Sunday, September 7, 2014

Sunday: Picton -> Wellington

I had a relaxing morning in Picton, starting with a rare breakfast in a restaurant, then a drive to a nearby lookout for a nice view of Queen Charlotte Sound.

Maori carving (totem pole?) at the lookout

I checked out of the hotel and returned my rental car a bit early, as I was unclear on the logistics. There are two different ferry terminals for the two companies that ply the Cook Strait, and my ferry was leaving from a different ferry terminal than where the rental car return was. I wound up killing an hour at the InterIsland terminal (the nicer one, with a cafe and a good view of the harbour) before catching the free shuttle to the Bluebridge terminal, only to find out that my ferry was running late. I checked my large suitcase in, and spent another hour or so reading (and there was wifi!).

Had an uneventful sailing across the strait. The ship wasn't too crowded, but the inside areas were too warm, and the outside areas were chilly. It's not a very beautiful ship, but the inside facilities were decent.

We arrived in Wellington after dark, around 7pm. I had scoped out the bus routes a bit, and after a short walk to the bus station found the platform for the two buses I knew would run close to my hotel. There was an electronic display showing when they would arrive; the next one wasn't coming for another 49 minutes. So I did the unthinkable: I asked someone for help! A young woman told me another bus would go fairly close to my hotel and I figured out where to get off on its route, and it was only 6 minutes away. I ended up with a nice 5-block walk down Cuba street, through the Cuba St pedestrian mall, which was a great introduction to Wellington. It's a very cool, vibrant neighbourhood, and felt to me a little like Queen St West in Toronto.

Bucket fountain on Cuba St. The buckets tip as they fill,
adding water to lower buckets and causing lots of fun splashing.

My hotel is very nice, and the room small but otherwise excellent. After settling in I walked a block down Cuba for dinner, then got to bed early after reading a bit. I didn't move very far today compared to my recent travels (only 103 km), but it still took most of the day and left me pretty tired!

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