To South Island and Picton
We had a fairly late start to catch the ferry from Wellington to Picton going from the North to the South Island of New Zealand.
We had an amusing breakfast in the hotel, we seemed to arrive down just after there had been a big rush. We struggled to find a table and then it was a catalogue of laughs after that. I managed to secure a mug (very difficult to get one the day before) but the water had run out. When I finally managed to secure a bowl and fill it with fruit there were no spoons! Pete put some toast on but there were no plates. It took us twice as long to have breakfast as you kept having to sit down to wait for things to be replaced.
On board the ferry most people headed for the bar and secured tables to sit around. We got comfier seats at a lower level. We set off for the 3½ hour journey to Picton through the Cook Straits and as we were just going out of the main Wellington harbour I looked across at the sea and saw what I thought were flying fish but on closer inspection they were dolphins, quite a distance away (that’s why they appeared small) but there must have been at least a hundred. The ferry very soon outpaced them and they disappeared.
The ferry can be notoriously rough but we had a really smooth journey and after having lunch on board we docked at Picton and was greeted by our new coach driver for the South Island, Leonard. He drove us all of half a mile round Picton, showing us our hotel and then returned back to the ferry terminal where we got off to go to the Edwin Fox Museum where you could see the Edwin Fox boat preserved for viewing and also learn about its history through various modes of transport, storage and uses but most famously for being the only penal transport left from transporting convicts from the UK to Australia. Right next door was the Aquarium round which we had a guided tour and saw some baby seahorses amongst many other fish and some native New Zealand birds and insects.
We then booked into our hotel at The Yacht Club. Before going in we had been told that the hotel was in the middle of a refurbishment but that all the rooms were still good, but that there were also no lifts. We had a beautiful room that had obviously been refurbished. It was very spacious but only a relatively small window which overlooked the swimming pool and out towards the ferry terminal and Queen Charlotte Sound. We went for a short walk round the town and went into a fantastic wood shop in which we ended spending about an hour which didn’t leave us with much time before we had to be back at the hotel and showered ready for our dinner that this evening was included as part of the tour. Some of our fellow travellers had been for a swim in the pool and most of them seemed to have un-furbished rooms and most of all were complaining about the heat in the rooms as they were all facing the sun with a French window directly onto the side of the swimming pool. Once again I think we stuck lucky with the allocation. The evening meal was excellent, as was the company.