Sunday, January 31, 2016

New Zealand 2016 Day 21. Goodbye South Island

We spent the night in Cable Bay, one of the thousands of inlets in the sounds that form the northern end of South Island. Our plan was to hike around there for the best part of the day, until it was time to take the ferry for North Island at 5:45 pm. Well, it turns out we are still a bit tired from the hike we did yesterday, and were not in shape to tackle any of the steep slopes that characterize the ridges that separate the sounds. We did our best, however, and after driving an incredibly twisty road along one of the ridges we actually caught a part of the Queen Charlotte Track. Still, it was a lazy day, and after getting back to the car we whittled away the afternoon in Picton.

There was a special festival going on at the waterfront, so the place was pretty lively and music was in the air. It is a pretty touristy city, with the complement of tourist-trap shops that accompanies all seaside resorts. I actually found a facsimile copy of the 1769 map that Captain James Cook made of both islands, which I think will look great once I frame it and hang it in the adventure room. Another highlight was the Whaling and Maritime Museum, which has plenty of good exhibits from the time when whaling was a big industry for the inhabitants of the South Island. Some of the whaling was done by small boats, not unlike the way in which whaling was done in the Azores, and the Maoris were apparently among the most skilled whalers.

We finally got on the ferry at 6:45 pm, fortunately with enough light for us to see the passage through the sound, and after night fell we retired to the inside of the big boat, from which I am writing this entry. We are scheduled to arrive in Wellington at 11 pm. Groan.  

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