An Exciting Encounter – Meretoto / Ship Cove

“A Mish a Day” #176 Meretoto/Ship Cove. Queen Charlotte Sound. 30.8.2020. After three years working in the incorrectly-named Doubtful Sound, it was time to visit Queen Charlotte Sound – one of NZ’s actual Sounds and visit one of the country’s oldest sites. I took my extended whanau along, but it was the other ‘travellers’ who joined us who provided the most excitement.

As far as hospital waiting rooms go, Kaikoura Health Te Ha o Te Ora has to have one of the best views on this planet. During the five hour wait to see the doctor, my sister and I had a lot of time to study the epic view of Mt Fyffe(1602m), and the rest of the snow capped peaks of the Seaward Kaikoura Range. The five hour wait was mainly due to a very unlucky fella in a lot more trouble than me, and the doctor needed to stabilize the patient before being choppered to Christchurch. A five hour wait lead to a five minute examination, and the final prognoses was “probably not broken, but if pain continues see a doctor”, more on that later…

Following my walk in Kaikoura my afternoon plan was to camp at an easy access spot somewhere in the Seaward Kaikoura Range, now not possible, but not so bad as plan B was hanging out with the Whanau. An early-ish start the next day had us packing up, and heading north for Waikawa. Hats off to the incredible road workers for the amount of work that has gone into not only rebuilding the road north of Kaikoura, but also building the road to be almost as visually pleasing as the stunning coastline. As the road weaves its way around the rugged coastline, the signs of the 2015 earthquake are still fresh in the forms of the hundreds of slips throughout the mountains visible from the road.

A Fortunate Encounter

We arrived at Waikawa, and after a night in the near empty camping ground, the Whanau headed to Picton to go on a cruise to the very historic site of Meretoto/Ship Cove. This was my first visit to the spectacular waters of Queen Charlotte Sound, and having worked in both Piopiotahi/Milford Sound and Patea/Doubtful Sound, it was great to finally visit a place in New Zealand with the correct title of ‘Sound’.

We jumped on the ‘Mail Run Boat’, which not only had a few sight seeing passengers like ourselves, it also had a couple of hikers getting transported to the northern start of the Queen Charlotte Track. It was definitely our lucky day, as with the sun shining and unusually warm August weather, we had an exciting encounter with a large pod of Dusky Dolphins, after only ten minutes of cruising the sound. Our journey took us near the open ocean at the entrance of the sound, where we swung to the west into Meretoto/Ship Cove.

Aotearoa is a young country, and the memorial at Ship Cove is one of the oldest historical sites we have, and the place oozes history. After leaving the cove we made our way to Endeavour Inlet, where we learned about New Zealand’s first bodiless murder case, hmmm very interesting. On the return journey to Picton Harbour we crossed paths with our Dolphin friends again, and it was awesome to see people going nuts again for the oceans greatest show-offs!

Dusky Dolphin

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

Subscribe To my newsletter