As prior posts have alluded to, we had to change our plans for the South Island due to last week’s terrible weather and a bridge collapse that we’d need to drive over (see video here)…so…we cancelled 4 different places we were staying and rebooked.
This change meant we’d be getting to the ferry port at 7 am for the 8 am ferry, arriving at the South Island Port at 11:30 am, and then making a 5-hour drive to Christchurch. The morning was off to a seamless start as we had packed up and found the ferry location with ease. Moments before boarding, we discovered we had a flat tire…
Upon boarding the ferry, we made arrangements to visit the rental car terminal on the other side to assess our options. The ferry itself was rather easy- there was ample seating, (limited) food options, wi-fi, and everything else you’d need to pass the 4 ish hours we were sitting there. The highlight of the trip, aside from the peaceful waters, was the gorgeous view we had outside as we were sitting in the bow for the entire drive. I can only really compare it to going on an Alaskan cruise where you’re never too far from land and enjoy beautiful views the entire time.
Upon arriving in Picton (South Island), we were able to swap cars (tomorrow we’ll find out if we had to pay anything for the tire), and be on our way. After the 1-hour + delay, we were all very hungry and found a little cafe on the side of the road before continuing on our way. While we were in transit for far too many hours in one day, every part of today’s journey was gorgeous.
The weather on the South Island couldn’t have been better for our drive- warm and sunny- as we made our way down an ocean-side highway and marveled at the views from Point A to Point B. We found two excellent stops along the journey to get out and explore.
First, we found a viewpoint literally on the ocean with tons of cars so we pulled over and were pleasantly surprised to see a few hundred furry seals playing in the water and on the rocks in the area. We stood there for 15 minutes watching them play but probably could have sat there for hours if the Meyer clan wasn’t in dire need of a restroom.
The second great stop we made was at the beach and we made our way down to the water. While John was the only one to actually put his feet in, the rest of us enjoyed the sights and the sounds of the beach and attempted (unsuccessfully) to skip some rocks across the ocean.
We made our way back to the car for the final 2.5 hours of the journey and I think by the end everyone was ready to get out of the car. We pulled up to the hotel just before 7 pm and checked-in to the rooms. We sat around the bar and enjoyed happy-hour as we were homeless for tomorrow night and made our game-plan for activities as well as lodging before making our way out for tacos (a restaurant called Mexicanas).
Despite NZ being about as far away from Mexico as one can be, we had a great round of tacos and margaritas before calling it quits after the long day. We were 5 hours down of our 10 to go until we get to the part of the South Island we’re most excited about but are going to make the best of our 2 days as we split up the remaining drive and have some good fun planned in the interim.