Apologies everyone, I am aware that this entry is seriously overdue (by about a month!!) I am frantically trying to get back up to date with it all, but internet access has been a bit of an issue for me! Anyway, here we go...
18.01.2011 - 20.01.2011 23 °C
After a long bus ride I arrived in Wellington, New Zealand's capital. By chance, my Godfather John and Marilyn happened to be there on holiday too and (how's this for a coincidence) we just happened to be staying on the same road, about two minutes walk apart! We met and went out for a drink on Cuba St, where most of the bars and cafes are. I hadn't seen anyone I knew for over a month so it was great to be with them and have a catch up.
Next day we spent the morning at Te Papa, NZ's national museum. This really is a fantastic museum. There are exhibits on everything from the geology and tectonic forces shaping the country, Maori culture and history, artwork, native wildlife to the signing of the Waitangi Treaty and NZ's colonial relationship with Britain. You may remember the Colossal Squid found near Antarctica a couple of years ago - it was in the news at home, I recall. Well, they even had that there too.
In the afternoon we explored the botanical gardens high up above the city, accessible by a funicular/cable car with great views over Wellington and the harbour.
On the walk back down to the city there is a large greenhouse with many weird and wonderful plants, as well as some rather pretty ones.
Outside, an elegant fountain and wonderfully scented rose gardens finish off the display.
NZ's Parliament building, appropriately names 'The Beehive'.
The following day I had to get up really early and walk to the ferry terminal to catch 'The Interislander' ferry to Picton, on the South Island. The Cook Strait is one of the roughest stretches of sea in the world. That day was no exception.
Also described as one of the most beautiful ferry journeys in the world, the route takes you through the Marlborough Sounds, finally arriving at Picton - a small town tucked away at the end of Queen Charlotte Sound.
From here I caught the 'Tranz Coastal' train down the east coast to Kaikoura, famous for it's marine mammals - in particular, Sperm Whales.