South Island: Day 1
Thursday night we took the night bus from Hamilton to Wellington. We arrived around 6am in Wellington, so we were set up for an extremely long day with little sleep to run on. As soon as we stepped off the bus, it was obvious why Wellington is considered the “Windy City.” It felt as though I was standing in the center of a wind tunnel and at any second could be blown over. After the walk down to the hostile to drop off our extra bags, it was time to hit the capital city! We walked around for a bit looking for places to grab a quick breakfast and finding ways to pass time before anything opened for the day. After a few hours walking around the harbor, we went to the Te Papa museum, a national museum full of everything New Zealand. From a few Lord of the Rings mementos to animals and plants found in New Zealand, there was something for everyone to enjoy. Once we felt we finished everything we wanted to in the museum we were off again in search of the government buildings and then old St. Paul’s Cathedral, all of which were beautiful. The architecture of all these important buildings are incredibly unique and added a certain special flavor to the city of Wellington. After we completed our tour of the city, we headed back to the hostile to get all of our things settled into rooms and then we were back out in the town again for the evening. We ate at a great Irish pub, Molly Mallone’s, and then walked around some of the other streets. The one area was especially amazing as the alleys came alive at night, filled with international foods and music everywhere you turned. We had a great time walking around and experiencing this unique part of the Wellington nightlife. We found a little kiosk that sold Hungarian Chimney Cakes, which were incredible! It was dough twirled on the outside of a wooden cylinder, baked in an oven, rolled in cinnamon sugar, and then coated with chocolate on the inside. After we all were full from the delicious treat we found, we then headed back to the hostile for the night so we would be ready to head out early the next morning.
We were up by 6am the next day in order to get packed, checked out of our hostile and be on the shuttle to the ferry by 7. Luckily everything went pretty smoothly and we were to the other side of the city in perfect time to get onto the ferry and settled. We departed from the Wellington harbor around 8:30 and had a great ride to the south island. We walked around the ferry and discovered the different things you could do on each level, sat out on the open deck, and even visited with the sheep travelers as well. At one point while out on the top deck, we even got to see some dolphins swimming close to the ferry along with the amazing view of the land around us. Three hours later we arrived in our first destination on the south island, the little town of Picton. Shortly after we were off again on another bus to Christchurch. We made one pit stop on the way in Kaikoura where we got to see a seal colony that was on the beach right next to the road and got to take some pictures of the snow covered mountains around us. It was a beautiful area and a very unique experience to see seals in the wild. After a few more hours of travelling, we reached Christchurch. Even though it was recently devastated by an earthquake, it was still an amazing town with great architecture. One of the most unique things I saw while I was there was the Smash Bar. The building the bar had been located in before was destroyed in the earthquake, so instead of closing down the owners took two busses, clear out the inside and one served as the bar while the other was an indoor seating area. We opted to sit outside on a picnic table that had been surrounded with barrels to make fires. After a long day of travelling, it only took us a short time relaxing at the bar to make the decision to head back to the motels and settle down for the night because the next day we were picking up our campers and about to begin the true adventure on the South Island.
Stay tuned to hear more about the 17 day journey around the South Island! Unfortunately my computer is having some problems so I can’t add pictures to these posts, but hopefully I can access and post them soon!
South Island: Day 1