Monday, April 2, 2012

New Zealand, Part IV

Sick of New Zealand posts yet?  Well, today, we arrive on the South Island...halfway there!

Wellington was our favorite city in NZ - quirky, relaxed, beautiful, and (while we were there), not a bit of the "windy Welly" we'd been hearing about.  We stayed at the Travelodge in the city centre, which was a good choice.  A bit hairy driving in, but once we were there, I found it pretty easy to navigate.  We arrived too late to turn our rental car in, so we parked at the hotel.  It turned out that the friendly Apex people didn't even charge us for an extra day, and I was happy not to have to schlep our packs through the streets and up over the many stairs to our room.

We decided to get crepes from this place on Manners Mall and eat back in the room watching a movie on TV3 because we knew the next day would be our only in the capital (and I wanted to get up early to shop at Kircaldie & Stains).  We lucked out and had a beautiful day - shopping, beers on the waterfront, Te Papa, a cablecar ride, botanic gardens, more shopping, and a fantastic dinner in Cuba Street.

The ferry ride across Cook Strait was fairly smooth - to be honest, I slept most of the way.  We went with the Interislander mostly because we got a coupon on the internet.  It was a nice ferry, as ferries go - but the seats were...well...airplane seats.  At least they looked like airplane seats.  It was a little weird - I kept feeling as though they were expecting rough seas and the captain would remind us to fasten our seatbelts.  I suppose the only ferries I am used to are the old New Brunswick - PEI ferries from when I was little.  We'd park the car and the spend the ride on deck, staring over the sides (ok, spitting over the sides).

We arrived safe and sound in drizzly Picton and, having pre-booked our car in the states, breezed right through the terminal and were happily on our way to wine country.

Wellington Harbor with Te Papa to the right


Marae in Te Papa

Queen Charlotte Sound

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