Today was a very long day!
We woke just after 6am and just before 7am we said goodbye to Jason and drove to the car ferry. Last check in was 8am and the sailing was 9am. There were quite some queues along the seafront but once we were on the motorway the traffic speeded up.
We got to the check-in with 10 mins to spare so what would (non-rush hour) be a 20min drive took just about 1 hour. Then we were queued in our ‘holding’ pens for a while but that was ok because we’d bought a paper and a coffee at a petrol station. ‘Our’ ferry, ‘Kaitaki’, previously plied its trade in the Irish Sea and the English Channel!
Once on board we went up to the Observation Deck to watch us depart Wellington. It was at this stage that I (literally) started to get cold feet about our trip south – it was cold and I had packed in Hawke’s Bay weather thinking that it can’t be that cold down south can it(?) so I didn’t have many warm clothes with me! Doh! 😳
Below is the route we took from Wellington to Picton.
This picture is as we’re leaving port. The Westpac Stadium can be seen behind the boats.
After passing Wellington airport we went below to get warm but went up again when we got to the South Island. Here it is, looking east!
Looking NW with the North Island in the background.
It was a bit cloudy and a little wet. 🙄 Along the route were some old whaling stations.
We got to Picton at midday and drove off the ferry about 12:30pm towards Blenheim on SH1 where we got some petrol and then drove on towards Kaikoura. There was some impressive coast we drove beside before stopping about 3pm for some late lunch at Kaikoura. Shortly after setting out again we drove past some luxury tree houses! We carried on south and near Christchurch Airport we bought more petrol and some coffee and sandwiches to eat later for dinner. A bit later we turned west towards Geraldine and in the dark and rain we eventually went past Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki, part of MacKenzie country before reaching Omarama. The name ‘MacKenzie’ comes from a sheep rustler who discovered the area years ago!
It was a real shame to drive past the beautiful scenery in the dark! It was a very long day’s driving and very tiring and we couldn’t wait to finally arrive in Omarama and relax. But…..
We had arranged with GlideOmarama to stay in one of the on-site chalets and they would leave instructions on their club door. So we got there in the dark about 9:30pm and with a torch we searched around all their building (it has quite a few doors) but couldn’t see any instructions. Luckily we’d got a contact number to ring. The upshot was that they had forgotten about us but as it happened our contact was at that very minute about to arrive nearby for another reason! We found her but she hadn’t got keys on her and would have to go home so we decided it would be simpler to stay in the neighbouring hotel which was the same price anyway!
We checked in to the hotel, had a glass of wine then ate our dinner (sandwich) and turned on the heater in the room (did I mention it was cold?!).