Chronicle of a voyage around the world

Stopover on the other side of the world… New Zealand (Part 2)

Published on 01 august 2016 at 0h00

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Discovering South island…

With the boat well-sheltered on the hard, we have become land-lubbers again. Backpacks, sleeping bags, tents, gas stove, water bottles, headlamps… Late December, we set off on State Highway One, which runs from north to south of both islands of New Zealand. The V8 motor of our secondhand 4x4 purred along smoothly: if you fed it 18 liters of gas every 100 km, it pushed you along nicely! With our Interislander ferry tickets in hand, we wandered around the downtown area of Wellington, New Zealand‘s capital. It is one of the windiest cities on Earth, thanks to its location in the Cook Straits, an often stormy area which separates North Island from South. At night the sky was filling with big dark clouds, pushed along by a rising wind. The crossing, which normally takes a little over 3 hours, took five! The ferry had to fight against the gale which came up just before we set off. We disembarked, tired, around 5 in the morning at Picton, a small town sheltered from the sea by a deep fjord, Queen Charlotte Sound. The gusts were shrieking at 40 or 50 knots, with torrential rain hammering on the roof of the Land Rover when we parked up on a small headland on the road to Havelock. Wow! At daybreak the storm was dispersing, but the overnight rain had transformed the streams into torrents. Trees uprooted, roads flooded and landslides. Later on, the first rays of sun reappeared over Blenheim, the wine capital of New Zealand.
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