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Bay of Many Coves Re­sort

In­stead of re­turn­ing to Pic­ton Har­bour for the evening, we took a de­tour to the Bay of Many Coves bou­tique five-star re­sort, which is only a short dis­tance by boat from Ship Cove. As the name sug­gests, it is lo­cated in the tran­quil Bay of Many Coves ac­cessed by a pri­vate jetty and sur­rounded by lush tree-lined hills.

There are no roads, and no other res­i­dences here, just com­plete peace and quiet making it a nice al­ter­na­tive to the hec­tic city life I am ac­cus­tomed to. The re­sort is small, with only 11 one, two and three bed­room apart­ments that are each equipped with a kitch­enette (though there are no shops, so im­promptu cook­ing is not an op­tion), as well as pri­vate bal­conies over­look­ing the bay. The tech­nol­ogy in­cluded com­pli­men­tary WiFi, and flat screen TVs with a few chan­nels to flick through be­fore bed.

One of the high­lights of my stay was a mid­night hike through the bush to see glow­worms light up un­der the stars; the other was din­ing on goat’s cheese mac­a­roons with a glass of Marl­bor­ough sauvi­gnon blanc in hand at the re­sort’s fine-din­ing Fore­deck restau­rant. trail stretches from Ship Cove through to Anakiwa in the Grove Arm, and sec­tions ns (or the whole route) can be tack­led on foot or by moun­tain bike. As Marl­bor­ough has a tem­per­ate cli­mate the trail en­joys good od year-round walk­ing con­di­tions.

Along the way you can ex­pect to see the na­tional icon, the sil­ver fern, as well ll as a host of flight­less birds such as the weka, which is com­monly mis­taken for the elu­sive kiwi. Our knowl­edge­able guide ex­plains that as the coun­try has no in­dige­nous land mam­mals (apart from bats), many of New Zealand’s birds evolved to lose their abil­ity to fly. The wind­ing route takes us through heavy bush, past manuka plants and ferns, and around in­ter­est­ing coves and in­lets with scenic views of the turquoise wa­ters of the sounds be­low.

Punga Cove

By late af­ter­noon we ar­rived at Punga Cove, our re­sort for the evening. Set amongst the hills with views of Camp Bay and En­deav­our In­let, this sleepy property is owned and man­aged by a wel­com­ing hus­band and wife team, Ralph and Bev­erly Faulkner. There are four room types, from com­fort­able suites and chalets to a fam­ilysty­ley lodge gp plus ba­sic rooms for bud­getg trav­el­ers. There is no WiFi and no mo­bile phone con­nec­tion, which came as a bit of a shock. If you get really des­per­ate, there is a life­line in the form of a communal com­puter in the re­cep­tion with In­ter­net con­nec­tion.

The property is clean and well main­tained, how­ever the dé­cor and fa­cil­i­ties are rather old-fash­ioned. This is es­pe­cially true of the re­sort’s restau­rant Punga Fern that looks like it hasn’t seen the hand of a hip in­te­rior de­signer for decades. This didn’t de­tract from the de­li­cious food and wine on of­fer though. On the menu was Marl­bor­ough Ora King salmon (NZ$38/$26), pan seared lamb rump (NZ$34/$23) and green-lipped mus­sels (NZ$16/ $11), a fa­mous New Zealand speciesp farmed in the nearby y wa­ters, steamed and served with a ric rich tomato and herb sauce.

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