Crossing the Divide

Trip Start Aug 04, 2011
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Trip End Jan 04, 2012


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Where I stayed
Alexanders Family Park, Picton

Flag of New Zealand  , Wellington,
Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A short drive from our overnight DOC site ($20 - which included hot showers and only one cockroach in the sink, bargain) and we were on our way finally into Wellington. With very little time on our hands we glanced through the City (which looked very nice), passing up and down a few streets, sat in a car park to check details for our ferry crossing and then parked in a small car park along Pirie Street at the base of Mount Victoria, the hill overlooking the city. Wellington looks to be a good size with a share of taller office buildings but quite a sprawl of sub-urban dwellings up on the hills around the bay. The place has a ferry port, a stadium, an airport, a railway connection, a three lane road (I know, shock horror) and a population of approximately 700,000. With the weather being sunny and warm it just made us feel a little more disappointed for not having the chance to look around the much hyped up national museum or the Weta Cave (home to some of Peter Jacksons creations). We just didn't have time.

After parking the car we started walking up the hill making sure we took in at least one of Wellingtons 'must do’ attractions – visit the Mt Victoria lookout for splendid views across the city.

Within minutes of starting the walk I was in a sad geeky happy place. On the map of walkways of the hill one named walkway grabbed my attention ‘Hobbit Hideaway’. I knew what part of the film it was from straight away. When Frodo and his merry little gang are running from a black rider they jump down into a hollow just off the road – this is the road. It is strangely surrounded by a city and seems a little odd that the film was shot here, but the scene worked I guess. It was nice to walk along the road and to hide into what I think is the hollow that the hobbits sat in, it appears to have been cleared of the shrub/bush that the hobbits hid behind in the film though. Sad and Geeky.

When we finally got to the top of Mt Victoria we found that the place has a car park and would have definately saved a tiring and somewhat sweaty walk to the top. If we had driven though we would certainly have missed the Hobbit Hideaway trail, so it was worth it. The final bit of the walk takes you up a pronounced mound with a clear lookout point over the airport, sea and city spread to the south and the main city, beaches and harbour to the north. Nice little walk with some great views of a good looking city.

We got back to the car, drove around to the Interislander terminal (we nearly went to the wrong ferry company) and joined the queue.

After boarding and a short delay the ferry journey began and we spent the majority of the trip sitting and reading in the bar. The crossing was relatively uneventful except for when I decided to venture outside and nearly got blown straight over – it was still a little breezy, but the views on arriving through the Marlborough Sounds were spectacular. The little houses on the hills looked like they were entirely cut off from the outside world and only reachable by boat and I couldn’t blame them for wanting to live there. Wonderful place of tree covered rolling hills meeting the water’s edge.

We only had a short 3km drive to Alexander’s family holiday park where we would be enjoying a pleasant night’s sleep and recharging our batteries (literally). Alexander’s site offers a pleasant parkland surrounding at the edge of Picton with internet access, showers, power, the lot.

It would be nice if Alexander added to his advert however, "Please be aware that the site is right next to a bloody loud train line that carried freight right above your heads pretty much every hour during the night – the noise will shake your campervan to shit".
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