December 26, 2023 Ferry Ride (Day 90)

We’re moving to the South Island! Very early morning for us, last minute packing, last minute cleaning and off we went at 6am to the ferry terminal in Wellington! We arrived early enough to be the 4th car in line to board the ferry. As we waited, getting a quick nap in the car, we saw a cruise ship being guided into port by tugboats!

A dramatic entrance into port under overcast skies!

Finally we entered the belly of the boat an hour before our scheduled departure. As we drove in we could see the Princess Cruise ship docked, and tour buses arriving to take the passengers for their adventures in Wellington.

We settled into our lounge chairs and enjoyed a buffet breakfast as the rest of the passengers boarded. Then we were off.

Fairly quickly we passed the Pencarrow lighthouses at the entrance to Wellington Harbour. We had ridden our bikes to the lighthouses on Dec. 14!

Soon we were out on Cook Strait with a warm breeze blowing and tiny whitecaps on the water. We were surprised at how warm it was and how sunny, looking back at the cloud covered headland! You can just make out a few of the many windmills on the hills.

This must be what we look like! We passed a sister ship on it’s ride from the South Island to the North Island. We’ll be taking that ride in March!

Two hours into the ferry trip and we are entering the calm waters at the mouth of Queen Charlotte Sound on the South Island. But we have another hour to go as we thread our way deep into the jigsaw puzzle of islands and coves of peninsulas!

We reached our destination, the ferry terminal at the tiny town of Picton, disembarked and started our 3 hour drive to our B&B.

As we drove the narrow winding road to Nelson we looked back at the blue waters of the sound and the green hills rising above.

We stopped along the way at a park on the water. It was so warm out people were enjoying swimming and sunbathing on this holiday! We bumped into a German couple we had met on Thurs. December 21 when we hiked the rail trail! They are bike riding through New Zealand and they had taken the ferry to the South Island yesterday! Small world! We also stopped to do some grocery shopping and finally reached our B&B, a farm on a gravel road about 30 minutes from the town of Nelson.

We were greeted with a beautiful bouquet of flowers from their garden, a plate of chocolate chip muffins and a bottle of wine! A wonderful evening watching the moon rise!

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