Kia Ora, and what a welcome we received from Wellington, after our ferry crossing from Picton to the North Island of New Zealand.
We’re really behind with our travel blog updates, so this is going to be a very quick entry covering quite a few days. The main reason is we’ve both been really busy. Sorting our hundreds of travel photographs and collecting our thoughts is quite tricky when you have a busy itinerary – so apologies!
We camped the night in Picton as we had an earlyish ferry crossing, 8am departure. We made the crossing with Bluebridge Ferries and the food on the ferry was very reasonably priced and of a high standard so we enjoyed a yummy cooked breakfast whilst waiting for the sun to start shining.
The ferry journey is an excellent way to view the coastline as the boat navigates some pretty scenery over the three hour crossing. The scenery on the ferry itself was a little unusual, with large groups of predominantly men in fancy dress, some in drag, others in pink pyjamas others wearing what would only just constitute as clothing, and all in very high spirits mostly fuelled by booze. We initially thought their destination of Wellington, was NZ’s stag party capital, but we’d discover later why.
On arrival in Wellington, you can’t really see from the photograph, this entire bar is in fancy dress, each group adopting a theme with their gang wearing the same chosen dress code, we loved this camp Kiwi Krazy party! I did hear on radio New Zealand National, their excellent talk radio station, that one group of 44 had dressed as sperm! The groups were attending the Wellington Rugby Sevens
Waitangi Weekend 2012 is for some New Zealanders just an extra days holiday, this year Waitangi day fell on a Monday, meaning a long weekend here. For many others it holds a much deeper meaning as 6 February Waitangi day commemorates the signing of the Waitangi treaty by the Maori in 1840.
For those travelling on the North Island over this period, a little travel tip, book in advance for any campsites in busy areas, you may as well forget about trying to get a pitch in the North Island on any free DOC sites in driving distance south of Auckland, as New Zealanders love to camp and most places we tried we’re fully booked, which is the complete opposite to availability in the South Island.
Whilst in Wellington, it was extremely difficult to find parking for Bertha due to the festivities, but we did visit the WETA Caves where the Lord of the Rings and TinTin effects were created as part of Craig’s Lord of the Rings pilgrimage.
On leaving Wellington, we drove along the wine route, passing numerous vineyards and noticed how much warmer this island is, especially during the evenings, so the long trousers have been exchanged for shorts – happy days! You’ll be glad to learn we’ve not adopted some of the more elaborate attire worn by our Kiwi friends.