For three weeks, we’re traveling the country of New Zealand (#WatsonsdriveNZ) and blogging our way through it. Follow along + catch up by reading Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six, Part Seven, Part Eight and Part Nine.
We ate breakfast at Frederick Street Coffee (the cafe in our hotel, Gourmet Stay) and caught up on emails and some work for an hour! It was nice to feel a bit “up to date.” The rest of our morning was chill – a little laundry, some more coffee and cards at Flight Coffee Hangar (two days in a row) and then to Fidel on Cuba Street for brunch/lunch.
The Inter-Islander ferry took us from the port in Wellington to Picton, a three hour journey. We were both looking forward to the ferry between the North and South Islands. I know it’s a unique thing for a lot of people traveling New Zealand – but as British Columbians who travel to Vancouver Island a lot… ferries are regular things. The Inter-Islander had some similarities and a few differences, too. The boats were similar size – but way more room for cargo transport in NZ than BC.
I bet BC would have fit 4 times as many cars and had a lot more seats for people on board. To get the most out of the experience, Randy purchased the upgraded lounge area. It’s a nice private lounge with free food, any drinks you want, free wifi (don’t get too excited, it’s slowwww as molasses) and comfy chairs. The coolest part was arriving int Picton, as the ferry travels between a bunch of small islands. But all in all, BC Ferries wins hands down. I’ll think twice before complaining about BC Ferries or the cost again. We have a great system in BC. (Our NZ ferry with a car cost us $300 one-way. BC Ferries with a car one way is $90.)
We checked into our sweet bed and breakfast only steps from the waterfront in the town of Picton. Picton is a town of 5,000 residents in the wintertime and close to 20,000 in the summer. We didn’t expect much from Picton, honestly figured it would be a port town with not much else. We were pleasantly surprised! We had awesome weather and really enjoyed dinner at Cortado along the waterfront.
The highlight of our experience was our Bed and Breakfast accommodation. We were greeted by a older retired couple and the man showed us carefully around the place. If we didn’t want to be barefoot, there were baskets of slippers at the door for us. When we walked a few steps to the stairs, he said, “Now. These stairs are quite narrow. So. Watch yourself. Be very careful. We’ve heard quite a little tumbles.”
In the hallway, a big pile of stuffed animals (30 or so) but he said, “Oh don’t worry about them, they won’t bother you.” In our bedroom, every detail was talked about slowly but surely, “If you look really close. You’ll notice two different black lamps. Now, it’s not that we didn’t notice this. But the other lightbulb burned out and we don’t have that lightbulb yet. So we’ve switched the lamps.”
“Now, here’s the wifi code. You type that in and there you have it. If you forget it, just look in the mirror.” Randy politely laughed. The man stayed straight-faced, “Ha-ha. Some people don’t get that one, glad you did.” (I asked Randy after he left, “What was the wifi mirror thing?” “No clue.”) He gave us directions to town (we could see it from our room) that included walking a couple blocks, looking for an electrical box, looking for a campground, going over the bridge, turning, etc. Basically, we got outside and got confused and forgot them all and asked ourselves, “Where’s the town?” We saw it straight ahead and went that way. ;)
“There were many lovely restaurants in town,” he said. “But there’s this one. This two-storey house. It looks wonderful. But… it’s quite pricey. So. You’ve been warned.” He shook his finger and paused for dramatic effect. “Let’s go into the lounge room now.” He showed us a tiny room next to our bedroom with a couch, a small TV, a fridge with milk and wine (“one complimentary glass”) and hot chocolate and tea.
It was pretty much the cutest ever and he was so proud of himself for remembering all this information when he was done. “My wife will be happy with me!” We did end up going to the restaurant he said was the best (not the pricey one – haha) and we loved the recommendation. Oh, one more funny thing, I was reading the “info book” they put in your room… and New Zealand has a high earthquake risk, especially Wellington/Picton area, they get a lot of small ones. So there was info about what to do when/if a small one happened and it also said “Because we are above sea level, we are not at risk for a tsunami, but if we are, find higher ground.” Not at risk!!?? I stopped reading and showed Randy, “Look! I can see the water a few houses down!” We had a good laugh about that one. But we made it out alive.