Lochmara Lodge on Queen Charlotte Track
To have a few days in the renowned Marlborough Sounds, we returned to Picton for a water taxi ride to Lochmara Lodge.
Looking back at Picton, as we leave.
Here’s Lochmara Lodge. Hiking in from the Queen Charlotte Track is the only other way to get there.
In addition to serving people, Lochmara Lodge has the broader mission of helping restore endangered wildlife species, several of which they shelter. Their wildlife recovery and education center is supported in part by the sale of art that is widely-displayed in public places, a gallery and a studio. Here’s Kyanne with one of the parrots.
They also raise animals, grow veggies, and even keep bees. Statuary, some serious, some playful, appears throughout the grounds.
Free kayaks helped us take advantage of the sunshine on our first morning there, but our fear of losing the iPhone kept us from taking pictures. After lunch, we climbed through the extensive grounds enjoying the views and the many whimsical sculptures.
The trail beyond this gate leads toward the Queen Charlotte Track.
We didn’t get that far, but did get some nice views.
And a look down to the bay we’d kayaked in the morning.
Some of the tree ferns here tower above.
Others are just getting going.
Both, however, were accompanied by even more cicadas than we’d heard on the Abel Tasman track.
While some folks may feel the limited access here offers a relaxing retreat, we felt isolated, almost trapped. As expected, but under-appreciated, our options were limited to what was available on site (or a $60 round-trip water taxi ride). There was no grocery supply. There’s only one restaurant, but it’s a very good one with a great chef and friendly staff.
Another contributing factor was that we’d over-economized on our room. Stretching our budget to come here, we’d opted for the least-expensive room. It turned out to be a small basement room whose only windows were above the bed. The bedside tables with a small drawer and a door served provided the storage. There was no chair, no table or desk, no closet.
The combination of damp surroundings, limited air flow, and high humidity meant that our clothes barely dried. Our towels were too damp in the morning (after the prior night’s laundry) for us to want showers. (After learning that, the resort provided a second set of towels.) Bottom line: the room wasn’t an attractive place to spend time, so we were pushed into the public areas, mostly outdoors.
Our mood wasn’t improved on our second day when Kyanne awoke to numerous insect bites she’d either picked up on our walk or overnight through the window above the bed. Occasional drizzle, cooler weather and wind encouraged us to stay inside reading and catching up on blogging. We did appreciate the restaurant staff, who certainly made us feel welcome as we worked at one of their tables for several hours.
Overall, one full day here would have been enough. Maybe later we’ll appreciate having had some down time before moving on to Wellington, but we’d rather have had it in Motueka.