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