We got up early in the morning to a chilly rain. It would have been nice to sleep in a bit, but we wanted to make sure we could make our Interislander Ferry on time, and thankfully, we did just that. I actually drove our van onto the ferryboat, the Kaitaki. She is the biggest one in the Interislander fleet, and the biggest ferry in New Zealand! She was fancy too, especially for a ferryboat.
As you can see below, they pack the cars in the ferry like SARDINES! It was a tight squeeze and everyone had to be really careful when getting out of their vehicles. Once parked, you have to lock and leave the car and go upstairs to the seating areas and lounges.
Becky and I got some comfy seats for our 3 hour tour to the South Island. Kinda sounds like Gilligan’s Island, huh? Ok, moving on… I got some coffee (which was quite good!) and I sat down to journal for a while. When I tired of writing, I headed over to the ship’s shop (that sounds funny too, doesn’t it?!? Ship shop?!? Ha ha!) to check out their wares. Y’all, I got the NEATEST bag from that shop. It’s called Zip It. The whole entire bag is a ZIPPER. You can unzip it into this pile of zipper, or zip it into a purse! I took it out of the box and zipped it together. The two women sitting diagonally from me were enthralled and asked me to take it apart and put it togeter again. I happily complied. Check out this video I found, as it shows exactly how it works. My bag is lavender and pink and a little bigger than the one shown in the video. I used it a lot during the rest of the trip because, not only was it compact, it was satchel-like, leaving my hands free. It was also big enough to hold my camera, video camera, wallet and keys. I
Once in Nelson, we made good use of the I-Site there. I-Sites are information centers that are all over New Zealand. They cater to all tourists needs for info and are very popular. We used Nelson’s I-Site to make a reservation for a horseback riding expedition the next morning at 9am in Richmond. Yahoo! I LOVE horseback riding and horsies. I also used the I-Site to email David. Our emails back and forth to one another were increasingly positive and promising, and I was plenty thankful. Anywho, once we got all info’d out from the I-Site, we headed out to explore Nelson. It was a cute town with all sorts of shops and restaurants, one of which we stopped at to have a nice lunch outside. It was pleasant, especially with the violin music coming from one of the talented, but broke (I guess?) musicians on the corner.
After our late lunch, we went looking for the other non-existent yarn shop that we were told surely sold fabulous yarns. The first one was a dud, and this second one was closed and didn’t look like it sold yarn at all! Sheesh. When are we gonna find us some good wool yarn?!?!? Enough of Nelson, time to get out of the city and head back out to the country. Our aim was to camp at a DOC (Department of Conservation) campground in the Nelson Lakes region. We got down to Nelson lakes, but had a heck of a time trying to find the campground. In the process, we drove on a narrow, windy road that turned into dirt road and ultimately took us to to the top of a mountain. Once at the top, we were rewarded with an amazing view of Lake Rotoiti!
…still no campground though. Shoot. Ok, back down the mountain we went. For fear of annihilating our brakes, I had to put our little van into stupid-low, first gear. That’s how steep it was! After getting back to the main road, we found the Ranger Station place, now closed, but were able to get more info to find our campground of choice. Excellent! Off we went again and we found it! For a DOC campground, this one happened to be top-notch. It had real working potties, hot showers, a kitchen/gathering room, and even a couple washers and dryers. Fancy shmancy for $6! The lake and mountains there were shrouded in clouds but it was still super pretty. Check it:
Becky and I hung out on this gorgeous pebble beach for quite some time, just taking in all the awesomeness that surrounded us. We journaled until it got dark.
When we walked back to the van, I showed Becky a sign I saw on the edge of the woods that indicated that their might be Kiwi birds around. These, as you may be aware, are the national bird of NZ. What you may not know is that they are very elusive and very nocturnal. Hmmmmmmmm….. NIGHT HIKE!!!!! We grabbed our headlamps, locked up the van, and headed to one of the trail heads near the lake. This, my friends, was MY first night hike ever! I was excited! We really wanted to spy a Kiwi. I’ll tell you what though…it was PITCH BLACK in them thar woods and oddly enough, absolutely silent. Shhhhh…..we’re huntin’ Kiwis! But heck, the only sounds we heard were the occasional burbling of a small stream or two that we crossed. That was it. Not even a stick or a leaf dropped in those woods. Funky. We gave up huntin’ those wascally Kiwis and made our way back to camp. We were beat and needed to get up early to head back to Richmond for our horseback riding adventure!!!