Wellington…..

Wellington…..

Today we wandered around Wellington town, it is a nice town, reminds us of a smaller London or Washington, D.C. It was a relaxed wander as it gave us time to post the California guide book, road atlas and other bits and pieces back home. Helps lighten the load.

Oct 31, 2012 12:17 PM
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We had lunch at a restaurant called Auntie Mena’s, it is a vegan restaurant, Sangeet had ‘fried kue tiaw’ (stir fried rice noodles with bean sprouts, mushroom, tofu and vegetables) I had ‘lamb’ curry, Sangeet’s dish tasted very good, I did not enjoy mine….think we have been spoilt by much better restaurants serving better tasting mock meats though the service was excellent and the restaurant had a great energy.

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We also popped into a organic wholefoods shop
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Our ferry left at 13:30, the ferry company recommend you check in an hour before. At the checking terminal which you drive alongside they ask for your surname and forename, pretty straight forward, if you have an electronic ticket there is no need to print it. At check in they confirm your name and give you the boarding pass, a plastic stick, one for the car and one for each passenger, before boarding you hand the boarding pass (plastic stick) to the attendant. A good way of recycling. As soon as we drove passed the check in booth, Nolan was waiting there so he jumped in.

The ferry is equipped with a restaurant, not much choice for vegetarians, a small ‘cinema,’ outside viewing decks, it also offers some ensuite suites for having a sleep or just for your own privacy. Today we were fortunate with a gentle cruise once you enter the South Island (Cook Straits) the views are amazing. The mountains look stunning and so green, such a fantastic, contrast to the north island (which is also impressive.)

Oct 31, 2012 3:49 PM
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Once we docked at Picton, we headed to the city centre,the shops were closing, we walked around the dock area. It was very peaceful and quiet. As it was around 6pm we decided to head to Kaikoura (it was also getting cold, we had to wear our fleeces.)

Oct 31, 2012 5:23 PM
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The drive was amazing, reminded me of driving along the Pacific Coastal Highway in California. It takes about 1.5 hours from Picton to Kaikoura, about thirty minutes away from Kaikoura we saw seals along the coast and also near the road, we stopped the car and a seal was about ten yards from us and started coming towards us as we watched it from the car, an amazing sight, I got out of the car and walked towards the seal, it just turned around and jumped into the water! After a few minutes Sangeet and Nolan joined me on the rock edge, seeing so many seals in their natural habitat was fantastic.

Afterwards, we continued to Kaikoura, the last time we visited this town was in 2005, we remember it as a very quiet town. Since then there has been some development, a large supermarket has been built and the number of restaurants has grown. We drove to the YHA and enquired about room rates, they were reasonable at NZ$22 for YHA members, at the time we thought it was expensive! We enquired at local motels and even enquired about a two bedroom apartment the motels came out at NZ$110 and the apartment was NZ$200, we are now thinking the YHA is very well priced!

Instead of going to the YHA and booking the room, we decided to get some food!….we headed to a Chinese who could only offer us fries which are fried separately from meat and fish. We noticed an Indian restaurant on the way in (I know, this is going to cause me problems but I was hungry and this seemed like the only good option). Sangeet and I ordered began bharta mashed aubergine, Nolan ordered chicken curry. The waiter was Sikh, he said “because I cut my hair I cannot call myself a Sikh” so we chatted about Sikhi for a while. He gave us the wifi password, boy this was a fast connection, the fastest I have used in New Zealand. We uploaded 900 pictures in 30 minutes!! In New Zealand it has taken about 12 hours to upload 250 pictures. Will def go back and upload more pics and videos. The restaurant is called

Coriander
17 Beach Road
Kaikoura
Phone 03 319 6844
Lunch Monday-Sunday 11.30am-2.00pm
Dinner 7 Days from 5pm-10pm

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after a very chilly meal the waiter said try the motel next door he can do rooms for NZ$20, so we decided to have a look, the room shown to us could barely fit in the bed! it was cheap because the only thing offered was a mattress with no bedding. I went back to the restaurant to tell the waiter, he said please hold on, after a few minutes his friend arrived with blankets, even though the blankets were not that clean, it is amazing that here is a Sikh guy who does not know us, tries so hard to help us, he did not promise or say I will help you but does not deliver, he just tried his very best to help. Now that is what I call a Sikh!

We headed back to the YHA and booked the room.

Nov 1, 2012 10:27 AM
Nov 1, 2012 9:31 AM
Nov 1, 2012 9:31 AM

Ferry…..

Ferry…..

Today we are catching the ferry from Wellington to Picton, there are two companies:

Interislander
Cook Strait – Wellington – North Island to Picton – South Island

Interislander’s three ferries – the Arahura, Aratere and the Kaitaki, offer a convenient, regular daily rail and commercial freight, car and passenger service crossing Cook Strait – a 30 kilometre stretch of water separating Wellington on the North Island and Picton on the South Island.

The 92 km, three hour journey between Wellington and Picton is one of New Zealand’s most iconic tourist experiences, and one of the most spectacular cruises in the world.

Interislander ferries offer a range of on board facilities for you to enjoy as you view of some of New Zealand’s most unique scenery. Enjoy a movie, a drink in the bar and anything from a snack to a three course meal. A nursery, comfortable passenger areas and lounges with reclining seats with head rests, plenty of open deck space, children’s play area and an Information Centre.

Crossing time is 3 hours for all ferries.

