Round the World Travel Guide
Your One-stop Source to Plan & Book Around-the-World Trips
Wellington and on to the South Island
Well I’ve survived my first earthquake, cool huh, 5.5 on the scale. Enough to shake the pavement as I was walking to the hostel in Wellington.
After leaving Taupo, had a 6 hour coach journey to Wellington (this is the second journey in which the coach has broken down delaying the whole trip by an hour and a half!!). In the end no one knew what was going on, as we changed coaches 3 times, and we were all grateful just to arrive at our destination!!
Walked to my hostel, called the Maple Lodge, which despite maps, was miles away from the center, so it was a great relief when I arrived. Everyone on the trip who I have met so far have warned me that the standard of accommodation in Wellington was poor, and they certainly were not wrong. It was the first place which really felt like a Hostel, not too good, but friendly and helpful staff made up for it!!
Wellington is perhaps the only Capital that I would consider doing in a day, it’s so very compact and easy to get around. I was up early set off for the main Museum Of New Zealand which for a free museum is absolutely amazing, great exhibits on interesting subjects. Then I got a cable car up the hill to see the town from above, amazingly small for a capital, then walked back down via the renowned Botanical Gardens (I’m really not into Gardens!!), before having a tour of their Parliament Buildings, which was “interesting, if you like that type of thing”. Wellington is full of great shops, due to finances, I looked and didn’t buy anything.
Went back to the hostel, got chatting to Terri from Sydney who was catching the same ferry to the South Island as myself, so we decided to share Taxi costs, and travel together. Very cool girl, she was going around New Zealand before heading to India, where she was going to be making a Documentary film about some woman runs one of the toughest prisons in India, and improved the welfare of all their prisoners by introducing a special form of meditation.
Ended the evening chatting at a bar to various people from the Hostel, one who had just bought a house in Perry Vale, Forest Hill, a new neighbour. Apparently my area in London is coming up in the world!!
Caught the ferry in the morning, packed with Backpackers. After doing the short crossing to the South Island we crossed into the waters of Marlborough Sounds, amazing views, good photo opportunities 360 degrees, cliff faces covered in pine trees, palms and general greenery all stretching for over 30 miles.
Arrived in Picton to then catch a short boat ride to the most incredible hostel, called the Lazy Fish. An absolutely amazing place, and a good enough reason to visit NZ. The only way to arrive is by boat, all the staff and Max the Dog run out to meet you, pick up all your packs and show you around. The place is an artist’s house, so all over the walls are brilliant pictures, carvings, and antiques. The beds are all in small huts set around beautiful gardens.
Being in the middle of nowhere means that there is nothing to do, but read, relax, fish and generally re-charge your batteries, all the time looking at the most amazing views, especially at sun set. The sky at night was particularly good as well, I’ve never seen such a clear sky. I was only there for two nights but it was really hard to leave, everyone was so chilled, friendly and relaxed. They told me that the place will turned into an artists’ retreat within the next few years so if you want to experience it you had better hurry!!
Back to reality, I had a train to catch, the Tranz Pacific, from Picton to Christchurch. Again stunning views of the Pacific on one side, with large collections of Seals lying in the sun, whilst on the other side were huge mountain ranges. Stunning. Arrived in Christchurch caught the Shuttle Bus to my Hostel, Foley Towers (yes, a play on the Fawlty Towers theme, but much more organised!!).
Christchurch is the most “English City, outside England” and it sure plays up to that, with beautiful rivers, gardens and houses. I have now met Rachel, and will be hiring a car for three weeks to do some tramping and generally seeing the rest of the South Island. Hopefully the weather will remain good, although it’s getting very cold at night!!