Museums and Musseltown

Before leaving the Blenheim area we wanted to see two museums. The first was the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre which had been highly recommended to us and the second was the Marlborough Museum where we hoped there might be more information on the Seymours and their relations.

We went to the air museum first. This concentrates on WW1 (although a WW2 section is due to open shortly). It has a great collection of memorabilia from all the warring nations’ aviation history. This includes a number of superb replica or original aircraft. Some of these are set in tableaux with extraordinarily lifelike mannequins. Much of this is courtesy of Sir Peter Jackson of Lord of the Rings and other great films fame. The only thing we found slightly disconcerting was the amount of space given to Manfred von Richthofen (the Red Baron) in contrast to a number of other significant “aces”. Suppose his life makes a great story. We stayed for a couple of hours and skimmed the surface; in depth study would take days.

The Marlborough Museum was much less well financed. It is part of a complex to which the local council has moved a number of old buildings and artefacts. I think it probably houses an amount of documentation and the displays were interesting, but they could not compare with the slick show at Omaka which is a pity.

Leaving the museum we went int town to buy lunch, plus some “invisible” socks for me to wear with shorts. Never had any before. A bit strange. Then back on SH1 on the road to Picton.

We wanted to get our bearings in Picton in preparation for our departure from there a week hence. After a bit of a satnav moment we worked out that the place wasn’t very big and finding the ferry was easy so we went on towards Havelock which was our evening destination. There are two routes, direct and via the Queen Charlotte Drive which winds tortuously above the water above the Grove Arm of Queen Charlotte Sound. The weather was glorious and we plumped for Queen Charlotte. It was a good job that we did; the weather when we made the return journey was much less pleasant.

Havelock town hall
Havelock town hall

When we arrived in Havelock we checked into the motel (very adequate) before walking down to the pier to recce things for the morning’s trip. Then to the supermarket to buy supper and a cold beer in pleasant pub.

We had two reasons to visit Havelock – it is billed as the green-lipped capital of the world and it is the port from which a post boat makes three trips per week out into Pelorus Sound. We wanted to experience both so on the way back from the pub we booked a green-lipped mussel meal for the following evening and we arranged for Jim Kennard (home alone, with Sheila in Australia) to join us.

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