28&29/1/16. After a morning mooching around Wellington we made our way to the ferry terminal to cross the Cook Strait to the South Island – by going west!
With Christine not being the best of travellers (difficult to believe huh?) she dosed herself up on seasick pills and put on sea bands in anticipation of a rough passage given the reputation of the strait for being windy. These precautionary measures were very wise as, although the waves did not not look large, the ship did go up and down a fair bit! So much so that she even ended up laying on the floor between rows of seats with her eyes tightly shut (something she has found to be effective previously). As a result she was fine, if a little sleepy, when we moved into the shelter of Queen Charlotte Sound on the other side.
The trip up the sound to Picton was spectacular. We could certainly see the attractions of spending time travelling round this area although it is probably better by boat or, perhaps, car than bike.
Arriving in Picton we made our way to the home of our Warmshowers hosts, Val and Don, who made us extremely welcome with a glass or two of wine and a lovely meal, a substantial proportion of which was grown in their garden (a subject close to our hearts, of course). We had a great time swapping tales of cycling holidays over the years and them giving us tips and advice for our trip over to the west coast. Heartfelt thanks to both of them!
In the morning we faced a trip along SH1 with some trepidation but we wre also hopeful that we were heading south between ferry landings and so avoiding the worst of the ?,traffic.Our pessimism was unfounded thankfully as the traffic was generally light, albeit not hanging around, and (even better) after the initial climb out of Picton wonderfully flat along the valley between steep sided hills. We positively raced along (in our own terms) and completed the 30 km to Blenheim in time to check into the campsite and sort ourselves out before lunch.
We are in the middle of the Marlborough region which is apparently the source of 75% of the country’s wine and we saw many vineyards on the way into town. The view of the town from SH1 is not very inspiring but if you move even a street away from the highway it is much more appealing.
We are heading out into the middle of nowhere for the next few days as we head over towards Greymouth on the west coast so we are likely to be “off grid”. Don’t worry if you don’t hear from us – this is a civilised and safe country!