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Crossing the Cook Strait

Monday 19th October 2015

sunny 18 °C

Today is the day when we will be leaving North Island for the South. Fortunately the weather had improved overnight and the wind which was battering us yesterday had gone. We were catching the Interislander Ferry but not until 3:30pm so we had the whole morning to do more exploring of Wellington. As I hadn't been to the Te Papa museum yesterday we both went back there once we had checked out of our room. The huge figures representing some of the people involved in the Gallipoli campaign of World War 1, were amazingly lifelike and incredibly well crafted.

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I started off reading a lot of the material but after about an hour or so I was starting to feel a little jaded about the waste of life. I got no sense of what they were really fighting about and the idea that it is better to die nobly than to surrender doesn't make sense to me. It just sounds like the rhetoric used by leaders to turn ordinary people into cannon fodder. Don't get me wrong, the people (mainly men) that died on both sides were incredibly brave but I can't help but think that if foot soldiers refused to fight then we couldn't have wars.

I decided that I had seen enough so we went and had a look at the view of the harbour from the top of the building

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and then we went and had coffee. I was also quite keen to go on the Wellington Cable Car, which we could have gone on when we were on our tour yesterday, but we opted out because I thought misguidedly that it was too windy. Our guide Simon must have thought I had gone mad because it turned out it wasn't a cable car in the ski resort sense but in reality a funicular railway, so wouldn't have been affected by the wind at all. It was good fun going up, particularly through a couple of tunnels that had psychedelic flashing lights.

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When we got to the top we went and had a look at the Cable Car Museum and we both bought wooly hats in preparation for the potentially colder weather in the south. With an eye to the time we then needed to go back down and make the 15 minute walk back to our hotel to pick up our luggage. The apartments were on the 4th floor so we were a bit concerned when we got there to find that the lift was being serviced. We walked all the way up and with the offer of help from staff prepared ourselves for carrying all our bags down the flights of stairs, but fortunately by the time we got to the stairs we could see that the lift was repaired so we were able to take the easy route down.

We had booked a taxi to take us the couple of miles or so to the ferry terminal and once there we checked in our large luggage and had a drink while we waited the half an hour until boarding. We paid a fixed amount to upgrade so that we could have wifi access (which I didn't use because it was making me feel queasy) and food and drink in the premium lounge. This cost us $90 for the two of us so was worth it just for the meal. We found seats at the front of the ship so we had good views of Wellington harbour as we departed. We were able to go outside on deck if we wanted to take photographs.

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By the time we had got clear from the North island we were about a third of the way through our journey so we then went and had something to eat. By the time we returned to the main lounge we were surprised that we were already starting to come into Queen Charlotte Sound passing many of the islands and bays that are characteristic of the area. It was a stunning sight and very different to the scenery in the north.

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Once we arrived and got off the ferry and collected our bags, a woman from our accommodation had arrived to pick us up. She told us that we had been upgraded to an apartment at another building (one we had rejected on booking because we were concerned about the stairs and the noise). She reassured us that there was a lift so getting our bags up wouldn't be a problem, and she hoped we would like the view. When we got inside we were delighted. Not only was it very luxurious but it had a large balcony with amazing views of the harbour and the Sound beyond.

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We were indeed happy and settled down to a relaxing evening, watching the sunlight fade over the bay.

Posted by Gill's Travels 15:29 Archived in New Zealand Tagged new_zealand picton wellington

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