27 November 2008
From Porirua via
Wellington with the ferry
to Picton (South Island)
This morning got up at a normal time, had a good shower in the hotal part of the Aotea Lodge and after my breakfast in the campervan I went to the restaurant for a nice cup of cappuccino. Then I got in the campervan and drove from Porirua to the city of Wellington. The busy traffic at the beginning of the day was over so I could drive relaxed to Wellington, the capital of New Zealand.
Via Wellington Harbour and the waterfront I rounded the Bay and took some photo's of the harbour. After this I found the road with the sign Mount Victoria Lookout and took that road uphill ... wow .. .that was steep climbing. Many houses have special platforms next to the road for their cars, because the drives were too steep. When I got to the viewpoint I could enjoy the views over Wellington. One moment Wellington lies in the sun, the next moment is it grey. The clouds do change the view constantly, but the views remain wonderful. To the west you can see Wellington Centre and Wellington Harbour and at the other side the exit of the harbour to the Pacific Ocean and a good view of the main runway of Wellington airport. Every few minutes planes land or leave this Airport.
After about half an hour and after one of the Koreans that got out of a touristbus took some photo's of me I left Mount Victoria heading for the Te Papa Museum on the waterfront. The description of this museum is that it is a bold, innovative and interactive national museum with a lot of significant treasures where you can learn about the land and the people. It was a great museum but there was less of my own interest, the entrance was for free and that is a great guesture of the NZ-governement. I got my second cappuccino of the day before I left.
Got in my car and drove to a parking place on the waterfront near the City Centre where I parked my car for 5,00 NZD. With a bit of knowledge of 5 years ago I found my way to Lambton Quay where the famous Cable Car leaves for the Botanic Gardens and the viewpoint at that hill with views over Wellington Harbour. Slowly the Cable Car climbs the hill and delivers me at the Botanic Gardens. I walked to the well known viewpoints and looked over Wellington Harbour, took - as usual - photo's and found some Japanese tourists to take some photo's of me, in return for taking some of them. It became more cloudy but happily there was no rain.
Descending again downtown and went shopping. Been in many shops but almost always ... to small for me (how on earth is that possible, many Maori's are as big as me). But succeeded in finding an official NZ-polo of the All Blacks with a real certificate for the price of 200 NZD and that is expensive for people who live in New Zealand. After this succes I walked to the Mac Donalds - I've seen that restaurant already many times during my shopping trip - got a fast food meal and returned to the campervan.
From the City Centre I drove to the Ferry Terminal of the Interislander where you are required to book in one hour before the ferry leaves.
The ferry left 20 minutes later than planned with a blue sky and sun. Just before we left the big cruiseship, the Millennium, that was about 200 metres further in the harbour left Wellington too. The first hour of our trip that cruiseship was to be seen in a distance. I was at the upper decks the whole trip - except a 10 minutes coffee break - and enjoyed the nature and the ocean.
In Cook Strait the weather changed, it became cloudy and cold. The wonderfull trip through the fiords of the Marlborough Sounds was a cold adventure but still worth seeing. Due to the 20 minutes delay it was dark before we docked in Picton, the harbour of the South Island. Leaving the ferry I drove to the Blue Anchor Holiday Park where I stayed 5 years ago, so it was easy to find. This park is described as one of the best of New Zealands Holiday Parks.
Booked a place in the office and found myself back at about two places closer to the toilet facilities as 5 years ago. Prepared everything for the night and went to bed immediately. Tomorrow I plan to see the whales in Kaikoura and after that adventure on to the Southern Alps.