Popular Picton pushed for beds

KAT DUGGAN
Last updated 12:57 02/01/2014

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Picton and the Marlborough Sounds are proving a popular destination for holidaymakers again this year.

Destination Marlborough general manager Tracy Johnston said the town was "really bustling", with some people struggling to find accommodation on Saturday night.

"People are being sent as far as Havelock and Linkwater to have people staying in the region.

"We've got them right through the outer communities," she said.

This year the region was proving a popular destination for domestic travellers, who were doing a lot of day walks, and heading into the Marlborough Sounds for lunch.

"There's lots of Kiwi families, too, which is nice.

"Everyone's really bubbly and excited to be here and get out and enjoy activities," she said.

A spokesman for Marlborough Sounds Adventure Company said a lot of people were hiring mountain bikes and kayaks and were walking the Queen Charlotte Track.

Visitors to the port town this week included about 300 passengers on the Silver Shadow cruise ship.

Mrs Johnston said summer was the high season for Picton and Marlborough, and the challenge was taking advantage of that for as long as possible.

"If people are staying in the region then they are out doing things, eating in our cafes and enjoying our space."

Seabreeze cafe manager Chantal Woodley said tourists had kept them "extremely busy day and night" for the past two weeks.

"It is normally quite busy but it started a bit earlier this year," she said.

Cafe Cortado manager Steph Lewis said this year, her fourth with the cafe on London Quay, had been one of the busiest. "It has picked up a lot," she said.

She said she thought a lot of people were arriving in Picton early to ensure they got a place on the ferries after the loss of one of the Interislander ferries, the Aratere, meant early bookings were critical.

Mrs Johnston said the stress of getting travellers on a sailing had "really eased off".

"There's a bit of flexibility around timing or which company they use but they are getting to go on the day they choose," she said.

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- The Marlborough Express

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