I thought I’d do another short post to bring the blog up-to-date on our movements. We’ll be here in our old home town for 3-4 weeks catching up with family & friends, doing some maintenance on the 5th-wheeler, spring-cleaning the van and sorting out some of the gear that we have in storage. And I’ll be able to catch up on the last of the Maniototo blogs and a few others from down south too (she says, hopefully).
We left Picton Tuesday afternoon on schedule aboard the new Bluebridge ferry, the Santa Feronia. It’s a large boat and there weren’t too many sailing which was nice as we had plenty of room to spread ourselves about and shift chairs and lounges when we wanted. We went up to the outside top deck to check out the view and were disappointed to find that there were no benches for seating on any of the outside decks- I'm not sure why as there are usually quite a number of people sitting outside especially on a fine day through the Sounds.
Once again we shared the crossing with a number of stock trucks with their smelly passengers; cattle, sheep and in one truck pigs! That’s a first.
Although it didn’t take us long to drive to our usual Wellington camping spot at Evans Bay where finally the 26 metre high Wind Wand (Zephyrometer) has been replaced after being blasted to smithereens by lightning a year ago- lets hope the old adage that lighting doesn't strike twice in the same place works for them. This CSC freedom camping area (large car park) at Evans Bay is very popular as it’s handy to the city and the ferries and the last few times we’ve stopped it has been packed solid every night. This time it wasn’t so full with about 15-20 vehicles both nights. It was still a shock to the system to suddenly hear the busy traffic noises and watch so many people out walking and riding, along with the street lights illuminating the van- bring back the peace & quite of the South Island wops!
We stayed in Wellington two nights, visiting Sirocco on our first night and Zealandia Sanctuary again the next day to see the rest of the birds (post to come on that soon). Then we headed north stopping- as we did the last time we headed north- at the NZMCA camp in Marton for the night. We had the place to ourselves until early evening when a couple of other vans arrived.
We headed off yesterday morning thinking we’d stop in Taupo for the night before the last section to the Mount today. But when we got to Taupo around 3pm we decided we might as well push on and head all the way through to the Mount and be all set up for the weekend. Marton to the Mount = 375km, our longest haul to date with the van on the back.
We surprised the family at the Farmers Market (where they have a stall) this morning and have now returned to our humble abode to watch the world pass by Pilot Bay on a sunny but chilly Saturday afternoon.