It was a short drive from Plimmerton to Wellington and we left Friday morning the 11th Jan to arrive at the Bluebridge Ferry Office about 1030 when it opened for the 1330 ferry crossing. We had a couple of hours to fill in before we had to report and so we went on the hour long Parliament Tour. It took in all three buildings, the Beehive, Parliament Building and the Parliament Library. The later two buildings had the most impressive architecture and were much more interesting. The Parliament Building is really only half constructed because they were short of money after the 1st world war and the southern wing was not built. The main steps were meant to be central but are now at one end of the building. The Beehive was constructed instead and I think that’s a real shame. The Beehive apart from looking interesting is not a very practical building and I think not really suitable for its job. For instance the main function room bends round the building and if you’re seated at one end you can’t see the other end. By necessity the lifts, stairs etc all have to be in the centre of the building. Our group (all Kiwis) went down to the foundations of the Parliament Building. The concrete foundations have been sawn through and flexible mountings fitted so that the whole building is somewhat isolated from ground movement during an earthquake
Lined up waiting to board the ferry.
After Thursdays extreme wind we were expecting a rough crossing but the Cook Strait was calm and the crossing uneventful. I was expecting to write the last blog during the crossing but no matter how hard I tried I was unable to connect to the free Wi-Fi. It was frustrating to say the least , and so I approached a young (30s) couple and asked for their help. He was extremely knowledgeable but was unable to connect me either and was experiencing the same problem himself. We were seated right at the front of the cabin and would have had an excellent view over the bow except that the windows were very difficult to see through being covered in grime. We gave up in the end and ventured outside to join the other intrepid adventurers and admire the sights.
Travelling up Tory Channel. Nearly there.
It was a short drive to Blenheim where we parked up at the racecourse. An excellent stopover with a loo, a washing machine and a black water dump station. Saturday was washing day and we got it all dry in the afternoon. No ironing though even though we do have an iron and board with us. This could become a habit. We stayed here 3 nights and during the days we visited Sir Peter Jackson and Weta Workshops display of world war 1 and 2 aircraft and memorabilia. Sir Peter employs a woman full time to source his memorabilia. The $35.00 entry fee is well worth it. It was far more than I was expecting.
The Wairau Lagoon walk and bird sanctuary we thought was also worth a look and so off we went. As you can see to get to the lagoon is a very long walk over the salt marsh. The sun was beating down unmercifully so we decided to walk for 1/2 an hour and if we saw anything interesting to continue the 3 hour trek. The sweat was pouring down when we reached our 1/2 hour and so we decided to return. Another time maybe when it’s not so hot. There are meant to be just under 100 bird species that have been seen at the lagoon. Instead we drove round to the Opawa River Mouth. That’s the river that flows through Blenheim. We had a good explore during the rest of the time and even a swim in the very good Blenheim Pools. I found Blenheim to be a confusing place to drive through and was pleased we had our GPS.
Monday we drove down country towards Kaikoura and got as far as Ward Beach. Another excellent stop except for the wind from the South East that came rocketing in and shook the caravan around. We managed through the night and in the morning the wind had calmed down to a gale. It was an eiree place and we had no internet, TV, or cell phone coverage. Almost got a teenage phobia. The Kaikoura earthquake had risen the seabed. The rocks were white where the Bull Kelp had been attached and was now gone. There were large periwinkle shells,I think you call them, on the beach and the place had an aura of desertion about it. At least that’s how I felt. Bird life, about 6 red billed gulls, 2 pied shags, 3 banded dotterels and 1 reef heron. There was a notice on the way in. No Collection of Kelp or Shellfish. I think it’s going to be many years before normality returns. It’s definitely a place we would visit again especally if the wind is coming from a Wessterly direction.We found it to be wild, rugged,and beautiful.
Rocks that once had Bull Kelp attached.
We spent two nights here before heading further south to Kekerengu about 68km from Blenheim, half way to Kaikoura. A lovely spot right by the sea, a gentle wind and the waves crashing softly onto the beach. We will be here for a few days. There is Wi- Fi at the cafe but it’s a little intermittant. We had it yesterday, none today and maybe tomorrow.
Our spot at Kekerengu. Coffee a short walk along the beach front. Ahhh