We again cruised overnight arriving at Picton at Dawn. Picton is at the top of the north island, its harbour the departure point for the regular ferry service between the North and South Islands of NZ. Picton is a small town, a village really, but the harbour is quite beautiful. As we disembark the ship a welcoming party from the town meet the passengers as they walk of the dock. Every passenger receives a flower, it’s a nice gesture.
A fair is being held in the park on the waters edge. Lots of local bits and pieces in various stalls, we wander through fairly quickly. We head up town looking for a nice coffee, after a long walk we end up back opposite the park in a little cafe. We had passed a couple of gift shops during our walk and Pam was keen to find something special as a memento of our trip. We find a lovely set of ceramic symbols, which now hang framed in our living room.
As we walk back through the park the stalls have disappeared and most of the passengers have returned to the ship or disappeared in the pub. The weather has turned cold as we walk back to the ship. The ship departs mid afternoon and we head northeast out of the bay. It is hours before we exit the bay and enter Cook Strait.
It is near dusk and we are enjoying a drink in the bar and we feel the ship lurch slightly. Looking out the window, we see a large whirlpool some 50 meters from the ship. We go out on deck to see yet another. The Captain comes over the loud speaker to comment on the strong and treacherous currents that make the Cook Straight one of the most difficult waterways in the world, depending on the tide and moon. We ignore the odd lurch and return to our drinks and dinner. We dock in Wellington late that evening.
We awake to views of Wellington Harbour. It’s warmed up a little as we wander along the foreshore and into the CBD. We are looking for the cable car shown on our tourist map. Doesn’t seem where it’s supposed to be, then we see the sign. The cable car station is inside a building complex, there is a bit of a queue but where on our way about 15 minutes later. The cable car passing the University on its way up the hill to a park and museum. We wander through the museum, which displays the history of the cable car and it’s machinery. We decide to walk back down through the park and it’s gardens and back to the city center.
We coffee and have a bite to eat, then walk along the waterfront. This area of Wellington has been extensively rebuilt or renovated. We see school children in kayaks, a heliport with tourists taking off or returning from joy flights and people like us just wandering along.
The afternoon is turning a bit chilly as the wind picks up. We make our way back to the Vollendam and afternoon drinks.