Traveler's Log Saturday November 26, 2016
Grand Mercure Monaco Hotel
Nelson Saturday Market
Brancott Estate Wine Tasting
Interisalnder Ferry Picton to Wellington
Wellington, the Capital
Good morning kiddies-5:30 wake up call, 6:30 breakfast, 7:30 bus. We never stop...Today we wake to pouring rain in Nelson. We dash to the main building for a lovely breakfast buffet at the Grand Mercure Monaco Hotel. We wait in the tunnel to get on the bus. Today we say goodbye to Patrick, who has been our South Island driver and hello to Craig who will be with us for the remainder of our journey.
Our first stop is the Nelson Market, a farmer's market held every Saturday. Jay and I decide to pick up lunch fixings for our island crossing later in the day. Today we leave the South Island for the North Island via the ferry across the Cook Strait.
But first, the rainy farmer's market. Most of the crew lasts only a few minutes. Jay, me, Florence and Mike hang out a little longer before Erica rounds us up.
Before she whisked us away, Jay and I tried an oliebol, an apple fritter. It rocked.
Back on the bus, dripping wet...Erica gives us a crash course in Rugby-how it's played, basic rules and the Haka.
We're leaving Nelson for Marlborough province. Home to some pretty awesome vineyards.
In fact, we're heading to one for a wine tasting, at 10 a.m.. Oh boy!
We arrive at Brancott Estate. We are scheduled for a wine tasting, accompanied by a variety of New Zealand cheeses. All the wines were good but the late harvest sauvignon was amazing. It had a very rich honey flavor.
The estate also has a falcon rescue program.
The wine was brilliant and the estate was gorgeous and well tended.
On to Picton!
Erica continues our education about the geology of New Zealand, various birds that made their way to the islands and the lack of animals (until they were introduced.)
Picton is bright and sunny and bustling. We have some time to walk around before the Interislander Ferry departs so Jay and I stroll around the harbor. In fact, we're not even sure if the ferry will make the crossing because of the 30 mile per hour wind gusts. But we'll leave that to the Captain and to Erica to find us lodging if we don't cross to Wellington.
The Ferry is HUGE!
The sights from the top deck are awe inspiring.
I hear Jimmy Buffett singing in my head "There's this one particular harbor..."
The crossing takes about 3 hours and Jay and I stay topside for the duration, without sunscreen-BIG MISTAKE! Totally sunburned and windburned.
The trip is really windy and rough around Picton and past most of the Islands but once we reach the Cook Strait, the water is calm until we approach Wellington and the white caps pick up again. Too weird.
We're off the ferry and making our way to the James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor.
Jay found out that there is a Craft Beer Capital Trail in Wellington and we're on it!
Our first stop is D4 but they are closed for earthquake inspection. So we check out Bin 44, then on to the Malthouse. With many Wellington sights in between.
We're sunburned, windburned and exhausted...remember we've been up since 5:30 a.m. so sleep is long overdue. To bed fools!
We need our rest for the All Blacks Rugby Match against arch-rivals France on Sunday morning. Beer drinking at 9 a.m.. It's sort of like cereal-Oatmeal Stout, right?
Welcome to hilly, windy Welly.
More pictures from our journey from Nelson to Wellington: https://photosbynanci.smugmug.com/New-Zealand-2016/Wellington-Saturday
Next up Sunday morning Pub for The All Blacks v. France, Te Papa Museum, Draft Beer Trail
Day 1 and 2-Travel Days to New Zealand
Day 3 Queenstown
Day 4 Milford Sound
Day 5 Queenstown, Free Day
Day 6 Fox Glacier
Day 7 Hokitika, Punakaiki
Day 10 Wellington
Day 11 Wellington
Day 12 Rotorua
Day 13 Rotorua
Day 14 Auckland
Day 15 Auckland and departure