Day 14: I’m on a boat!

Als we took one of the earlier ferries across the Cook Strait, the alarms on our phones went off a little too early in the day for comfort. Barely past 6 in the morning, we made breakfast on our room and started to pack our stuff into the car.
By 06:30 we checked out and made our way to the Interislander Ferry to Picton.

As we couldn’t take our rental car with us on the boat, because the rental company does not like to transport cars between the islands, we had to leave it on the North Island, and grab a new one on the South Island.
Weirdly though, as it was still early in the day, the offices for the rental companies were still closed. Therefore, all we had to do to ‘return’ the car was to leave it in the parking lot (double parked of course, as it was way too busy) and drop the keys of the car in a designated letterbox in the departure terminal of the ferry. That was the weirdest thing ever!
We’ve learned not to ever depart with the keys of the car, and now we are deliberately leaving them behind, seemingly unattended in a nondescript box with a hole in it.
We did it anyway, and luckily were able to collect our second car on the other side.

The trip on the boat itself was quite interesting as well. It was fully booked, and with a strong breeze the boat started swaying and rolling a few short moments after we departed from the dock. This kept on going for about an hour, after which quite few people were feeling the effects of the ocean on their bodies. Lots of green faces all around!
Luckily, the ride started getting a lot smoother after that, and we even had some time to enjoy the trip.
As the weather was not good at all, with dark grey low hanging clouds blocking all views that aspect was toned down, but the rest of the trip was lovely.

As I bought a large case of beer a few days ago, I wanted to carry it with me on the boat, but was informed that I was not allowed to do so. The case had to be checked in with the suitcases to go in the cargo hold of the vessel, and was labelled fragile. On the other side, I was greeted by the case on the conveyor belt. It was probably the weirdest thing they carried today!

We traded in our blue Mazda 3 for a white Toyota Corolla which is a wee bit smaller than the other one, so our suitcases only just fit in. Unfortunately they don’t fit in the trunk, so we have to pack smart!
From Picton, we had to drive about 2 more hours to Kaikoura. This place is about as touristic as they get, and their main selling point is whale watching. We are no strangers to that trade, and have booked a tour for tomorrow.

But first: checking in at The Point B&B, and try to get some food. We hear pizza from The Black Rabbit Pizza Company is really good!
Now let’s hope the rain clears away for a while, as it has been chucking down since we arrived here around 2pm. Also, a lot of rain is forecast for tonight. We’ll see what happens tomorrow morning!

Day 13: Capitol city NZ

Waking up to an overcast sky is never good when on holiday, but seeing today also is really cloudy and wet is somewhat reassuring. We know today we can’t walk the Crossing as we have to leave town to go to Wellington, but in this weather it wouldn’t be nice at all.
Even though the wind has gone down it is still quite cold and wet, and as it has been raining all night the track would be in a miserable state anyway.

The shuttle left for the starting point of the track today, so the conditions have been deemed good enough for people to do the walk. But not us.

The good thing is that the mountains are showing themselves through short glimpses of snow capped peaks through the grey cloudy mass. And that is very picturesque. ­čÖé

The drive to Wellington is quite long clocking in at around 4 hours. With our show pace it took us about 5 hours, which meant we arrived at the Trinity Hotel around 1 PM.
That gave us plenty of time to go walk around in the city.

With only 200K people living in the city itself it is quite small (1/7th) compared to Auckland. But it definitely feels like a big city anyway. It has a very busy centre, with everything you can think of very close. The hotel is right in the middle of it with everything at a few minutes walking distance.

We took the┬ácable car up the hill towards the Botanical Gardens to get a bus drive to Zealandia. But with today being Boxing Day, the shuttle didn’t show up which meant we couldn’t go to the park in time for us to meaningfully visit it. Too bad! Zealandia has a large array of native animals on display, and probably one of the only chances for us to see a Kiwi in NZ.

Instead we wandered around in the Botanical Gardens and enjoyed some refreshments on the streets.
We have to do some serious packing today, as tomorrow we will be on a boat without our trusty Mazda 3!
The rental company does not want its cars to cross over, so we have to return this one only to get a new one on the other side of the three hours ferry ride.
Tomorrow, we’ll be on another island!