Saturday, October 1, 2011

New Zealand Day 8 : Crossing over to South Island

Day 8 : 13 September 2011

We had already surveyed the road from our motel in Lower Hutt to the Interislander Ferry Terminal the night before, and the owner of the motel also showed us the shorter way to get to the terminal to avoid the morning traffic. So that morning, we left at about 6:30am, to catch 8:25am ferry.

We reached the terminal at 6:50am, and head straight to car park to return the rented car, as Avis' system is we will have to return the car in Wellington and we will pick another car at Picton. The system to return the car is simple, we just need to park the car, note the km on the meter in the contract given earlier, lock the car, and head straight to the ferry departure terminal to drop the key in the box provided.

The next step is to check in and drop the bag. We have made it a point not to buy much things in North Island because we wanted to avoid the hassle of bringing many luggage. So the only thing we brought on board the ferry was our knapsack. I booked the Kaitaki ferry 5 months earlier for NZD125 per pax including the Kaitaki Plus, but at the point when we changed our crossing date the other day, the system shows that the price now is NZD120 per pax without Kaitaki Plus. I didn't want to pay extra, so I just forget about Kaitaki Plus because it will cost another NZD45 per pax. But to our surprise, when we checked in, we were given Kaitaki Plus access, and were told that there's something wrong with the system earlier. In actual fact, our Kaitaki Plus were not removed.. yayy!! Kaitaki plus provided more comfortable seating, cooked breakfast, free internet, TV, magazines etc, so basically we will not feel boring throughout the 3 hour journey.

We were among the earliest to check in that morning, and had to wait quite a while before the boarding time at 7:40am. Gangway will only be opened at 7:40am, so we spent our time watching the news and reading whatever tourism materials provided at the terminal. Once we were in the ferry, breakfast is ready in Kaitaki Plus lounge. So while waiting for the ferry to depart, we just enjoyed our breakfast. There are many cafes in the ferry however, so even if you don't book Kaitaki Plus, it is easy to buy food around.

As we depart from the terminal at 8:25am, I went outside to enjoy the view of Wellington from the sea. The wind was blowing so strongly that we can't stay too long outside to admire the view.

I later left Mr D who decided to sleep in the Kaitaki Lounge, and went around to explore the Kaitaki Ship. I even went up to the sun deck at Deck 10, the wind is even stronger there, so it was cold basically.

New Zealand is very committed towards its tourism industry, we can even find an i-Site on board the ferry. There were many people there getting information and the person on duty helped them with all the booking and stuffs for their South Island trip.

Approaching Picton, the sea gets narrower, and we can now enjoy the view of the land from the sea at a better rate then when we depart from Wellington. The sea is so blue it creates contrast with the color of the hills around.

We reached Picton on time at about 11:35am. The weather was very good that day, so we could enjoy the scenery around Picton ferry terminal. After claiming our luggage, we head straight to Avis to collect our new car for South Island. We were given a Ford Focus this time for our South Island trip.

We later headed South, our stop for the night will be Christchurch. Our initial plan was to head to Kaikoura and overnight there. But since the break in incident, we spent extra night in Wellington so Kaikoura had to be cancelled. So sad, I really wanted to get into the whale watching cruise. Never saw whale in my life... I WANT!!

We wanted to still stop by at Kaikoura for a while, so we head straight to Kaikoura. The journey was smooth, Mr D said the Southern Island people drive faster that the Northern one.. hahaha. But that's true I think, I did see them drive faster on our way to Kaikoura.

Journey from Picton to Kaikoura is about 150km, it took about 2 hours from Picton to Kaikoura. It is a perfect place to break the journey between Picton to Christchurch. Kaikoura is located near the sea, so for those who love beach, this is a perfect place.

There are also 4 seal lookout points in Kaikoura, we dropped by at Ohau Point Seal Colony which is located before we reached Kaikoura town itself. There were a lot of seal lazying around, it looks like rat from the point. This fur seals is only found in the coasts of New Zealand and its sub-Antarctic islands. I was told that these seals will become aggressive during breeding season in November and December, at when people should avoid from getting closer to the seals.

Kaikoura is famous for its crayfish. The name Kaikoura itself means 'meals of crayfish' in Maori. Along the way, we weill see people selling fresh crayfish by the road side. I don't know how to handle crayfish, so I didn't agree when Mr D suggested that we bought live crayfish when we stopped at Cods & Crayfish located in the middle of Kaikoura town. Cods & Crayfish sells fresh fish, crayfish, paua and other seafood item. We bought some fresh fish, prawn as well as organic free range eggs there for our additional supply for South Island trip.

We decided to just find for cooked crayfish as we haven't had lunch yet. But to our dismay, it is passed lunch time so many restaurants did not sell cooked crayfish outside lunch time, and only sell other things like sandwiches. I noticed that the price of cooked crayfish is quite standard in the restaurants we visited i.e NZD45 per half crayfish and NZD90 for whole crayfish. Now that we can't find cooked crayfish, we decided to just skip our lunch.

We later continued our journey to Christchurch where we will stop for the night. One thing obvious, is the number of sheep we can see in South Island as compared to the North Island. There are a lot more sheep in South Island than the North.

Mr D decided to stop for coffee and loo break at Greta Valley. We decided to have our coffee at Greta Cafe & Bar which is located at Tavern Drive, just off the main road. Whenever coffee or tea is served in cafes in many parts of New Zealand, it will be accompanied by complimentary mini cookies. This time at Greta, the cookies tasted exactly like biskut suji.. wonder what they call it there.

It was already late in the evening by the time we reached Christchurch. We stayed at the same place we stayed when we first reached New Zealand a week earlier. This time, we were given a room with a king and a single bed. After performing our jama' prayer, I started to wash the grouper fish we bought earlier and sprinkle some lemon juice over it and leave it aside while we went for shopping in Countdown not far from our motel to buy some vegetables, bread and fruit for our South Island supply. Back to the motel, I prepared fish curry to be eaten with rice I cooked earlier in the microwave. Perfect food to end the day!

Next : From Christchurch to beautiful Akaroa


  1. Hi bdk2.. salam.. thanks for visiting this cheapo blog :)

  2. not cheapo akak! bestt wooo......rindunya kat NZ. byk tempat akak pegi yg sy tak pegi.

  3. takpe bdk.. repeat balik kan tak lama lagi? nanti cover lagi mana2 yg tak cover tu :) saya pun hari tu banyak tak cover.. rushing sgt. Dah beli tiket lagi bulan sept 2012, tapi rasanya mcm nak tukar date ke May kot.