Friday, July 6, 2012

Road Trip to South Island and Crossing Cook Strait on a Ferry

I have just found this set of old pictures in our file and thought I should write something about it to preserve our good memory.

We had our driving trips to South Island nearly 10 years ago in late spring. And although the ferry crossing was not that terrific, the whole trip was marvellous and worthwhile. We drove from Auckland to Wellington and took the ferry across Cook Strait from Wellington to Picton. It was the last passenger ferry over the period of 5 or 6 days. We were supposed to go across the following morning but the people at InterIslander rang us while we were approaching Wellington to inform us they had to cancel all the passenger ferries over the next few days as the sea condition was too rough. They put us on the waiting list for the last ferry that afternoon and we were among the last five cars that they let on board. I nearly died when I saw the huge waves and the ferry as big as it was rocked quite a bit. I felt sick so it was not a good experience.  When we approached Marlborough Sounds   the sea was much calmer. Sea-sickness was forgotten – the Marlborough Sounds were breathtaking. It looked much better than in the picture. This was 10 years ago and the quality of both the camera and the photographer were not quite yet advance :)


This lonely seagull must have felt a bit sick and tired as well.


We spent an unexpected night in Picton and drove to Nelson the next day via the scenic route along Queen Charlotte Sound which is part of the Marlborough Sounds. We had lunch in Nelson at the Boat Shed Cafe  By the way, on this road trip we used Frodor’s Travel & Restaurant Guide (in print in those days) and tried to go to the recommended eateries in each town when possible so it was culinary as well as scenic tour.


While staying in West Coast we went to Shanty Town, the Heritage Park that has been created to replicate an old West Coast town for tourist attraction.


The highlight of our trip on this side of the Southern Alps had to be Franz Josef Glacier.   We chose to take a one hour walk (Douglas Walk) although Bob was tempted to take a helicopter ride. It was an amazing experience being up close to the huge glacier. 

The Southern Alps.


Marlborough Sounds on the way back to North Island. The sky was open and the weather was much better than the previous leg and the ferry ride was more enjoyable.

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