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Published: June 23rd 2017
Geo: -41.2708, 173.284
11th May Blenheim & Nelson
On the road again though we would have loved to stay longer in Kaikoura. Our destination was Nelson on the north coast of South Island about 150 miles (240 km) away. For the first part of the route the road hugs the coast so was very pretty, if a little distracting for the driver. We stopped to see a seal colony on the rocks – very cute seal pups playing together.
Later the road enters Marlborough wine country with acres and acres of vineyards. Fascinating for a teetotaller like me.... but Alan seemed to know the names. Pit stop in Blenhiem – yep, Blenheim/Marlborough/Nelson there was a definite military theme going here. Also a Todd's Valley. No sign of a Mount Ip, though. Half the names are very familiar- Cambridge, Canterbury, Birkenhead, the others are mellifluous Maori ones Akaroa, Katikati, Papakura.
But I digress. When we finally reached Nelson we found a small city (it has a cathedral) of 45,000 people. The naval theme continues with Trafalgar St, Hardy St – even a Nelson Hospital like the one back home in Merton Park. Popped in to the newly refurbished local Museum where the only other visitor was
the Governor-General and his entourage but we kept a discreet distance.
12th May Over the sea to Wellington
The relentless pace of Ip Tours continued. This time to make the crossing of the Cook Strait to North Island. This meant driving along the very picturesque but very bendy Queen Charlotte Drive which twists its way alongside the dazzling Queen Charlotte Sound road to Picton, Alan was in charge of driving, I was in charge of sucking through my teeth and squeaking when it got scary ! We had some amazing views and managed to reach Picton in one piece – very pleased we weren't driving a campervan so hats off to those of our readers who did it.
The ferry takes just over three hours to cross from Picton to Wellington, the first part through the rest of the Queen Charlotte Sound, always calm water, but the Cook Strait can be pretty rough. We were lucky and it was as smooth as the proverbial mill pond. Alan had paid extra for Kaitaki Plus which entitled us to use a private lounge, have lunch, read the papers, use the internet and wear a rather attractive green plastic wristband.
Our ship, the Kaitaki, turned out,
on closer inspection, to have originally been called the Pride of Cherbourg and to have operated out of Portsmouth – nice coincidence. Who knows, we may have crossed the English Channel on her years ago.
Tot: 1.987s; Tpl: 0.019s; cc: 7; qc: 45; dbt: 0.0117s; 1; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.3mb