Myself and young Mr. Jack Ballinger, aged 5 months
After my disappointment in Kaikoura with the weather I managed to get a second free ride up with the Stray bus to the tiny coastal town of Picton for the ferry. It was still pouring with rain, so I don't think the whale watchers would have been out, but our ferry had no trouble ploughing across the Cook Straight to the North Island. The crossing took four hours, and typically the Stray passengers lodged in the bar for the duration. At the other side, I said goodbye to the rest of them, as they were hostelling overnight and then driving up to Auckland today. I took the free bus into the city and met my old friend Edd who I was staying with for my time in Wellington. Edd, Michelle and baby Jack emigrated here just after Christmas and I'd obviously not seen them since my leaving night in Edinburgh last October (I'd not seen Jack ever, of course).
After a hearty breakfast I caught a lift into the city with Meesh the next morning. We had a quick walk around, looking at the sights of the city before meeting Edd for lunch. Young Jack, who's five months old, was asleep by this time - although a bagpipe parade for Wellington Uni graduation soon put a stop to that. We ate in a food court and then split for the afternoon as Edd had to get back to work and Meesh and the baby had baby-stuff to do. I went for a walk, and then up a funicular railway to the top of one of the major hills overlooking the city. Wellington has a reputation for being windy, but the weather was really mild, so I walked around the gardens for a bit taking pictures before I went to the Museum of Wellington, the City and the Sea. Or rather I tried to, as I was politely informed the museum was closed for renovation. So I went to a pub and had a pint before I was due to meet Edd and go back to his house.
Tomorrow it's off on the road again, up North on a 6-hour bus journey to the alpine town of Taupo. I'll be there for two nights, before it's back to Edd's sofa for a couple of days and the end of my trip...