A lot of travelling today, but not a lot else to be honest. The shuttle to the ferry left at 7:00, so we were up at 6am to check that we’d packed everything and wander down to the pickup point. As ever, Lou was wrapped up to the nines. I was wearing a t-shirt. The neon sign over the road advertised a balmy 2 degrees. Bloody southerners.
The bus driver was actually cheerful (a common trait amongst staff of any type in New Zealand) and we were at the ferry terminal within 20 minutes. The weather looked quite good for a crossing – cold and frosty but very little wind. There was even a lovely rainbow over the hills of Wellington as we boarded.
Unusually for a ferry crossing, we had to check our baggage in. Frankly, this is a great idea as it saves passengers lugging huge suitcases around on board and clogging up the aisles with the things.
The on-board cinema wasn’t actually on-board yet which was a shame as the crossing’s three hours. Lou spent about an hour on the phone to a friend of her’s who’s just got engaged, leaving me with just my laptop for company. As a result, I spent most of the trip typing up blog posts in the recliner lounge with a quick trip to the upper deck for some photos.
We arrived in Picton around lunchtime and collected our second rental car. This time a Mazda and another flipping automatic. At least this one had some poke and could actually overtake on an incline. A good job as well as virtually all the passing lanes on SH1 are on hills.
Lunch was a mince pie (the meat variety) and far too much chocolate in Kaikora. This is a teeny coastal town about 3/4 of the way to Christchurch. It’s the wrong time of year for it, but you can swim with dolphins and seals here, or go whale-watching. We settled for wandering round a supermarket and trying not to get gravy on the upholstery.
We finally got to Christchurch at about 6pm and encountered the weirdest thing: traffic. I reckon we passed a dozen cars on the 250km journey from Picton and then all hell broke loose as we approached the first major city on the south island. Actually, make that the only major city on the south island.
Pam & Rob’s house was very easy to find, up in the hills overlooking the bay in Sumner. I’ve not seen them since a few months before they left the UK last year and it was lovely to get the chance to pop by. Their house is fab and a slight step up from pretty much everywhere I’ve stayed since I left the UK myself!
Any house with cats is a good one and this one has three. We settled in, chilled out and were tken out to a pub in the town centre for food. Rob met up with a few of his workmates who ridiculed his advancing age and we forced ourselves to drink beer and wine while eating some rather nice food.
Back at the house, we crashed fairly early after making plans for the next few days. Unfortunately, Pam was coming down with an evil cold having just shifted another one, so had to put “bed and hot water bottle” on her activity list.