Toddies And Toadstools

Today’s main event was the ferry ride over from Wellington to Picton. I was up at the crack of sparrows again to catch the ferry as the last check in was 8am on the other side of town. I had managed to find a place to tuck the bike away but it took some careful maneuvering between two cars to get it out again. 

My history with boats is not good, I tend to avoid them where possible. Tricky, when New Zealand is such a coastal and fishing based country. I’m guaranteed to see at least 1 boat being pulled behind a car every day of my ride. And frustratingly, I quite like the idea of cruising around on boat, but it’s just not possible. Luckily, the ferry crossing was very flat and the waves that did cause the boat to list were infrequent and small.

I spent much of the time in the cool, air conditioned lounge area, the smell of fresh coffee disguising the diesel and sea spray smell. My phone was running out of battery, after writing the last blog post, and the charger I had brought, didn’t fit the NZ sockets. I wandered around trying to find someone with a spare charger I could borrow and got chatting with an enthusiastic old lady called Rose. She had a charger I could use so as we sat waiting for technology to fill up, she told me about her life and trip so far.

Turns out she is a keen photographer, specialising in spotting rare orchids and mushrooms. She was heading south to take a group of other nature lovers out to take photos of fungus… As you do… She was also investigating her lineage back as far as biblical times. She claimed to have found links to the disciples and had travelled to Jerusalem to verify these… It was certainly an interesting story, whether fictitious or not.

Getting off the boat in Picton is a strange experience; you have just left a massive city, the capital of NZ with huge corporations sky scrapers, busy streets and jazzy bars and cafes. Now you are presented with a small frontier town, shoe-horned between the peaks of the mountains making up the Bay Of Many Coves. There can only be 1000 houses here, a few of them being motels, their garish signs attempting to capture some passing trade.

After that, there is pretty much nothing till Nelson, not that that’s a bad thing. Nothing in terms of attractions means empty roads. They twist widely through the mountains and give some really good views down to the watery valley below. I haven’t been stopping to take many photos just because I’ve been having such a good time on the bike. It’s a dream carving these roads up.

I ended up in a place called Westport at a really nice YHA hostel. I met a loud Irish woman who had also quit her job to go travelling. We were both a bit snotty from the hostelling lifestyle so she made us both hot toddies which I’m not sure helped.