Crossing The Cook Strait

We’ve both spent a bit of time in the South Island, separately and together. However, we’ve always wanted to explore further and to be able to do so slowly. Hopefully, we’ll be doing that from now on for a while, sharing more spectacular scenery with you all.

Waikanae To Wellington

From Leamington, we headed south to Waikanae once again to catch up with Marilyn and David. They’d taught us ‘Five Crowns‘ last time we were together, so this time we shared our game and knowledge of ‘Sequence‘. Marilyn wrote about some of the antics from our evening in a blog post on NB Wakahuia. It was rather amusing, and no lasting damage was done. I believe they’ve now bought their own game – like a few folks we’ve played with.

We stayed overnight, sleeping in the van on their driveway, and enjoyed a trip to their Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning. I love visiting these events and buying fresh local produce.

Late morning we headed further south to Crofton Downs, to stay on the empty section of land next door to Rod and Tracey’s place. It was pretty unusual and rather spectacular! Luckily our handbrake is working well … We introduced them to Five Crowns and Sequence too. It’s getting rather a habit! We rarely play six-handed-rummy now we have new card games to play.

On Sunday morning they treated us to a breakfast BBQ along with amazing views as there was some sunshine in Wellington at last. They’ve not had a great summer; cool and wet sadly unlike Gisborne.

A Blue Sky Bluebridge Boat Journey

We were so fortunate to have blue skies and sunshine for our Cook Strait Crossing again on Sunday, with only a touch of northwesterly wind tilting us to one side in the open ocean. The campervan was driven expertly into the bowels of the ship by Barry – not too far from a couple of sheep transporters which was rather horrid bless them.

The journey out of Wellington and into the Marlborough Sounds is superb. You can see more of it in Barry’s slideshow below.

First New Place Havelock

From Picton, we drove about an hour to stay overnight with our friends Bev and Blair’s brother and sister-in-law. Wow! What an incredible place! They have around ten acres of land, part of which is ‘rootstock’ for grapevines. They have to ‘prune’ the tendrils from these most days, one row at a time, and then sell pieces of them to companies who then graft the wine varieties onto it. It sounds most complex to me, but then I wasn’t brought up in a wine-growing region like Barry, who understood the whole thing!

We parked up alongside their home and witnessed a spectacular sunset. On Monday, they took us for a walk around their land, and we saw their 13 sheep, two cows, plum trees, blueberry bushes, and a lemonade tree. As usual, we came away with a bag of fresh fruit – even better than a Farmer’s Market! Pete and Jan were fascinating folks, who also own a ‘whitebait’ business in Haast. Which turns out to be another free place we’ll be able to stay at overnight when we’re there.

What is there NOT to love about living and travelling this incredible country?

Surprised by Nelson

Our next stop on Monday was to see our friend Jill, who recently came to New Zealand to live, and work as a midwife, from Australia. Her daughter Francesca married a kiwi and had her first baby in November.

Whilst in Nelson we bought some more ‘Road User Charge‘, something we have to do here in order to run a diesel vehicle. We decided to get 3,000kms which should last us till Stewart Island later next month! We also had to get a quote for a bit of a van scrape we had last month. It’s a bit of a difference parking a campervan than a car, and Barry misjudged it sadly. Thank goodness I wasn’t driving! Whilst in a ‘large’-ish town we took the opportunity to buy small backpacks and other things we’ll need for our planned for Stewart Island walk in early March. It’s looking likely we’ll be able book at least one other Great Walk while we’re in New Zealand. First we’ll see how the Rakiura Track goes …

Having not been to Nelson since 2007, we’ve actually been rather surprised by how pleasant it is. The lack of a noticeable bi-cultural community sticks out like a sore thumb for me still; one of the many aspects of Gizzy life that I find positive.

Freedom To Camp

Having stayed overnight on Jill’s daughter’s drive, we headed out of town on Tuesday to find a free camp ground for a couple of nights. We’re at an NZMCA ‘Rally’ this weekend, at Tapurewa, and I needed somewhere with signal to work and take calls in the evenings.

Barry discovered Motueka, and it’s turned out to be one of our top ten spots for sure! We’ve hung out with heaps of young people from France, Spain and the UK in their smaller campervans. It’s so refreshing.

We’ll post more in the next post, as Barry has some gorgeous shots as usual. I have no doubt there’ll be a tale or two to tell about the weekend at Music In The Mountains too!

In the meantime, check out Barry’s brilliant slideshow below:

4 thoughts on “Crossing The Cook Strait

  1. Did you visit the Founders Heritage Park in Nelson, with it’s own brewery? We really enjoyed an afternoon walking round the site, so much to see.
    I do agree with your comment about the lack of a bi-cultural community and that was something that troubled us about the South Island in general. According to my Maori friends Christchurch is the most racist place in NZ and several of them felt unsafe there. Still much to be done to achieve equality! x

    • Kia Phil. Sadly not. I had work to do and no freedom camping in Nelson. However we’ll be back up staying with Jill at some stage so I’ll make a note to go there then.

      Yes, I see and feel that about The South Island too. It’s very beautiful but I far prefer the bi-cultural community of The North Island and especially the East Coast. 😉

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