I finally got around to getting these pictures sorted out this morning! Back in the middle of November, smack-dab in the middle of NaNoWriMo, when I was more than half distracted with trying to get those 1,667+ words done each day, my brother, Simon, and I decided on the spur of the moment to take a 15- or 16-hour trip up to the North Island to help some friends move down to our area.
We decided to go on a Thursday evening, after arriving home late from a trip across to Christchurch (which in itself was a 3-hour drive home!), booked our ferry tickets that night, and took off about 8 am on Saturday. It’s a good 4 hours up to Picton, where you meet the inter-island ferry, then you have to wait for a while until the ferry takes off, and once you do, it’s a 3-4 hour ride.
I was so thankful to be out of the vehicle, even if it did mean I was on a boat! I’m not one that necessarily enjoys traveling, but it was fascinating to explore the Kaitaki, the Interislander ferry we took from Picton, on the South Island, to Wellington, on the North Island.
Once settled in on deck, Simon and I had fun exploring the top story (level 10), where we had a great view of Picton and the surrounding harbor! This boat had lots of outdoor seating (you can just see that on the right of the below picture) for fine days—unfortunately, it was far too rainy to want to be out there long the day we went. The two big orange things in the middle of the picture are lifeboats, and in the distance on the middle left, you can see a white warehouse with “Edwin Fox” on it. If you are ever in Picton, I’d highly recommend you go there!
To our right, there was a little sailing club of some kind. All the white sails are people learning how to sail; it was fascinating to watch them learn to tack with the wind! They balanced the one-person boats by shifting their weight from one side to the other. Several almost capsized while we watched, then they quickly slid over to the other side and turned the sail to get them back on course.
Finally on our way! The Marlborough Sounds were absolutely beautiful, even if it was an overcast, rainy day.
A mussel farm:
There was also an outdoor viewing platform that ran almost all the way around deck 7, underneath the lifeboats on deck 8 (we saw the tops of them from deck 10). Simon and I spent a lot of time exploring around there, too, and it was nice to be sheltered a little from the weather while still having a clear view of the scenery.
There were LOTS of houses dotted among all the different islands and formations in the sounds! I was somewhat surprised at the number, but I think it would be lovely to have one of these secluded places as a summer holiday spot.
We saw quite a few salmon farms, too:
And more mussel farms . . . I didn’t count, but I know there were a good number of these, too!
Wellington harbor, at last! Once you disembark at Wellington, there’s approximately another 4-hour drive up to Hastings, where our friends lived.
Even though it was a bit early to eat, Simon and I got fish and chips in Upper Hutt, then wound our way up into the hills toward the Remutaka Pass, looking for a place to pull off to eat. We found a nice quiet place overlooking the Macaskill Lakes—what a lovely spot! Water from the Hutt River is pumped up into these lakes when the river water is clean, and then it is held here for use as Wellington’s water supply when needed. It was quite the view to enjoy after driving or riding the ferry all day, and we felt quite refreshed when we hit the road again by 5:30 or 6.
We finally arrived in Hastings about 11 pm. To say we were bushed feels like an understatement! Sunday, we got to rest, then Sunday afternoon and evening, we loaded up.
Then on the road again Monday morning by 7 am, and down to the ferry in Wellington by noon! It was raining fairly hard Monday, but from our place in line, we still enjoyed our view of the Kiarahi, the Interislander ferry that took us from Wellington to Picton.
Just a tiny portion of Wellington, our nation’s capital, here:
Pulling up the ropes and casting off—farewell, Wellington! I wasn’t so sad to be leaving. I much prefer our quieter roads here on the South Island!
The second sailing was slightly rougher at first than our sailing Saturday. But about half-way across Cook Strait, the waves smoothed out—I was thankful for that! Can you see the two white specks in the middle of this picture, just above the water on the hillside? Those were the guiding markers to help us enter the Marlborough Sounds.
The markers closer up, once we were in the sounds:
We met several ferries coming out of the sounds as we were winding through them. I think this one was the Kaitaki, which we took on our Saturday sailing.
And Picton harbor again—with the sun out this time! I was excited to be back on the South Island again. Only four hours to home from here!
In all, it was a great trip. Although I didn’t take any pictures up in Hastings, I loved being back up there again and worshiping with the congregation on Sunday. I spent three weeks there a year and a half ago, so that area has a special piece of my heart. I’m not sure I’d recommend taking such a rushed trip up there and back again, though. 😉
What was the last big trip you took?