Goodbye foggy Wellington and hello super sunny South Island

(February 20th 2007)

As you will have guessed by the time you read this, I have been having internet access problems, so I missed a day (well that and the fact that I was a bit tipsy and couldn’t type).

Yesterday we woke in luxury in the Bolton Hotel and congratulated ourselves again for making the change from the ‘hole’. We decided to take a trip up the cable car to get a better view of the city. The trip was pretty cool and the views were, as expected, excellent. Shame about the coffee at the top, our second bad coffee of the entire trip (the first was in Rotorua), but apart from that it was good. At the top is an observatory (which we arrived half hour too late to catch the planetarium show) and the botanical gardens which on a cooler day would have been nice to walk around a bit. As it was scorchio we decided to head back down and grab some lunch and then head out on the Marine Drive tour. This takes you on a road around Oriental Bay, the inner harbour and out to the outer shoreline facing the Cook Strait. The views were stunning. People living in Wellington must thank their lucky stars every day.

Once we’d returned the car the safe hands of the hotel, we headed back out for something to eat. First stop was Mac’s Brewery (so far I have tried 5 of their beers, all fantastic), and although we paused there for a while there was nothing we fancied to eat so we (I staggered) walked to a pub (Irish, much to Amandas disgust, as we always seem to find an Irish pub and I always seem to find a pint of Guinness in my hand). The food looked ok on the menu so we ordered. Apart from the portion control (always far too big) the food was great and so was the Guinness. So after all that, writing the blog was the last thing on my mind so we crashed out and watched a film back at the hotel.

This morning we bid an early farewell to Wellington, as we made our way to the ferry port for our crossing to the South Island. It was a glorious morning and the sea looked really calm, which I was thankful for. Apparently the crossing can be bad sometimes and I didn’t fancy that at all. To get on the boat we had to reverse in a long way alongside a train. Yup, a train. Amanda was driving and I have to say that even a man couldn’t have done better, hehe. The guy in front was useless and nearly hit the side a few times, and the men who worked on the ship looked on very admiringly. Amazed it was driven by a girl I expect. We went through a bank of fog which was weird but gave some good photos, and then broke through into brilliant sunshine. Our first proper view of the South Island came pretty soon as it takes over an hour to navigate through the Marlborough Sounds with islands all around you. Pretty soon we came into Picton and cleverly we had booked to stay here for two nights so we could explore the wine region. The hotel is only 10 mins from the ferry terminal, and what a find it was. We have a one bedroom apartment with two balconies, a kitchen, living room and a lovely bathroom. Oh yes, and a 42” plasma tv with Sky 🙂 All for about £95 per night.
After dropping the bags off we headed out to check on a few of the wineries. The drive is pretty amazing (although I expect you’re tired of reading ‘amazing’ brilliant’ and ‘breathtaking’ by now), and we soon arrived at the first winery called Hunters. I tasted a few wines (Amanda was driving) and bought 3 bottles. Then we went to Cloudy Bay winery, and I tasted a few more (5) and bought 3 more and bought more to ship home. Then we headed back to sample the wares which we are doing right now.

PS. Man flu broken and well on the way to full health again. Superior genes I expect.

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