We left Blenheim at 9:15am and drove to Picton. Here’s a hasty snap of Picton airfield.


We were almost at the end of the drive to the ferry when we found a bakery. The presentation and choice of food was very good so we bought something for breakfast and something for lunch. Delicious!

We got to the ferry terminal before the 10am last check-in time. About 10:40am they finally let us drive onto the boat, the Arahura. There was a warning of 3m moderate swells.


We found seats at the front of the seating area so we could easily look out of the window. The following pictures are taken through the window, which became increasingly wet and salty. Here’s a GPS log of the 3hr crossing.

This is the view at Picton. Nice and calm.


About 10 mins into the journey.


About 45 mins into the ferry crossing.


About to enter the Cook Strait, 50 mins after leaving Picton. Still nice and calm.


And then it got rough. 😳

I had to stop reading and concentrate on the horizon and gradually the lounge area we were sitting in went quiet and it became half empty. We were sitting in the worst part – at the front of the boat pitching up and down quite a bit. Noel thought it was a moderate to rough sea. Some of the ferry staff came through and swept the area for people feeling sick and made them move.

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There was a delay at the end of the trip as some Japanese fishing boats were in the way so we headed out a short way to give them time and space before we berthed. We drove off the ferry at 2:40pm and headed off to Napier via the Rimutakas. It is probably the first time I have been through this mountain range in clear weather and it looked impressive. I still cannot get over how easy in NZ it would be to make a mistake on many roads and drive off the side and fall down a steep hill and not be found for a while. You know it’s a very serious part of the road when metal railings have been installed (which is not as often as one might like)! 🙂

Here’s a hasty snap of the Harvard slide in the Paihiatua Adventure Playground which I mentioned on our way down to the South Island on April 13.


It gets dark before 6pm these days and on unlit winding roads with a tanker limited to 90km/h in front it can make the driving a bit slower…!

We eventually got to Napier at 7pm and stopped at The Thirsty Whale for a drink and dinner.