Wednesday, December 11, 2013

O' Hail Picton, Gateway to the South Island

Music was playing from my iPhone before the first light. It was 5.30 am in the morning. I stirred and quickly went into action. There was no time to lose. We had a ferry to catch. Little feet were running. Luggages packed as we scrambled for the door. Day 5 of our NZ journey had just begun.

We drove down to the ferry terminal to catch the early inter-islander ferry but not before a false alarm that we had arrived at the wrong place. We counterchecked our location with mobile on-the-go and found our destination in no time.

Thereafter we returned our rental car checked in our luggages and boarded the ferry. The ferry was huge and resembled more like a luxurious cruise ship with a total of ten spacious and tastefully designed decks. We were pampered by the smorgasbord selection of restaurants alongside scores of entertainment - such as movie theatres, television programmes, video arcades and many more. We settled at the family lounge to while away the 3 hour ride. Occasionally, we made our way to the sun deck to feel the strong winds that would blow our seasickness away and to soak in the wide expanse of limitless sea and mighty mountains before us. 

After a cold day the day before, we were snugly bundled up in our warm clothing. Hot spell made us uncomfortable and we changed to our sunny wear upon reaching Picton after picking up our rental car.

Our initial plan was to drive 5.5 hours to Greymouth and call it a night before continuing the car journey the next day. The good weather and long day light as we were driving along the coast line enabled us to drive another 2.5 hours to reach our next intended stop point, Franz Josef.

NZ was indeed one of the world's road trip Mecca. Along our car journey, we saw roads flanked by cherry plantations and vineyards. We were awed by majestic mountains. Our harried souls soothed by the docile nature of herd of cows and flock of sheep. We also passed by many small towns -St Arnaud, Araha, Ross Gold town, Waihura river, Arnord river, Lake Ianthe, Rainbow Ski field and many more. 

We had glimpses of the history as we made our pit stops along our car journey. One of which was Brunner town which used to be a mining town, what that remained today was a designated historical lookout point.

Top left: vineyard 

We reached Franz Josef Glacier at around 8 pm and managed to book a family unit at Bella Vista Motel, to put up for the night. The exploration of the glacier would begin tomorrow.  

Above: Franz Josef Glacier town

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