"" Writer's Wanderings: New Zealand - Ferry to the North Island, Wanganui

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

New Zealand - Ferry to the North Island, Wanganui

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Just down the road from our B and B is a Baptist church about the size of our church back home. We decide to pay a visit since we have the morning free before it’s time to line up our car for the ferry to Wellington on the North Island. After saying goodbye to our hosts, we find a little marina just around the corner from the church and wait there for a bit until it’s time for church. The morning couldn’t be more perfect, blue skies, white puffy clouds and calm winds.

At a few minutes before ten, we arrive at the Picton Baptist Church and immediately feel at home as people greet us and take us in. We talk at length to a family that has just returned from a mission trip to Kenya and discover after the service begins that they are actually the pastor and his family. It is a wonderful service filled with great stories and challenges of faith told to us by each member of the family including the young daughters who remind us of our own pastor’s daughters. We leave light hearted and ready to face the day ahead, a day that is still weather-perfect.

The line to ferry is out to the street as the attendants process the tickets and get the vehicles into orderly fashion for loading. There is quite a large company of soldiers and army vehicles going with us. Somehow we all fit on board and our crossing begins.

Bob and I catch a quick lunch of a shared sandwich, chips (salt and vinegar again) and a diet Coke. Then we head for the outdoors to catch the views of the sound that we couldn’t see on our trip over in the rain a couple of weeks ago. We find a spot at the back of the boat that is protected from the wind and I start snapping away. It is so hard to stop taking pictures as each new twist and turn of the ferry reveals another spectacular view.

Along the way we pass a couple of places that look like mussel farms. I feel sad that I won't have another chance at those wonderful mussels from the Mussel Pot.

It takes almost two hours to get out of the sound and begin to cross the channel. We go back inside and find a spot to have some coffee. I catch up with some of my diary and Bob nods off once or twice. We have a bit of a drive ahead of us once we get off the ferry. I hope he gets a good catnap.

As we near Wellington I see the dark clouds have gathered again. I take a shot of the city from the ferry but it’s still looking a bit dismal.

In the car waiting for the signal to drive off, I enter our destination for Lady Garmon to find. She’s a bit ornery because inside the ferry, she can’t get the satellite signal. I turn her off until we exit. It only takes a moment once we are free of the ferry and she’s giving directions.

There is a two and a half hour drive to Wanganui and our motel for the night. We stop for a quick bite to eat and hurry on not wanting to arrive so late that we can’t get our bearings in the city. Wanganui turns out to be a delight. The town is something out of the early 1900s. A little art deco like Napier but somehow warmer looking and more inviting. A little Victorian is mixed in. Perhaps that is why.

Our host at the motel tells us to take a walk by the river to see an old steam paddleboat. It’s not running yet. The season won’t start until November (remember that they are just entering spring/summer here). High on the hill across the river we see the Durie Hill Tower that we will visit tomorrow. As we walk back to our car, Bob notices the Tram Museum that is also on our list for the morning.

We use the last of the evening light to take a few pictures of the main street. I wish we were staying here longer. I’d love to explore this place more.

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