Skip to content

A Journey to the North

After leaving Christchurch behind, we drove Lurch (Janelle’s rental RAV4) up to Picton and sadly returned her. As much as I’m your typical good, planet-hugging-liberal, anti-SUV type, after ten days of steep, single-lane mountain passes and winding, unsealed backroads, I have come to appreciate the RAV4 an awful lot. And I wasn’t even driving.

The next step was the ferry to Wellington, moving to North Island. Here’s a tip for all you ferry travellers crossing the Cook Straight: it’s a bumpy, rocking, sea-sickness inducing ferry ride. Don’t start it off in the fo’c’sle lounge with multiple coke-and-bourbons and pottles of fries.

Pottles are what fries come in when one is in NZ. The fo’c’sle is the part of the boat where the bar is. Educational, yes?

The Wellington downtown backpackers is in a sketchy area near the ferry and train station, and built in a huge old Art Deco hotel with tiled everything and a grubby film noir atmosphere. Though I was just there to sleep, not become embroiled into a tale of scandal, violence and intrigue.

Early, early the next morning, a train took us across North Island from Wellington to Auckland. Now, I don’t want to dis North Island, since I was just crossing by train. But after the jawdropping splendor of South Island, well, the scenery was nice, and pretty, and oh-so-lush, but it didn’t take my breath away like South Island did. It was just a twelve-hour train ride through some lovely, rolling farmland.

However, I’m now on Waiheke Island, a 30-minute ferry from Auckland. It’s a little volcanic island full of vineyards and artists workshops and little beaches and holiday homes, and it is quite gorgeous. What it doesn’t have is much internet, so I probably won’t be uploading any pics until I get back to Vancouver. Which, to be honest, as much as I love Van, I could happily spend another month or two here.