The first leg of our mini road trip is Wellington to Nelson. We’ll be doing the Wellington-Picton leg by sea, and Picton to Wellington by way of little red rental- and my friend’s driving.
I’ve pushed myself hard into the wall in an effort to stay upright. The wind is trying hard to blow the camera from around my neck, and one hand is hold it down while the other is tying my scarf more securely. The lurching of the ferry has sent a puddle of water down the deck and into my shoes…at the exact time that a waterfall of drips is rained down by back from the lifeboats harnessed above.
It’s a windy crossing- gusts up to 150km/hr- that sort of windy. Thankfully though, the rain that howled around Wellington all night has gone and the sky- and the sea- is blue again. There’s a girl wandering around with a yoga mat- I’m hoping she’s not planning on setting it down anywhere to do a few downward dogs.
We’re on the Kaitaki- one of the Interislander ferries that cross the Cook Strait between Wellington and Picton a few times a day, linking the North and South Islands. As crossings go, this is a comfortable one.
The ferries are large, well appointed, with clean and comfortable seating and café and bar areas. There’s even a play area for the kids and a cinema downstairs.
We’ve snaffled an ocean view seat from where we can sit and watch the Sounds float by.
Only a relatively small proportion of the crossing is on open sea- before you know it, you’re making the leisurely run through majestic Queen Charlottes Sounds. Keep an eye out for seals.
Where we tasted
Just 30 mins from Picton, on the road to Nelson, is the Marlborough wine region.
As we drive through I point out the rows of vines at each of the wineries that I’m sure I’ve paid for over the years.
We stop at Cloudy Bay and do a tasting.
It’s about 1.30pm on a Monday and they’ve just sold their last cheese platter, so we buy a few bottles and move on.
Where we lunched
Giesen for a mega lunch platter…and some more wine.
Where we stopped
Halfway between Picton and Nelson at Pelorus Bridge.
My travelling companion is a Hobbit fan, and apparently this bridge was used in the movie Desolation of Smaug as hobbits floated down the river in barrels. All righty.
Anyways, it’s a pretty place, well signposted, and an easy, short walk to the suspension bridge itself.
Where we stayed
Whoever designed the bathroom here has thoughtfully placed the tap on the opposite wall to the shower head- no more freezing or scalding before the temperature is right. It’s a pity that person- the one who designed the bathroom- was probably taller than me. The sink is one of those ones placed on top of the vanity, and is too high for me. A little criticism, and the only one I could find.
Rooms are beautifully appointed- with kitchenettes, free wifi, and welcoming beds. I was upstairs, so not only was my room super quiet, but it also had a little balcony.
Located in an easy walk to Town Centre or the river, this was a good choice.
Where we dined
Stefano’s Pizzeria upstairs in the State Theatre at Nelson.
My friend’s son recommended this place. Good thin crusts with just the right amount of topping, he said. He was right.
Super fast, super casual, with, if you’re restrained, enough left for brekky tomorrow…which I wasn’t- but that’s for next time!