We drove on the bus all morning to Wellington, the ride was smooth and scenic, we passed about a million sheep in their paddocks, hilly green fields and little farms along the way. By lunchtime we were in the city, driving through the gorgeous downtown after a viewpoint lookout stop at the top of the city. The guides pointed out some fun stuff for us to do in the city during our free afternoon. We checked into our hotel and all trotted off for some lunch (Japanese mmm) and I decided to take some “me” time for the afternoon. I shopped around the cute little city, looking for a jacket to get me through the chilly weather of the south island. It ended up being a cold and chilly day, and after I had my fill of shopping, I decided to checkout Te Papa, the national museum of NZ. I was excited to check it out, I love history and culture and this place was full of it. I spent a fantastic rainy afternoon in the museum, learning about the history of the country and the natives, the Maori, who have been in NZ for thousands of years.
I reunited with my buddies after the museum and we went to a gin bar before dinner for some flowery tasting gin drinks. The gin and the bottle of wine i split with my friend Harsha in the hotel room made for one very tipsy dinner! We all ate dinner together at a place called The Grand, we had to say goodbye to some friends who were leaving the tour, so it was a bittersweet evening for us all. We shut the place down after moving to the rooftop for a while, sitting by the fire under the roof in the rain. Overall, it was a near perfect evening!
The next morning we said goodbye to the North Island and hello to some new friends on our way to the South Island. Four new people joined us as we boarded the Inter-Islander ferry, a beautiful big boat where we had our own seating area especially for Topdeck. Sweet! The journey started off smoothly enough, we sat and watched the harbor disappear into the distance and settled in for what would be a very.bumpy.ride. It was not just wavy. It was super seasickness choppy out there, the boat was crashing back and forth in the rainy weather, and a good half of us were very seasick and had to move to the back of the boat. I, luckily, had taken my seasickness pill, and i laid down on a couch to ride out the weather.
The waves finally subsided as we rolled into the Marlbrorough Strait on the South Island, and we breathed a collective sigh after three hours on the ferry from hell. Ugh! The bus had come with us in the bowels of the boat, so we boarded once again and were on our merry way to Nelson, our first stop. We had a quick break at The Doctor’s winery, where we sampled a bunch of lovely wines and frolicked in the vineyard for a bit. We arrived in Nelson that evening, and had a delicious barbeque cooked for us by our trusty guides. That night we played board games and hung out in the common area of our hotel, excited for our activities the next day. I was especially excited – It was time to jump out a plane!