On to the North Island - Wellington to Wanganui

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April 19th 2012
Published: April 22nd 2012
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19th April ’12 On to the North Island!

I’m pleased to say Howard slept on the mountainside last night so I actually got some kip. We left the hostel and drove down to the port only to discover we then had to go to a different area in the town to board the ferry. The ferry was running half an hour late so there was no problem and we still ended up nearly first in the queue.

The journey out of Picton was quite picturesque passing all the inlets and cliffs but we were soon out into the Cook Strait. Then the weather changed and so did the sea! The ferry was pitching backwards and forwards and the rain was lashing down, despite 2 sea sick tablets I felt terrible. I wasn’t surprised to see stocks of sick bags everywhere and if I had been able to get off my seat I would have got one believe me!

Thankfully once we reached Wellington Bay Harbour it all stopped and the sea was calm again so by the time we docked I was able to move again.

We were going to stay with my godmother Pam who I hadn’t seen for about 40 odd years and found our way to her house quite easily. She greeted us like old friends and welcomed us in. That afternoon she took us out to the Miramar area of Wellington where we had a walk up on the cliffs and got fantastic views across the bay. We then went down to Weta Cave – the museum for the Weta Productions who work with Peter Jackson on his films. It was brilliant! They had all sorts of props, models and reproductions of things used in his films. There were giant Orcs and even Golem from Lord of the Rings. We also watched a film on how they create the models, special effects, makeup, weaponry, armour and props etc with clips from all the various films to highlight them. I had no idea he had made so many films, or that we had seen so many of them! It was really interesting, I would have loved to have bought one of the reproductions of ‘the ring’ but at $150 Howard was having none of it!

Peter Jackson’s studios were also in this area and we saw them from the outside and went past the area where he lives. He is really highly regarded in Wellington and has clearly bought a lot of work and tourism into the area.

That night we had our first homemade meal in 8 1/2 months which was a real treat! We also met Pam’s grandson Luke (age 13) who had arrived back from his Sea Scout’s camp, he walked in laden down with a rucksack and no socks or shoes as they were soaking wet – nice to know kids are the same the world over.

20th April ’12 Wellington to Wanganui

This morning Pam’s daughter Mary came over to take us out and show us around the Wellington area. We all piled into the car and she drove us around all the little bays and beaches of the area that makes up Wellington. It was beautiful and what a fantastic place to live. Lots of houses are built perched up high on the cliffs or hills and the real posh homes even have their own private cable cars to take people (and the shopping) up to the houses, others just have to walk up!

After another lovely meal, lots of advice and suggestions for places to visit we said our goodbyes. It took us about 3 hours to drive up to Wanganui and it was a real contrast to the South Island, we didn’t see a single mountain! In fact all the land was very flat, green, farming land with the occasional green rolling hills.

Eventually we found our motel on the edge of a deserted feeling housing estate but back onto the scenic Wetlands, as it was getting late we didn’t actually see them. The very jolly motel owner told us 4 units (rooms) of varying prices and sent us off with 4 keys and the price map to decide which one we wanted.

They were all pretty similar and looked like they were last decorated back in the 50s, the only difference was the number of beds in them, apart that is from the Honeymoon unit!!! Which only had 1 double bed in it and an old lady style settee instead of another single bed but it was decorated with a couple of cushions with red hearts on and I Love You embroidered on them, oh yes I think there was also more vases of plastic flowers than in the other rooms. The Millionaire’s Unit was sadly already taken so we missed out on the 7 ½ foot bed! In the end we picked the cheapest unit that only had one extra bed in it and one vase of plastic flowers but did have the addition of five gossip mags that were only a year out of date – result!

We then drove back through the deserted housing estate and along through an industrial estate to reach the town centre. The whole place was just ODD, maybe it was because we were there seeing it in the dark (but it was only 6.30pm) or that there was hardly a living soul around, or that the birds were all squawking their heads off but it just felt weird! I may have been influenced by the bit in the Lonely Planet that said Wanganui suffers from gang violence, but as we only saw about a total of 6 people I don’t think that would qualify as one gang never mind enough to set up a fight. There was however in its’ favour a very tasty and cheapish Indian take away so all was not lost (and the staff counted as 2!).

The next morning after a surprisingly comfy sleep we discovered we had been invaded by ants! They were in our food bags and had filled the sugar bowl – even though it had a lid on. When Howard told the motel guy he just said oh they shouldn’t have done that if the sugar was on the table! A little warning might have been nice.

It was with some relief that we left Weird, Weird Wanganui.

Additional photos below
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Miramar Weta Cave Orc!

Eastbourne Bay

With Pam and Luke at Eastbourne Bay

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