When we left Nelson it was still raining. Three days of non-stop rain made it feel like we were being followed by a huge storm cloud.
The drive to Picton was pretty nasty, and by that I mean curvy, like most of the West Coast of the South Island. At one stage, the speed limit was thirty. We later realised that the North Island is less mountainous so we’re hoping for flatter and straighter roads.
We couldn’t find our car rental drop-off point in Picton so I stopped in front of a pharmacy to ask for directions. It was that windy that as the sliding doors opened, all this merchandise flew from the shelves. We eventually found the place and we dropped off our sky blue Getz. It was freezing and wet. The forecast anticipates that the nice weather (well, sort of nice) will return for us by Monday. Let’s hope!
We arrived at the ferry terminal rather early and eventually boarded our ferry to Wellington, the country’s capital. The trip took three and a half hours and made us feel a little woozy at times, but mostly we were kept entertained by a documentary about baby pandas, and later, one about the kakapo, an endangered New Zealand bird.
We had finally arrived on the North Island. A man was waiting for us with a sign so that we could pick up our new car. It’s much nicer and bigger than our last. It’s a silver Lancer, and much more powerful than our Getz, which really struggled to climb some of those West Coast mountains.
We drove about four minutes and found our hostel, a huge building in the middle of the busy city. Still raining in Wellington by the way. The lady at reception told us we couldn’t use the hostel car park as it was full, so we drove around for twenty minutes looking for the free street parking she told us about. Non-existent. We returned to the hostel to discover that the metered street parking would be free until January second. We are very lucky we’re leaving that day. So this hostel and us are off to a bad start. We’ve decided that after this trip we’ll make a much deserved transition to hotels. Free parking, private fridge, TV in room, free Internet and best of all, private bathroom. Looking forward to our next trip now!
Tonight we plan to go to a cool little street around the corner to find a little bar to celebrate the coming of 2012. We’re looking forward to it! Now it’s time to get ready.
Happy New Year!