Wellington & Picton
Right now I am in Picton. Picton is a small port city located on the north part of the South Island. This is my second night here. Tomorrow I board a Stray Bus for a 20ish day tour of the south island. Up to this point I have been doing a point-to-point destination bus – similar to a Greyhound. With this form of travel, you miss a lot, so I opted to pay a little extra for a guided tour.
Anyway, after my hike in the Tongario National Park I boarded a bus for a 6 hour ride to Wellington, the capital of New Zealand. I was only there briefly since the following day I had to catch a ferry across the Cook Straight to Picton. After arriving in Picton and checking in at my hostel, I decided to change clothes. The bus had no AC and the windows didn’t open. I only tell you this because I realized while changing and looking in the mirror that over the last 10 days, I had lost a lot of weight. So I did what any American would do. I went to McDonalds where I ordered a big mac, 3 cheeseburgers, and fries. A day later and I was still starving from my hike. On my way to McDonalds I randomly ran into a German girl I had meant 3 days earlier. I asked her to join me. I can’t tell if she was appalled by the copious amounts of food I ate. Still she joined me for drinks after so I couldn’t have been that bad. Oh and I paid 11 dollars for a beer. New Zealand is expensive.
The ferry ride to Picton was swell.
In total, the ride was about 3 hours. Mostly I just stared at the sea and the country side that passed by. Upon arriving in Picton, I checked into my hostel and went to bed. Today was mostly a relaxing day. I got up and spent most of the morning and afternoon “tramping” around Picton. I found this nice hike that took me up to a bluff over looking the harbor. It was sunny, 72 degrees with a slight breeze. I sat on a picnic table in the sun and just read for a couple of hours. Occasionally I would look up and watch a ferry glide by or a sailboat stroll by. The birds were singing and not a person was around. It was relaxing to say the least.
Now it is about 930 PM and I am about halfway through this AWFUL bottle of red wine. It cost me $8 and by New Zealand standards that is dirt cheap. I tried giving some away but oddly I couldn’t. The city hostels are a lot different than the country ones. In the country, most are in bed by 10 and no one really drinks. The city is the exact opposite. Though on the whole, no one really drinks in New Zealand. Granted this the off season, but bars for the most part are half full. Its a very active lifestyle here and most people rather go sail or tramp around the country side then stay up all night drinking beers. Apparently Australia is the exact opposite.
Also there are not many Americans traveling abroad. In my 12 days of travel, I have met 4 Americans. Tonight in my hostel of 40, I am the only American.