Wellington - Picton - Nelson

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November 18th 2016
Published: November 22nd 2016
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Today we needed to travel via Cook Strait to the South Island to get to Robin and Sandra's place in Nelson (Richmond). The strait was named after Captain James Cook, the first European to sail it's waters. After climbing a hill on Arapaoa Island in 1770 Captain Cook saw there was a sea passage from the Pacific Ocean to the Tasman Sea. Previous European explorer's had not determined that New Zealand was made up of two main islands rather than just one.

Sandra emailed us on Monday to let us know that the ferry services had been cancelled following Sunday's earthquake. On Wednesday Bernie received a message from Interislander Ferries to say that the service on Friday would leave at 8.30am instead of 9.00am. We hadn't received any further updates so we assumed we would be sailing today and booked a taxi to take us to the ferry terminal for an 8.00am check-in.

It has been so windy we (OK, mainly me) were a bit worried about how rough Cook Strait was going to be. Our guide last night at Zealandia didn't help - we had mentioned we would be heading to the South Island on the ferry so, as we were leaving, she wished us luck and said that if the wind kept up from the south it would be a really rough crossing ... if the ferry ran at all.

We checked our luggage in just after 8.00am and we were told that the ferry wouldn't be leaving early after all, it would leave when it was loaded. A number of services have been cancelled this week and this afternoon's service won't be running so this morning's service is going to be heavily loaded. Hence, the ferry will sail when it's ready to sail!

Bernie booked the Premier Lounge for us so when we finally made it aboard we made our way to the posh seats where we managed to secure ourselves a spot by the window. The extra $$ that we paid included a buffet breakfast. Hmmn, with announcements being made about high winds, heavy seas and a rough crossing the big question was whether or not to partake of the buffet breakfast??! Hoping not to regret it later on we both had some breakfast. I did, however, avoid the greasy eggs and bacon and opted for some fruit, followed by tea and toast.

Finally we were underway at 10.30am with an estimated time of arrival into Picton at 1.30pm. I sent a message to Robin to let him know when the ferry was due to arrive. We've not been on the ferry between the North and South Islands before so had nothing to compare it with, but it was nowhere near as rough as we thought it was going to be. Sure we pitched and rolled a bit after we cleared the shelter of Wellington Harbour and made our way out into Cook Strait, but we only had about 15-20 minutes of that and then the staff laid out the buffet lunch. With the ferry sailing smoothly through the Marlborough Sounds we didn't have any reservations about helping ourselves to some lunch. Before we knew it we were sailing down Queen Charlotte Sound and docking in Picton 10 minutes ahead of ETA.

It seemed there was still some problem with the passenger gantry at Deck 7 because all of the foot passengers had to file down the stairs and exit via one of the vehicular decks. After collecting our bags we made our way out of the terminal where Robin and Sandra were waiting for us. It was hard to believe that the last time we saw them in person was in April 2015. Thanks to Skype we have 'seen' them occasionally on-line to share our news.

The weather was lovely in Picton. It was warm and sunny and, best of all, there was virtually no wind which was a relief after two days of dreadful wind in Wellington. Robin drove us back to their place at Richmond via the exceedingly picturesque Queen Charlotte Sound. The road along the sound had a couple of short sections suffering from earthquake damage. Fortunately, the slips had only taken out one lane in both instances so traffic was still able to use the unaffected side of the road. We stopped for a leg stretch at Momorangi Bay. There was a very tame family of Paradise Shelducks in the park. Mum and the ducklings were right under our feet, dad (with the black head) was a little bit more wary of us. We had another quick stop at Pelorus Bridge before arriving 'home'.

We were taken on the tour of Robin and Sandra's house and given our choice of rooms. We could sleep upstairs in the room with the King-sized bed and bathroom on the other side of the landing or we could take the downstairs room with the Queen-sized bed and ensuite. Both rooms are lovely, but the room with the view had to be the winner.

After dinner it was time for some cards - just like times of old. Oh, how we've all missed our regular card games! I won 'Jo' narrowly from Robin and the away team (us) prevailed at Bolivia.

Steps 5,323 (3.94 km)

Additional photos below
Photos: 9, Displayed: 9


22nd November 2016

Enjoy your reunion
sounds like you are having a great time so far. Wonderful to have a reunion with Sandra and Robin knowing how much you have missed them. Lots of news to catch up on. Local knowledge is always helpful to enhance your travels. Say hello. I hope they are enjoying being back home again and that the move has worked out well. Your Wellington travelogue was very informative as I haven't been there before but would love a visit in the not too distant future. Keep enjoying your holiday. I look forward to hearing more! Love Janet
27th November 2016

We packed a lot into a day and a half!
I think Wellington probably needs a little bit longer to explore properly, but we managed to fit quite a few things in to our short stopover. Have since learned of the World of Wearable Art show that takes place in Wellington each year in September/October. I have to talk with Kerry about coming over for that one year. ?T
22nd November 2016

Beautiful NZ
Thanks for sharing your adventure to NZ. Isn't it wonderful to have friends to visit in countries around the world? I hope to visit NZ perhaps in 2018. I've already planned my trips for 2017, so NZ will have to wait - sadly. Have a great time and be safe.
27th November 2016

I hope we continue to travel as much as you!
I'm impressed that you are already planning your holidays for 2018!! Having committed to buying a more expensive home in the northern suburbs our travel plans for the next couple of years have been reigned in a little. We have also been a bit stressed on this holiday about having put our dear old girl into kennels. I think any future plans might be on hold until she is no longer with us. ?T
26th November 2016

Wharariki Beach
I think I know why you chose to visit here ~ it's the main picture when I turn on my computer!! There it is - the identical scene but with a lithe young lady running across the sand. I had to leave a comment on this page because your next blog did not allow any commentary !!?? Love yr blogs and intend on following you there in about 18 months. So I'm intently taking note of the places u r visiting. Ciao
27th November 2016

What a coincidence ...
... that you have Wharariki beach as your screen saver! It would be nice to visit when the wind is not blowing quite so ferociously. I have just 'quite published' the last entry for our South American holiday. This means that you won't have been emailed a link, but you can always scroll back to all of our earlier entries if you are interested. The last couple of entries are pretty boring though as they only record our trip home. ?T

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