We made the crossing early yesterday morning, leaving a slightly cloudy Wellington by the Interislander ferry. The ferry is absolutely massive – not sure if I am comparing it to the boats in Thailand or the ferry across the English channel but it seemed like the biggest I’ve ever been on. It was pretty windy and cold on the top deck but we braved it (well Rob managed to sit and find shelter enough to read while I took about 100 photos) for the first and last hour of the journey to get some amazing photos of Wellington and it’s bays, and then when we reached the South Island, of the beautiful Marlborough Sounds.
We arrived in Picton, to a friendly welcome and pickup from The Villa, an adorable little backpackers hostel, where we had a massive room with a bay window overlooking the gardens – a lot of the budget places we’ve stayed in so far have felt a lot more like boutique b&bs.
Picton itself is tiny, and the guy driving barely had time to finish his joke apologising for the long drive when we pulled up at the hostel. It took us about an hour to explore the town centre fully, checking out the bookshop, ice cream shop and the beach. All of the street names seem to be after British counties or cities, and I was pretty amused to see that there was a Gravesend Place, just off of Kent Street – which of course was home to the cemetery.
We wandered a little way along the bay to look at the boats and take photos, before the lure of the ice cream shop won and we treated ourselves.
Everyone at the hostel was really nice, and we got chatting to a girl (from Tunbridge Wells of all places) who was travelling for the same time as us. We had a good old moan about the prospect of going back to work in cold blighty in just a couple of months, and tried some local wine.
Today we’ve headed west to Nelson, which has not won us over really. I was expecting it to be a lot more artsy and all I’ve really seen to that effect are a couple of new age bookshops and jewellery shops. Our hostel is not as friendly as the last place, although it is really nice inside; the area is not as good, so I think we might swap when we get back from our mini-trek.
Speaking of which we will be offline for the whole weekend now. We are heading out to the Abel Tasman National Park, where we will do two full days of walking along the coast line and even spend a night on a boat (hopefully won’t be rough seas!). I’m sure we will have lots of photos to share when we get back to Nelson on Monday.
Well that’s all for now. Hope it’s not getting too cold and dark back in the UK.
Nic & Rob