We left Wellington early in the morning to catch the Cook Straits ferry across to Picton in New Zealand’s South Island. The harbour departure and most of the Cook Straits were fairly uninteresting, but nearing Picton we entered the Malborough Sounds, a gorgeously complicated set of fjords and inlets.
Upon arrival we headed to the Ferry Terminal to pick up our car for the next three weeks. We named him Shadowfax, King of the Mearas. Perhaps surprisingly, Shadowfax is a 2003 Nissan Sunny with nearly 150 000km on the clock (we hope to hit that landmark on our trip!) We drove along a beautiful, windy coastal road to Havelock (spiritual home of the Vetinarii) and then onto our lodgings for the next three nights in Nelson.
The next day we drove up to Abel Tasman National Park on the North coast of the South island. Here we picked up kayaks for the morning, paddling around the stunning tidal waters of the park and hopping between islands before lunch and a brisk 12km march back to the car. Across these three nights we slept poorly, one of the downsides of backpacker accomodation is the walls tend to be paper-thin. This was fine in Nepal where everyone was shattered from hiking and had to be up early the next day – so were asleep by 10. In Nelson we were subjected to giggly German guitars after 1am and got a bit crotchety. Perhaps we’re just old.
Anyway, the next day we headed to the World of Wearable Art (and Classic Cars) museum. I’d had a taste of some of this in Te Papa in Wellington. Every year there is a fashion show (originally in Nelson, but now in Wellington) that demonstrates artistic creativity in fashion. There are incredible designs and costumes, all fabulous and impractical. One of the highlights is the ‘bizarre bra’ section, which encourages copious amounts of mammarial punning.