Picton is a port town in Marlborough (South Island, New Zealand). The town is located close to the head of Queen Charlotte Sound, approx 65 km (40 ml) west of Wellington and 25 km (16 ml) north of Blenheim. Waikawa (to the northeast) is often considered part of Picton. Town's population is around 4,000, ranking it 2nd-largest in Marlborough (after Blenheim).
As a major hub in NZ's transport network, Picton connects South Island's road and rail network via ferries across Cook Strait to North Island and Wellington. As main link between South and North Islands, Piction offers regularly scheduled ferry crossings over Cook Strait. The ferry companies Strait Shipping and Interislander are the two main cargo and passenger shipping companies on the route. Both offer Ro-Ro capabilities for wheeled cargo (trucks and cars). Interislander also serves trains.
Picton is the usual starting point for holidays to Marlborough Sounds. Highlights include walking, fishing, diving and Queen Charlotte Sound (NZ) Track. A popular dive trip is to the 177-meter long wreck of former cruise liner ms Mikhail Lermontov (one of the largest, most accessible and recent/1986, shipwrecks in the world), now at Port Gore, 37 m under water.
Other good dive sites in the Picton area include Fish Reserve, Long Island Marine Reserve and Koi wreck. Introductory dives and PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) certification courses are available from Picton. Technical diving and Technical Diving International (TDI) courses can be completed in the town, diving in Marlborough Sounds.
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