Monday, 18 January 2016

NZ: Picton

I was ridiculously lucky and saw a whole entire 2 dolphins on the ferry crossing. I was so happy! However I did have to sit upstairs outside in the gale force winds to spot them. But the dedication paid off!! No photos I am afraid as they move pretty quickly.  However you can have photos of the views - it's very pretty!!

On the ferry I met a really nice older couple who said I could stay in their cabin with them if my hostel experience at Picton was as bad as the one I had had in Wellington - how nice!!!!  Luckily, the Picton hostel experience was the best one yet!!!

The hostel (Tombstone Backpackers, FYI) was AMAZING. First off it had 3 cats (who were really not into me, which is sad), a 'spoodle' dog who was lovely, a pool table, hot tub, ping pong, hairdryer (my hair was very happy at this) huge kitchen and free warm home made cheesy scones for breakfast. AMAZING.

"Stella" the dog

Next, it had some amazing people in it!!!!! Everyone was so friendly.  I spent the first evening playing pool and pingpong with 3 english guys (one of whom let me drive his car) and a dutch girl who offered me free dinner!!!!

The next day they left so I went for a long walk along the Snout Trail which was basically what I could see from the ferry, so wasn't actually that interesting but was nice enough.    I got a bit excited as I thought I saw a Kiwi and it was really tame and tried to eat a leaf from my hand until I screamed as its beak was a bit jabbier than I expected so then it ran away. Anyway turns out it was a Whaka and not a Kiwi. doh!

Snout Selfie

The Kiwi Whaka

Then, for the big reveal from the last post, I bought a car!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's HUGE, it's a mitsubishi legnum and it is a beast and it only cost me in english money £764.  Since buying it I realised it smells highly of oil and chugs more like a diesel and sometimes the ignition (which is a button I press!) doesn't work first time.  I am hoping none of these issues are serious and it'll get me round the South and North islands.  Insurance isn't compulsory in NZ but I decided to get some just in case and spent all afternoon researching, I have ended up with fully comp for a year with break down cover for £170. what a bargain!!!  I had a bit of a mare paying the girl - can only withdraw a limited amount each day from the cash machine so had to use 2 different cards in lots of amounts until I got as close as I could get, then my cards stopped working, then I realised I transferred the remainder to a random person as I got the account number wrong, urgh!!!!

That evening I went out to a bar in town called the Thirsty Pig to see the hotly tipped band that were playing (not much happens in Picton and pretty much the entire hostel went).  The band turned out to be an old man from Devon singing folk songs about 17 year old murderers.  It was fun!

The next day I went for another drive with a guy called Mark who has the most amazing job ever - he is a food designer for Sainsburys!!! Except not any more as he quit.  I had lots of interesting conversations with him about food production and how much goes into it all.  He also knows LOTS about eggs and potatoes.  I made myself a bit car sick as the roads are so windy.  We drove from Picton to Havelock, went to Pelorus Bridge which is in LOTR apparently, did a wee walk, drove a bit more, did a really rubbish walk (I think in NZ they signpost loads of walks with cool names even if it it just a path that leads to nowhere) then drove home. I dropped him off at his new hostel which was amazing - it's called Juggler's Rest and get this - they do juggling. and Poi. and all that sort of stuff.

The tourist information centre in Havelock is 'under the sea' themed. I think the above is a bit irresponsible really. 

A post box. 

Such clear water at Pelorus Bridge

Some hippie dude was making rocks stand up

Queen Charlotte Sounds

That evening I got another free dinner as John, one of the hostel people, had made too much pesto linguini so I got to finish his dinner too.  If everyone could keep giving me free dinner this entire trip then it would be my life made.

I was sad to leave the hostel and I had met some lovely people but they'd all left too so the following day I set off to Nelson - I had no plans to go to Nelson but I saw that someone on a facebook group wanted a lift there, so I thought 'I'll take him'.  Another person wanted a lift and before I knew it I had a completely full car - this led to me to discover yet another issue with the car, it has very low suspension and when you have a heavy load then it sounds like the exhaust has fallen off and is scraping along the ground......I stopped to have a look and another lady stopped to have a look too (people are SO nice here) and she thought it was just the low suspension and the tyres scraping along the top of the wheel arches and recommended I shifted the weights about, so the boys in the back did a bit of a shifty and the scrapes subsided a bit. Lesson learnt though - I will now no longer give lifts to 3 additional people and all their rucksacks.

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