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Day 17 – North Island to South Island

November 1, 2012

The alarm woke us at 6am and we readied ourselves for leaving the holiday park by 6.30am to make the short trip to the Interislander Ferry terminal on the outskirts of Wellington. It was interesting to note that the rush hour had started and there were many cars and bicycles already heading into the city. We duly checked in and then sat for about an hour waiting to be called forward to drive on to the ferry. There are regular ferries throughout the day to Picton on the south island. Our’s was to leave at 8.15am and timed to arrive at 11.30am (which it did exactly).¬†The day had started quite misty but by the time we sailed the sun had started to make an appearance and within a short time the mist had fully lifted and the sights of Wellington and surrounding areas were plain to see.

The ship we boarded was previously known as The Pride of Cherburg and we had previously sailed on it out of Portsmouth on at least 2 occassions! Now it is known as the Kaitake.

The Captain informed us of the route and also that the weather was going to be good and there was little wind and he expected that it would be a very smooth crossing.

We had been told and also read about how this crossing is one of the most spectacular in the world and because weather was so good we were not to be disappointed. It’s really difficult to describe what we experienced and how this rather large ferry was manouvered through what seemed like a narrow channel. The views were stunning, the waters crystal clear and the skills of the Captain in taking the ship through ‘s’ bends was staggering. The picture opposite is the wake of the ship coming out of one of the ‘s’ turns!

Our crossing was incredibly smooth bearing in mind how difficult sailing Capt Cook had found navigating these waters a couple of centuries ago.

So we berthed at 11.30am and within 20mins we were on our way to northern most tip of the South Island. The first part of journey took us up and down some steep and winding roads before dropping down to run along the waters edge before again climbing up and down some more quite challenging winding roads. This pattern continued for some 100 or so kilometres before we eventually settled into some quite flat terrain. We had initially planned to reach Golden Bay, just up form Able Tasman, but we eventually settled on cutting short this part of the journey and decided to stop overnight at a holiday park in Motueka. It is interesting how many people we have met from the UK who now live here in NZ. At this park the receptionist we met had lived all her life in Bracknell until moving to NZ.

After a walk into the town centre and a visit to one of the local pubs we spent the evening plotting our time in South Island and then booking online those trips that we wanted to go on. So unless anything changes (and that is always possible) we know exactly where we will be and what we will be doing for the next 14 days.

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