From North Island to South Island, New Zealand

Sunday 11th February 2018

We were all a little weary (and achey) when we woke in the morning, and set about getting packed and set for the long journey to Wellington. Gary (last night’s taxi driver) didn’t choose to join us!!! Drove through some most amazing mountain ranges – the scenery of this country never ceases to amaze you. As always, Steve and Greg shared the ‘road trip’ driving while Kaye and I soaked in the scenery (and today nodded off from time to time).

We checked into our Aparthotel, centrally based in this high rise city. It was still raining! Very comfortable apartment with excellent views, (+ washing machine and a tumble dryer – always a bonus for travellers)! We hadn’t arrived until 4.30pm so we had a quick turn around to get to the Museum which was closing at 6.00pm. We were having an early start in the morning for the ferry so we wanted to experience something in the city and with the weather this seemed a good choice. And it certainly was … we only had time to visit the travelling exhibition which was ‘Gallipoli – The scale of our war,’ – it was excellent. A really personally based tribute and explanation of the Australian and New Zealand troops’ experiences at Gallipoli in the Great War. Personal stories, giant size exhibits of real characters, excellent effects used to depict attacks from both sides and amazing models of the front line encampments. We all enjoyed it. Wandered back ‘home’ in the rain … wishing we had ‘wellington’ boots!!

There were so many options for eating out that night and different parts of the city to see … but instead we opted for the Irish bar across the road … and were rewarded with the most delicious steak and ale pie and the boys got their Guinness.

Monday 12th February 2018

It’s hard to believe but we were up at 6.00am (those early rise days seem to be something from the dim and distant past now)!! Our ferry to the South Island was leaving at 8.00am and we had to be there an hour before. It was lots of queueing but eventually we boarded and made straight for the cafe. Steve managed to head up the breakfast queue – hungry boy! They were a little disorganised and short staffed to say the least – by the time I got to the hot drinks/cashier person (1) my bacon and tomatoes were cold and (2) they had run out of coffee!!

It was a 3 hour trip but it passed quite quickly, especially once we entered the Marlborough Sounds, where there is the most magnificent scenery all around – the wonder of it brings tears to your eyes. So the last hour of the trip was spent outside at the front of the ferry sightseeing, taking photos etc., just soaking it all up. No sign of Leonardo and Kate though!!

And we arrived in Sunny Picton – finally the weather was glorious, as was Picton – a very pretty little town. There was also a Cruise Liner docked up – always a spectacular sight. Picton has a beach, beautiful hill walks, a market, lots of shops, bars, cafes and restaurants – this day it was overflowing with ‘cruisers.’ Mooched around the market for a while then spent some lounging time at the beach as it was so good to feel the sun on your back again – picnic time. Fitted in a little walk around the town before we left – beautiful marina with some pretty stunning boats … Steve and I considered selling the house and buying a boat – watch out kids!! A few of the bars had live music going – on a Monday afternoon! – it was hopping!

We had to drag ourselves away from Picton as we were actually staying just up the road that night, in Blenheim. Another great accommodation – it was a Pod build – bit like a prefab but so beautifully designed inside. Caught up on some washing (the chores never go away)!, had a great barbecue and rounded off the night with a good old Irish and Australian folk sing-a-long!!

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