Wellington and the Interislander

We drive from Paraparaumu to Wellington. It’s a busy road into the city and approaching rush hour. We stop at a self service petrol station which takes a little working out. We negotiate the one-way system, Alison navigating and find Rydge’s in Wellington’s Featherston Street. It is very expensive but well placed. We really dislike the way this place gives you the impression that if you are thinking about how expensive things are then you’re a second-class citizen. You’re only there to be fleeced. Pure greed of these city places and thoroughly unpleasant.
A night out in Wellington’s Cuba Street and nearby. Wellington is living up to its reputation as the windy city. This is a very different place from Queensland. the breeze from the strait is quite chill but the evening is light. It is much more our cup of tea. A walk around a lively street fair where you can find everything from healthy honey and massages to African drums and Mexican tacos. Pizza in a decent and relatively inexpensive restaurant. Coffee in ‘Midnight Expresso’, a 50s beat-style coffee bar. Excellent coffee, muffins and atmosphere. We’d endorse Lonely Planet’s recommendation.
We board the Interislander ferry at Aotea Quay for Picton, South Island at 8.25 on Saturday 24th November. It’s a pleasant crossing, very calm. There are a couple of parties of school kids on board but they’re OK, just enjoying themselves. Memories of trips to France. We sit in the warmly sunlit lounge taking turns on deck to watch rugged Wellington dropping behind us and later the even more rugged Queen Charlotte Sound closing around us.
We disembark at Picton, a nice looking little place at the head of the Sound surrounded by high, steep hills. We wait for our luggage at the carousel. This is where boat travel becomes as slow as flying. We pick up a hire car from Pegasus, a NZ company. Their cars are a little older and more battered than Hertz’s but then so are we.
After lunch and a supermarket shop we drive out of town along steep and winding roads fearfully reminiscent of the FWH. We miss the turn at Linkwater so find ourselves in Havelock, rather a neat little port. We get a coffee then drive back to Moetapu Bay.
It turns out to be a Beautiful holiday home in a remote and beautiful area on the Mahau Sound. Perfick.

Night Owl in Wellington.
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Leaving Aotea Quay.
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New Zealand, between the islands.
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The route of the Interislander.
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Approaching Picton, South Island.
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