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Tuesday morning we were up bright and early, with the shuttle arriving to pick us up to go to the ferry terminal at about 7am. Early mornings are really not my thing, but I didn't complain too much! Got out of the house without too much drama, and got down to the ferry terminal, where we had agreed to meet Skyring. We waited around for a few minutes, I was assuming that if we all checked our luggage in together we would get all our luggage out together at the other end...unfortunately I was sadly mistaken!

Skyring arrived, and we checked our stuff in, just as boarding commenced, so we boarded the ship, with everyone following me, as I had assured everyone I was absolutely positive I knew where the good seats were. Three levels later, I was starting to doubt myself, but we finally found them, after a bit of laughing at me (well I was laughing too, so technically laughing *with* me!).

Everyone settled down, with the exception of MissMarkey, who left with her camera, and who we barely saw for the rest of the trip (although admitedly I was asleep for part of it), and chatted for a bit until the ship left. Various people left to take photos, but I've done that trip many, many times (I am so lucky to live here), so I stayed where I was and chatted/listened to the tourists across from us talk about their tour/tour food/dozed. Its really hard to find a comfortable position on those seats, so I kept waking up and falling asleep again :( Eventually I made it to the seat behind me, where Skyring and MissMarkey were *supposed* to be sitting, but had gone off adventuring, figuring I might be able to stretch out a bit, but no. The floor it was. Thanking the heavens for bringing my pillow, I got down on the floor, wondered how long it had been since it had been vacuumed, and started drifting off to the loud Australian whisper from across the aisle 'she's on the FLOOR' offence to the Aussies intended :-)

When I woke up we were in the Marlborough Sounds, and it had turned from a cloudy sky to a beautiful sunny day, very calm...actually thinking about it, that was the calmest sailing I've ever had, even in Cook Straight (notoriously rough) I'd barely felt any waves! I lay on the floor for a bit more, unsure of where we were in the Sounds, and thinking I might be able to fall asleep again, but Kirsty came and took my photo, and got me laughing, so I got up!

We docked soon after, and rushed down to collect our luggage, which despite my attempts to keep together, wasn't! Worth a try anyway :-) We then made our way to the hire car company, about 15 metres from the ferry terminal, where Skyring and K-j-h lined up to take possession of our two cars. I ran off to the loo, and then grabbed an apple out of my bag (I remember the most random details!).

Eventually we got our two cars, one was parked right outside, and the other a bit further along, and we divided up into cars. I chose to go with Skyring and MissMarkey, and we drove up to the supermarket, and got some food for lunch, then went back down to the waterfront to eat. It was a beautiful day, and so nice to sit in the sun (no wind!) and eat lunch, with our one knife (who got named Mack that day)!

hungry anyone?

Lunch time in Picton

Once we'd finished eating, we went to find the loo (rule one of road trips right!) and then headed off. We lost track of the other car so weren't sure if they had left Picton or not, but we kept driving and I texted Alkaline-kiwi...which was a bit pointless cos she had no money to reply!

So, we drove along, through the wineries, I got put in charge of music, and selected 'Fly My Pretties', which was nice and mellow, although a little repetitive (how had I not noticed this before?). Stopped every so often to take photos, especially once we got back on to the coast. I think our first stop was 'Half Moon Bay', where I released 'The Mermaid Chair' on a picnic table, and MissMarkey disappeared off to take photos!

'The Mermaid Chair'

Skyring with 'The Mermaid Chair'

stopping for seals

just look at the photo :p

Pete, cracking up :D

A bit further round we spotted some seals, so stopped to take more pictures. We had one seal put a bit of a show on for us...lots of fun with MissMarkey calling things out to it! I went along the road a bit where there was a concrete thing where I could stand, and took a video of a seal just going in to the water.

more seals

Seal on the rocks

seal spotting

seal spotting

A bit later Skyring and I looked up and there was MissMarkey just disappearing over the edge of path going down to the beach, so we went to see where she was going, and discovered her getting closer and closer to a seal - its no wonder she got such good photos :p

Eventually we kept going, and just before we hit Kaikoura I got a message from Kev saying they were in Kaikoura having a coffee. We pulled off the highway, and Wanda (the GPS unit) informed us that she was 'recalculating', in a VERY huffy voice! We drove up the main road, looking for their car, but didn't see it, so eventually kept on going towards Hanmer.

I'd been put in charge of music, and so far had played Fly My Pretties (good NZ stuff!), and a couple of mix cds, but once we got up into the mountains, I knew we had to listen to Lord of the Rings, so I handed MissMarkey the cd, and she put it on. Pure magic. Nothing like driving through the mountains, the sun setting, with amazing company, and a good soundtrack. One of the highlights of the week for me!

After stopping to take photos from a bridge (third time lucky again!) we hit Mouse Point Road (Me: 'why's it called that?' MissMarkey: *pointing* 'ooh look a mouse!' Me: *lol*), and turned towards Hanmer Springs.

What more could you want?

I really liked that bridge!

mmmmm, what more is there to say...

and darker

getting darker

View from 'the bridge' in one direction

A bit later we arrived in Hanmer, and after trying to remember the name of the backpackers, I texted Kev and asked him. Luckily he knew! It was up the main street, so we drove up looking for it, and arrived just after Kev and co.

They had already checked in, so we all went in to do the same, and got to meet the most fantastic hostel owner I've met! Edwin (from the Netherlands), had only owned the place for a few days then, and he was so enthusiastic, helpful, and friendly - I fully recommend Hanmer Backpackers if you are staying in Hanmer!

We got the tour, and then unpacked the cars, before heading to the pools (rhymes with cool :p). Absolute bliss! All we really wanted was about 5 or 6 books each to seal up in plastic bags and let free in the pool!!

After being asked nicely to get out (just after 9), we showered, dressedm, and went to the fish and chip shop across the road for some dinner. Neither MissMarkey or I were that hungry, so we got a scoop of kumara chips to share, which got confused somehow and we ended up with normal...slightly disappointing! But yummy nonetheless :D

We all got our orders, and walked back to the hostel, where we ate, and finished off the French champaigne. Yum!! Talked about using the internet, but it was getting too late, so we decided to do it in the morning. I crawled into bed sometime later :-) (the beds had GREAT duvets on them, really, really warm, which you need there!


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August 2011

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