Extreme waves, roads and romance
Trip Start May 26, 2010
14Trip End Jul 07, 2010
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Where I stayed
Picking up from last time, we woke up Wednesday morning to catch the ferry from Picton on the South Island to Wellington on the North Island. The ship was huge, we noticed that along with semi trucks and lots of other cars, some brand new cars were being loaded onto the ferry and grabbed a couple pictures of the Focus hatchback and sedan. Jason drives a Focus hatchback back home but they certainly don't look like this… wonder if this version will be selling in the states soon or if they do different models for various regions. We’ve also seen cars here we definitely don’t have in the states – a Ford Falcon and Ford Futura… huh.
The first part of the ferry trip was very cool – there’s a ton of inlets and bays around Picton so lots of pretty scenery as the ferry slowly made its way out to the ocean. Bunny had a good time enjoying the view :o) As we broke out into the ocean there were some pretty rock islands and the color of the water was such a pretty blue-green.
But the best part of the trip for me: the weather had cleared up and we were able to see MOUNTAINS! I had been a bit bummed because I really wanted a picture of the ocean with the mountains behind it – I don’t really know of any other place where such tall mountains sit right next to the sea. And with the cloudy weather I felt I had missed my opportunity during our drive up the west coast… but here was the perfect shot. Such majestic snow capped peaks with the lovely blue sea. I did try to narrow it to just two pictures, but couldn’t pick my faves so here’s 3… sorry ;o) I asked someone and they told me it was the Kaikoura range. Yippee!
And that was the last fun thing for a bit because as we approached the open sea… the boat started pitching. At first it was cool – you’d be walking and feel like you were weightless as the boat jumped a crest then slammed down. Now – I’ve never been motion sick. Tons of car trips, boat trips, flights and I’m always able to read a book or whatever and no problem. In fact, when I was in Australia I spent a couple nights on a dive boat and one day was really rough, and I had a blast with no worries at all. Ummmmm… not so much this time. In my defense this seemed to be pretty extreme. I’ve never seen so many people getting ill… They recommended going back to the back part of the boat where it’s a little more stable and I had to swallow my pride and do just that. Still it took a bit to settle down and I was so glad the trip was only 3 hours total. I’m strangely proud to report that Jason and I kept our lunches down and did not have to take use of the little white bags that were absolutely everywhere on the boat (now I know why!!) It was an adventure and Jason and I felt like we’d "survived" the trip. We’re also glad we are taking this one way and don’t have to get back on that ferry! Ha.
So we arrived in Wellington and got right on the road. We’d done some thinking and decided to head up to an area on the island called the Coromandel Peninsula as soon as we could. There’s a ton of stuff we could do up there all within driving distance so we could set up a bit of a base camp. We’ve only stayed more than one night at a place once since arriving and you get to the point where you really want to settle in for a bit and just relax, not have to be checked out, always on the road. Wednesday we made pretty good progress. It was a bit slowed down by our GPS. Jason thinks it’s funny that the usual speed limit here is 100kph but they don’t seem to see a need to reduce it if the road gets really narrow, twisty, whatever. So the GPS thinks pretty much everywhere but towns you can do 100kph. HA HA HA Um, no. So it took us off the main road and onto a smaller road that was a “short cut.” Insert big guffaw. But the upside is that getting off the highway is something we really enjoy, you feel like you get to see the “real” country. And it didn’t get much more real! We ended up on a ridge road winding past lots of pastures.
The road was pretty hair raising at times. It was two lane but in name only and it seems like every 2 minutes brought a blind turn where you just crossed your fingers no one was coming round the bend!
Still, gorgeous landscape aside, I breathed a sigh of relief to be back down and on the main road again (feels like we survived 2 adventures that day!) A bit farther down the road the weather took a turn and started raining and even snowing a bit. We arrived in our overnight stop, Ohakune and were glad to call it a day. We didn’t get great views of the area unfortunately, would have been cool because it’s where the volcano, Mt Ruapehu – for those of us geeks, this was Mt Doom in the Lord of the Rings movies. But it hid from us both on Wednesday and the next day. Ah well.
After we checked into the hotel, Jason said he wanted to take a walk and disappeared on me. I was left to wonder what bone headed thing I’d said on our journey that day to make him mad at me. It’s quite a long list of possibilities but as I sorted through he came back with fixings to make dinner and a gorgeous bouquet of flowers!! Our anniversary was the next day and he wanted to celebrate. Am I a lucky girl or what? He cooked up a totally fabulous dinner and had even picked up some little ice cream cups for dessert. Wow, I have an awesome boyfriend.
So that was our first day on the North Island – a full day of experiences. From the touch and go of the ferry, to the breath taking – and heart skipping – road along the mountains to a home cooked meal from the man I love complete with flowers. What a day!
The next day we had to stop at this giant carrot on the way out of town, Bunny insisted. And then he got a wee bit frightened when he actually got up close! Hee hee
Love to all of you and hope you are doing well,