Friday 12 January
Today is my last look at the North Island as I make my way to the South Island. The shuttle bus arrived at 7.30am and arrived at the Wellington ferry terminal at 7.45. I had booked the 8.25 ferry which would arrive in time to catch the Tranz Coastal (train) from Picton to Christchurch. The ferry crossing takes 3 hours.
The Arahura has been sailing across the Cook Strait since 1984 and can carry up to 550 passengers. There's a food court, a bar, and has extensive food and beverage facilities.
The onboard facilities are very good, with a cinema, lounge, and outside observation decks.
The main channels of the Marlborough Sounds have calm water and are popular for sailing. Cook Strait, however, is infamous for its strong currents and rough waters, especially when the wind is from the south or north. Because of this, some of the narrow channels closer to the Strait are dangerous.
How The Sounds Were Formed
The Marlborough Sounds is a network of fjiord-like waterways, sheltered by steep hills, most clad in native and timber forests. Geologists would describe the Sounds as ‘drowned valleys’, where in past millennia, the mountains sank in earth movements and the sea flooded into the valleys. Māori legend tells a more exotic story of their creation, how as Kupe wrestled with a giant octopus he grasped at the South Island for support, his fingers digging deep and carving out the waterways.
Queen Charlotte Sounds
The area was a base for whaling throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, notably at Perano Head on Arapawa Island which lies to the east. Queen Charlotte Sound has calm water and is popular for sailing - a marked contrast to the notorious waters of Cook Strait.
The town of Picton, the northern terminus of the South Island's railway and State Highway networks, lies near the head of the Sound.
Picton, a quaint waterfront village - gateway to the South Island. Picton is the main link between the South and North Island, with scheduled ferry service over Cook Strait. I had an hour os so to spare before my train left and went for a stroll around the streets.
Dublin Street Roundabout
World War I Memorial
The Kiwis honour their soldiers with Remembrance Day (11 November) as well as Anzac Day (25 April), which is a national holiday.
Welcome to Picton
The Tranz Coastal
The TranzCoastal train journey travels between Picton and Christchurch, departing Picton at 1.00pm and arriving Christchurch at 6.21pm. I fell asleep on the train and broke the side arm of my glasses. When going to the buffet car, my watch strap broke due to the train rocking wildly causing me to lose balance and hitting my arm on the wall of the carriage.
It was raining and foggy and we arrived 30 minutes late. The shuttle bus costs $5.00 and I arrived back at the YHA in Manchester Street. Wonderful staff at this YHA - they had placed a sign saying "Reserved for.. Room 2"
Tēnā koutou katoa
This is all about New Zealand - Aotearoa - and the time I spent there. Magical times, beautiful scenery, gushing geysers, thermal wonderlands. Hear about Waitangi Day, discover the meaning of the word "Aotearoa", see the Glaciers, read about hangis and Hakas, and visit the beautiful Bay of Islands. So come with me on a journey - a journey to The Land of The Long White Cloud.
CHRISTCHURCH EARTHQUAKE TRIBUTE 2011