Ferry through the Marlborough Sounds fom Picton to Wellington
12.03.2010 - 13.03.2010 10 °C
After breakfast Catherine & Thomas drove off to Nelson to catch their flight back to Christchurch while I went to the port at Picton to get the ferry to Wellington. They went to meet up with Aideen before flying back home. Unlike other ferries I had taken previously I had to check my luggage in; I was early and the ferry sailing was delayed by over half an hour so I had time on my hands. We eventually got away with the weather changing from the wind and rain of last night to calm with clouds and intermittent sunshine – just about warm enough to get out on deck to view the fantastic scenery of the Marlborough Sounds; the many islands and peninsulas were wove through provided me with some good camera shots. There was little habitation on the islands and remote parts of the peninsulas and the lush vegetation grew right down to the rocky shores. It was a three hour crossing; one hour going through the Sounds, one hour in open sea and an hour going through the inlet up to Wellington. The hotel was basic but I had a great view from my bedroom window of the Botanic Gardens the other side of the road. As I was browsing round the city centre shops the sky turned black and the wind got up – the rain started and before long it was steady and horizontal. I quickly sought shelter at the iSite centre and dashed from there to the Te Papa Museum, close to the harbour. Others had the same idea so it was quite busy there. Te Papa is an expansive museum with a modern design. As I had just over an hour before it was due to close I was advised to start at the fourth floor and see how I progress from there. I took the lift up and was amazed by the spaciousness; apart from a large cafe area this floor housed the whole historical influence of the Maori and European culture on New Zealand. There was also a separate exhibition on Pompeii; it was a well set-out museum with a colourful variety of exhibits, even a virtual 3D one. I had only finished looking round this floor when a member of staff came up to me and said they were closing in two minutes. I had a quick glance at the third floor before braving the storm outside and heading straight for a restaurant – a Thai meal and shelter! I heard later that there was a mini tornado in the bay and winds reached 130 km p/h with the temperature dropping 10 degrees in less than fifteen minutes.