It was a long slog to Wellington, but the city was a pleasant surprise. We actually stayed in a suburb called Plimmerton 'cos the accommadation in the city was all booked up as the International Rugby 7's tournament was on. This was actually a blessing in disguise as it gave the city a real buzz. We had a great night out eating HUGE mussels ( see photo ) and drinking fine ales and wine. On the way back to the station we enjoyed a free Elvis concert ( don't think it was the real one - he's still working in a chip shop in Huddersfield ). Top quality entertainment that nearly made us miss the last train home.
We had a cruise up to the top of a local hill the following day and what a view ! It a top location for a city, though like most parts of New Zealand, it seems to be smack bang on top of some form of tectonic tumult ( Teutonic too - bloody Germans tour groups again). Our ferry wasn't sailing until just after lunch so we went for a stroll through the city centre. This was very pleasant, but it turned into comedy as we bumped into swarms of fans heading to the first day of the rugby. There's a tradition of dresssing up and they didn't dissappoint. Barney Rubbles, Naughty Nurses and Pervy Police etc etc etc. Great vibe. Shame we had to head off really as tickets were still available. Turns out the Kiwis won the tournament. Shame they can't do as well with the 'proper' game. Snigger !
The ferry to the South Island took about 3 hours to cross the Cook Straight to Picton. The crossing was pretty smooth, but for most of the voyage the boat had a 10° list to port due to the extremely high winds. Made putting your cuppa tea down a bit tricky. Lots of potential for spillage. The scenery was like a small scale version of Patagonia. Have a look at the vid below.