mix as well.

As we entered the park the terrain began to change again with jagged rocks sprinkled all over the fields and mountains. No sooner than Jordan said “wow, this looks like Middle Earth” did we drive by a tour sign that said “Middle Earth Experience”. It was closed but plan to hit it on our way out in a few days.

The last stretch of the road up to the Totarnui campsite was not a road for the light hearted. Mostly single lane, with steeps banks along the edges. Most sections of the roads had been washed out at one point and construction had taken place recently to repair the road to driveable conditions. With the tragic loss of the Canadian couple in the South Island recently I couldn’t help thinking the conditions may have been similar. Jordan got us there safe and sound though and we parked our little Ractis at the campsite for the night.

Despite getting there just at dusk, we wandered along the orange sandy beach. I can’t wait to see the view in the morning as the sky blue water and orange sand make a beautiful contrast with the mountainous landscape in the distance.

Enjoying the orange sandy beach at dusk