Windy Welly – You are taking the p*ss!

Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
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Trip End Feb 26, 2011


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Where I stayed
Whites Bay Recreation Reserve Near Marlborough

Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Sunday, October 17, 2010

I woke to the van swaying somewhat in the still ridiculous wind. It had been a rough, rough night and I was hoping that the weather would improve even slightly for our ferry trip. For once we had a friendly conversation with the DOC warden who locked and unlocked the gate at 8pm and 8am. Clearly this gave a good indication he would be meeting us this morning so given the clues we paid up gratefully. We happily showed our receipt. When he was leaving he pulled back in, I thought this may be something to do with previous sins at the honesty boxes of the DOC but it turned out he was from Yorkshire and just wanted to know where we were from and how we were finding New Zealand. By the time he had finished Erica had the van packed, the bed made and we were ready to go. Despite the conditions we drove into Welly, and guess what, the horizontal rain started almost as soon as we had parked. Of course parking was free as always on a Sunday so we did the walking tour of the city plus a few deviations to take in a bit more. To be honest though we weren't really kitted out for the conditions despite waterproofs, our walking boots are still drenched from the alpine trek so we sported rather slippery flip flops.

We were relieved to reach the Parliament buildings at the North End of town, especially since we were parked out at Te Papa again right in the South of the City. This gave us the opportunity to dry off a little bit, I thought I had done something stupid by bringing in all the valuables out of the van including the laptop like the woman in Canberra (who had brought a weapon into parliament) however after 5 scans of my bag they just let me through which seemed quite ridiculous without ever searching it.

Anyway we had to dispose of our cameras and bags at a luggage storage place and possibly the first thing in common with the UK was the ridiculous health and safety. The lady working the baggage room couldn’t lift anything but a coat and therefore I was asked to carry my box into the secure area while she spoke to someone else so I could have stolen whatever I wanted had I had the inclination. Anyway we then had to undertake a health and safety briefing to see who was capable of climbing the stairs and if anyone thought they may injure themselves climbing the stairs or standing up for too long. All a little OTT for us. The tour itself was great and we were shown around loads of the government areas including the bee hive and the house itself where the prime minister, his party and the opposition sit and was an excellent way to spend an hour on a terrible, terrible day weather wise.

We left with the intention of going back to the van but the buy one coffee get one free voucher at the museum was calling and we thought we may still be able to pick up the free Wifi signal we were on yesterday. Anyway I would suggest that this is the best value method of accessing the internet anywhere in NZ, two coffees with unlimited refills and free Wifi for about 1.50, needless to say this was another excellent way to spend a few hours on such a rainy and bad day. We ended up leaving at about 15:30 after booking our Inca Trail trip (hopefully).

We got back in the Van and were a bit lost we started to drive to the top of Mount Victoria to get a view of Wellington but the visibility was so bad between waves coming over the harbour wall and the rain in the sky we actually couldn’t see anything. It seemed quite obvious to us that we would no longer be leaving for South Island today so headed for the ferry terminal to rearrange. Bizarrely as I write this we have been checked in and are awaiting boarding in the queue. I think we could be in for a long and bumpy ride so let’s just hope neither of us are too ill. At check in every other person handed in a printed confirmation sheet however I opted rather than spend money on printing just to hand over my laptop announcing "sorry mate I’m a bit odd and can’t afford paper" he responded with a surly look and “I can work with a confirmation number thanks MATE!”.

The ferry crossing however was actually fine and although a swell was evident it didn’t really make it very uncomfortable. The lady spent her time reading both what my Mum and Dad did in NZ and Rorie’s exceptionally long and detailed e-mail (this would have taken some time we had to print it out for god’s sake – but cheers mate, much appreciated) of what they did how and when and a few tips to make our trip better (in a luxurious Jucy Camper Van, are they Rich, Lazy or both I’m no longer sure?  Joking aside guys thank you and hope you are managing to adapt back to 'normal life’ as well as can be expected, we do wonder how you are doing more often than you think).  Anyway I simply played monopoly on the I-pod whilst the Lady complained we should have spent an extra 50 for a day time sailing to actually be able to see one of the world’s best ferry journeys (it was pitch black).

We arrived on South Island a bit hesitant, for us a ferry journey normally ends with driving your car on the wrong side of the road and the driver in the wrong seat (i.e. Europe, only joking France!!!) but it is how people drive in Burma. It was pitch black and without a map light we had no idea what to do next (note how I say Lady E was planning!!!). We drove down a road in an unknown direction for about 20 minutes before I stopped put on the lights and we found a DOC (Department of Conservation Campsite) that was fairly nearby, at least we thought it was. We ended up not finding our free campsite but pulled into a paid DOC campsite at 11pm parked up, opened the rear sunroof so the light would wake me up at 6:30.  (As I write this update on the evening of the 18th I still have no idea where we stayed). We wouldn’t have had an issue with paying at that time of night but it was still an honesty box and we only had $4, so we already knew we had to split early. It must have been about 12:00 by the time we got to sleep and we both vowed it was definitely the last time we would arrive without knowing where we were staying after 5pm. Still I know we have done some wrongs by the DOC honesty box but we used no facilities at all and always make sure we ‘leave no trace (probably copyright of Glastonbury)’ so we are not total scumbags.
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Comments

Rorie on

Cheers for the nice words guys, there's hardly a day where your blog isnt checked either to be honest. Emer is still finding it difficult to look at yer blog and all the places ye are still visiting, she misses travelling much more than she thought she would and the same goes for myself also.

Hope the weather improves for the south island and safe travels there

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