Wellington to the South Island

We awoke early to pack up and be picked up to be taken to the ferry. Our clothes had (mostly) dried from the failed experiment with the single unit washer/dryer. We were picked up by the same gentleman who picked us up from the airport yesterday. Was it really just yesterday? This time he had a van that required no squeezing in of luggage! He brought us to the ferry building with much time to spare.

Thus ended our stay on the North Island- 17 days in which we learned how to drive on the other side of the road, saw so many new and different things, met many people and had a helluva time!

The Ferry across the Cook Strait to Picton on the the South Island was very large by our standards. The closest experience I had with one that size was the ferry from Portland, Maine to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. On it would fit many tractor trailers and buses as well as cars. These two shots give a bit of the feel for the size of the boat. The second shot is of another boat in their fleet as it left the South Island for Wellington.

We were booked on the Premium Plus Lounge package with the idea of having a nice, comfortable breakfast, which we did! But, the true benefit, at least for me, was that there were recliners in one section and I got to take a nap while looking out at the active sea.

It was stormy but the stabilizers on the ferry made the ride a gently rocking experience. The 3-½ hour trip was comfortable and a very relaxing break from all of the driving.

Once we entered the Marlborough Sound, the waters calmed, but the weather remained overcast and misty. We cruised through fjords on our way to Picton. Beautiful scenery to watch as we headed to port.

At the recommendation of our tour arranger, I charged off the ferry when we landed at Picton and “ran” to the Avis booth and was third in a line that was soon to be 20 or more people long. John got 2 points for that recommendation. It was still a bit rainy and I ended up having to walk about ¼ mile to the car and then drove back to the terminal to pick up Cheryl, Dale and our luggage.

We were given a New Zealand brand Holden Captiva which was *almost* big enough for all our luggage and gear and the three of us! ...so a bit of creative juggling was needed (and then a bit more) (wait, a little bit more so the hatch would close... There!) (Wait! Are we all in? whew!!) and then off we went!

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