Today was ferry crossing day and we both felt a little sad already we were leaving our beloved South Island – we’d just had such an amazing time and loved it all. Onto the North Island though to explore that and catch up with so many friends – that was going to be the fun part.
So I woke up to Javi doing his ritual mosquito clapping and after nice hot showers (in our Joe, he’s got quite a decent shower you know!) and breakfast we got on the road to Picton, the town the ferries go from.
When we’d found a spot to park Joe we had a wander and found it to be a quite pretty little harbour town. Nicer than I expected but I guess it would be kept nice with tourists going through all the time. Javi had a quick haircut with a nice hair stylist who told us we were boring for not getting drunk on St Paddy’s Day (sorry luv!) and charged us extortionately for a boy haircut (saw is coming aye) and then we went for a walk over a very steep little bridge and went starfish spotting along the waterline. There were some with about 17 arms (legs?) and it was turning into a gorgeous sunny day, blue sky and all that, so it was very pleasant. Also wondering about these boat owners here was interesting – the bloody size of some of em!
We grabbed lunch in the form of DELICIOUS pizza and then went to the vehicle check in. I must say I was very impressed with the user friendly, simple, quick getting on the bot process. Simply you go through a booth where you check in and then they direct you to certain lines depending on the size of your vehicle, then we waited about 10 minutes until we were then pointed in that direction and in single file we went onto the boat. Here someone else directed us up or down and we drove in and another person directed us exactly where to park, just behind the next one. And that was it. Engines off, take anything you’ll want for the next few hours and off you go upstairs to the bar. Well bar, cafe, quiet room, family playroom, toilets, outside decks or… wait for it… the cinema! Yep we went with Bluebridge for no particular reason and they have little cinema rooms on board. For free of course. We went straight to the front deck and watched the big burly guys unhook all the ropes and throw them in the water and wind them in. Then settled in for the next 3.5hours. We’d both taken Sealegs pills the night before as, again, people had been freaking us out with stories of bad sea crossings and awful bumpy weather etc so, again, we took the drugs they recommended. And these weren’t pharmacists ripping us off – these were friends haha! We didn’t get the funny effect like with the Cracker this time (Javi commented how we should have just got more of those haha) and the sea was flat as a pancake the whole way, woohoo! Coming out from Picton the Queen Charlotte Sounds were pretty to sail through and out in the open on Cook Strait we saw a few dolphins chasing the boat. Took lots of pics of the scenery, and you could see both islands at all times so that made me feel better, not being a lover of the sea.
Once we got over to Wellington we all seamlessly and in total order left the boat and, although our plan was to stop for the evening in Wellington, in the end after much driving with a million other road users and not finding suitable parking for Joe we popped up to the Victoria lookout. From here we could see the whole city which was pretty cool. The weather was still glorious too. We’d also landed in rush hour so after one more failed attempt to find somewhere to park (one we stopped in all relieved was $2 every 30 mins, we turned straight back round and left!), we headed out of the city.
By the time the sun was setting we’d arrived at our chosen site, Battle Farm Campsite. It was an absolutely ginormous piece of land with animals everywhere and lots of open gates saying you can camp anyway pretty much. We noticed as we were driving around the land that there seemed to be a hell of a lot of people running around, namely kids and pre teens. Then as it got darker we spotted huge fires and lots of people sitting around them. It’s ok, we’d only stumbled across a Scouts evenings so that explained the few hundred kids running around and screaming in the dark. The very nice ranger stopped his truck next to us and reassured us we could still camp wherever we wanted to. We paid him the tiny fee for such a great place of $6pp and joined the other non Scout people up a little bank. Dinner and lights out and we were done for the day, ready for tomoro to go see my friend Ashleigh who’d been in London years ago – our first stop on the North Island.