We did manage a bit of a walk by the lovely lake – Moana-nui? Then it was back on the road, heading south. We needed to find a Post Shop, so stopped in Taupo. We topped up our road user charges as we were about to run out, and sent off our application to the NZMCA to use their mail drop service. Then with a bit of browsing in the shops, it was nearly mid-day by the time we hit the highway again. The 25 kmph corners south around the lake were interesting, especially for SH1. The weather turned wetter, and we had an interesting time following Neville’s instructions along SH59 to Fielding. Somehow we need to educate Nev that we are a bit bigger. He was happily leading us up hill and down dale, until he announced without warning that we needed to make a u-turn. Even if we’d wanted to, it would have been impossible to turn around. And we noticed he thought we were out in the middle of the paddocks. So we ignored him, and eventually he settled down. Eventually the road straightened out, and did lead to Fielding and Wyn’s sister Susan. It was good to catch up with her, and show her Suzi – she liked the name.
It was a case of back-tracking to Marton, to visit Wyn’s brother Ian. He has a great driveway, heaps of room for a Suzi. We had a lovely tea and catch-up, and retired for the night. With a few more cups of tea in the morning (Saturday) it was nearly mid-day before we headed off, to Wellington. We had a good run south, but it really is an awful main highway into a city the size of Wellington. Tourists must think that they’ve left the motorway/highway, and ended up on a suburban road. We made for the Te Papa carpark, where the sign now says that the eastern park is closed on Sunday mornings 2am -7am for setting up the market, and offending vehicles will be towed away. The booth attendant was a bit vague on the realities of that, so we needed a plan B.
Meantime, we popped across the road to the supermarket – this is a well-located car park 🙂 After late lunch we visited Te Papa – it was the first day of the exhibition of the colossal squid. She is a big limp of squid all right – and was very popular with visitors – there was a queue but a fast-moving one luckily. She was a silly squid it seemed. She clutched a fish that had been hooked and was hauled up 1500m with it, refusing to let go. The museum also had a short animated 3-D movie of the whole process – with the specs and everything. It was amazing. We had time for a visit to the nostalgia show/display – a bit revealing how much of the stuff we recognise. Back out in the carpark, we made the move to the closer park not used by the market. It was an operation getting in, and we ended up taking up two car parks, straddling a median strip which luckily coincided with our door.
Wyn’s son Leon called over and we went out for tea to a good cheap asian restaurant. It was good to catch up with Leon, and interesting to see Wellington on a Saturday night. The car park was OK, if a bit noisy – it being Saturday night. There was a bunch of marauding youths about 4am, but they seemed more interested in each other! We were up at 6am, and off for the ferry – good old Bluebridge again – they have good rates for motorhomers. We didn’t even have time for breakfast in the queue this time, before we were loaded on. It was a gorgeous morning in Wellington, sunny with no wind. After a cup of tea and the rest of breakfast inside, we headed out to find a spot on deck. We’d forgotten to grab our warm clothing, but managed without it, even as we headed out into the strait. There was almost no wind and no swell – our lucky day again. By the time we reached the sound, we were getting hot! So we passed the whole trip out on deck.
And so we were back on the South Island. On a lovely Sunday. I was keen to check out the lookout across town, so we headed over. That was a mistake, as the road was not suitable for a vehicle of our height. There were a few scrapes from overhanging branches. But it was a good viewpoint – next time we’ll have to walk up! Then it was south again, stlopping for lunch north of Kaikoura. The day clouded over as we went further, and it was a cool evening by the time we called in to Rangiora to visit my brother and sister-in-law Brian and Judy. It was nice catching up with them, and showing them our new home. We came on from there to Weedons, just south of Christchurch. This is a paddock owned by the NZMCA, for use by motorhomers – a nice quiet secure place to park up.
This Monday morning has been a bit of a clean-up and catch up morning. The rain has set in, and it will probably follow up south to Dunedin. It seems fitting.