Bluebridge
Cook Strait – Wellington – North Island to Picton – South Island

Bluebridge regular scheduled daily freight, car and passenger ferry service between Wellington and Picton, crossing Cook Strait – a 30 kilometre stretch of water separating the North Island and the South Island with a range of affordable fares.

The Bluebridge ferry service operates two 136 metre ‘Roll On/Roll Off’ ships each with four vehicle decks for 150 vehicles, 2 passenger decks for 400 passengers, using computerized navigation and ship stability equipment, to make crossing Cook Strait a safe and enjoyable experience.

Our onboard services provide our passengers with a taste of warm and friendly ‘Kiwi’ hospitality. The comfortable and relaxing lounge areas mean passengers can watch a free big screen movie or sit back, relax and enjoy the journey.

Crossing time is 3 hours for all ferries

We chose Bluebridge as it was slightly cheaper. When we checked the price on Sunday morning it was $271.00 for one car and two passengers, Monday night the price had dropped to $221.00 perhaps because it was mid week or just not popular.

Long goodbye…..

Long goodbye…..

This morning we said goodbye to Manjot and Kulyjot as they rushed off to school.

Puaji, paji and phenji were home, it was nice that we got to catch up with paji and phenji. Puaji and Phenji made lunch which we all ate together. After lunch paji went to work.

Indian goodbyes last some time, in our case about 45 minutes. It was sad to say bye, we have enjoyed staying here so much, feels so relaxed and like home. It was fantastic to see everybody again. When we left Puaji and Phenji packed a lot of fruit and various soft drinks. There are some Indian traditions I question, this one I do not. It is such an amazing tradition….somebody stays at your house, you feed them, accommodate them, when it is time for them to leave you pack so much food they are unable to carry it and send them on their way!!

We arranged to pick up Nolan around 2 pm but got to the hostel at about 2:45pm where Nolan was waiting in his chilled out way. We then went to get the car tyre seen to. The garage was so good, they said that the paperwork needed was too much so they just repaired the puncture for free!

We set off to Wellington taking highway 5 to Taupo then 1 to Wellington, on the way we stopped at Huka Falls, powerful and very amazing falls.

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We then stopped at lake Taupo, this lake is huge. The views were stunning with snow capped mountains behind the lake.

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The drive to wellington is around 5 to 6 hours, with taking breaks it took about 7 hours. Towards the end of the journey, we were driving in the dark so played 21 questions to keep ourselves occupied and awake which was very entertaining and made us chuckle.

We stopped for dinner at a Chinese restaurant in Bull, called Hungry Bull, that served fish and chips, burgers, bacon and sausage fry up as well as Chinese food! They also sold lollipops, various ice lollies and pastries, as soon as we entered, the restaurant looked dodgy…….the food was amazing! Just goes to show don’t judge a book by its cover!

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Once we arrived in Wellington we went to the YHA but as we arrived there at 11:20pm they would not check us in. Tthey said as we had not booked in advance they could not check us in, if we got there by 11pm they would have checked us in….suppose rules are rules. They suggested we try Nomads which had rooms. We got a double room with ensuite. The room was very clean and had a television (in a hostel room!?!?)

Nomads
118 Wakefield Street
Wellington 6011
New Zealand
T: +64 4 978 7800
E: [email protected]
Skype: nomadscapital

Oct 31, 2012 10:00 AM
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My thoughts on the Cook Islands…..

My thoughts on the Cook Islands…..

Takes me a while to process my thoughts, must be old age!

The Cook Islands is nice but just not for me. Perfect if you want a hosteling or WWOOFing holidays, just when it comes to these locations you really need to spend good money and stay in luxury. Whilst there are a few luxury hotels they are just not my standard of ultimate luxury. The small things like waiters cycling around as not to make a noise and disturb you. It has to be ultra clean and everything in working order and of course a over water bungalow. Perhaps even your meals delivered by boat.

This is just me and having experienced this luxury in French Polynesia, nothing else really compares unless you are staying on Necker Island but there you are spending $54,000 a night and have everything at your disposal.

Sorry probably makes me sound like a snob or a *^%%{}{] take your pick! I do believe when we have worked hard for our money we can sometimes splash out on the finer things.

French Polynesia:
2005
2005
2005
2005

Relaxing with Puaji…..

Relaxing with Puaji…..

Fantastic views from the house

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Today we were home with Puaji. She is an amazing lady, she is in her late seventies, very active and very up to date with technology and world affairs. The other day she was telling ME what the current exchange rates were!

Paji was home before going to his clinic and it was nice to have a quick catch up over a cup of tea.

Manjot was home after school, she chatted with us for some time before studying for her exams. It was nice and good of her to take time out whilst she is studying for important exams. She has achieved so much!

I fancied a wonder around town, on the way I checked the car tyre pressure and noticed a slow puncture. As soon as I arrived home I called Jucy who said take it to Firestone and it will be sorted, there are no fees for us to pay…nice!

In the evening we met phenji and Kulyjot who arrived with paji. It was fantastic catching up, the last time we met was seven years ago. I asked Kulyjot if he wanted to play hockey on the pitch (which has been built in the huge back garden), he agreed,so paji, Kulyjot and I were playing, I got a quick lesson from Kulyjot, later Manjot and Sangeet joined us.

This is in the back garden

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Hockey pitch

Fully lit for night play

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After dinner we had a video Skype call with Karanjot, she is studying medicine in Auckland.

We did not go out for any sightseeing, spending time with Puaji and later with everybody else has been excellent. It is great to see the children make awesome achievements in their studies and hobbies.

In the evening Kulyjot and Manjot played the guitar they were excellent and played to a high level.

Sun set from the house

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