A long slog to the south Island

The North Island was full of trips (and a trip), adrenaline and friend makin’, so apart from the early rise getting us down I was upbeat about what the South Island had in store to compete with its Northern counterpart.

We rose at 5:45 for the early ferry, which I felt was too early for breakfast.  Then got on the ferry and began our three hour crossing to Picton on the other side, arriving just after eleven, famished.

On the other side we waited for one of the two Kiwi buses to arrive. This was made slightly nerve wracking by the lack of information regarding where the pickup should be. As we waited Kelly chatted to two Welsh girls Erin and Lois, who told us all about their time in Singapore.

Finally Lisa the bus driver turned up with a gaggle of our former bus friends, all waving or exchanging thumbs up with us. It was time to hit the road again, after all this water-malarky!

En route we quickly stopped for a pee break, but it became apparent that one of the shared kiwi experiences was to be starvation on the ferry crossing. So the toilet break became an extended food stop, much to the disappointment of our driver when a third of the bus turned up satisfied but 20 minutes late. I had my first kiwi pie, which was good, and gave me a chance to catch up with those who had stayed longer in Wellington, for a low-down on the city. Not much, they’d had a night out, a hungover day, and packed the museum and cable car into the final day. Generally Wellington was used as a recuperation point after the North Island’s exploits (something we’d done in Taupo).

Now Kelly and I love a good pub quiz

Most people know I love a general knowledge question or two so Lisa hit the spot when she asked the bus to answer three in order to win a secret prize:

  1. In which year did Wellington become the capital?
  2. What was the name of Lisa’s future husband and actor who played Superman in the TV show Smallville?
  3. In which NZ lake could you fit Singapore entirely?

I felt confident (basically because I knew the 2nd answer) so ran up. Tom helped with answer 1 (1865), and I knew 2 (Tom Welling) and therefore the tricky 3rd came down to a guess (Lake Taupo). Boom victory was mine.

Originally I won a trip on a Jet boat in Wanaka, but luckily (as I didn’t want to go again), no-one else wanted to go. So they gave me a free photo-video pack for the Nevis Bungy. Score.

We finally make it to Kaiteriteri after a seemingly endless journey (it was nearly 10 hours since we woke up), and threw our stuff into our room in order to catch the last of the sun. It seems to be quite hot in Kaiteriteri and the surrounding Abel Tasman national park so we hung out and chatted to everyone before heading inside for a pub quiz. Now Kelly and I love a good pub quiz, so when (Austrian) Stef enquired as to our interest we were in there like a shot. As a team we did well, Alfie, (English) Stef, and Imogen made up the remainder of the six, and we all pitched in with some good knowledge to take us up to joint fourth. A surprisingly British-centric quiz, left us focussed on the task at hand, meaning we missed last orders on the pub kitchen, and so Kelly and I retired to bed, as famished as we woke but satisfied non-the-less.

The next morning another early start for some seawater kayaking along the coast of the Abel Tasman National Park. The two man (and wife) kayaks required the rear passenger to steer using their feet. Kelly did the job well, and with our training completed in River Valley’s rafting excercise we paddled in unison around the coast at breakneck speed.

It was a beautiful day as we circled the coast, ducking into caves and hearing stories of battling Maori gods, fighting over a stone in the sea. Luckily the kayaking only lasted 2 hours, otherwise my sore arms may have given out, but back on dry land it was time for another long slog to our next stopover.

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We get to the sleepy town of Westport along the West coast of the South Island, with the promise of a beach campfire. Its cancelled due to wind. So Risotto and chorizo it is for dinner, followed by some drinking games with our new Welsh friends and those from the River Valley bus.

The game, is simple yet vindictive. I forget the name, but it involves 5 rows of a decreasing numbers of cards, shaped like a Christmas Tree (is it December already? Doesn’t feel like Christmas yet). Anyway the first row has 5 cards, the second 4 and so on. The main person (dealer maybe) turns each card on each row in turn, holding for the players to declare if they have the same card or not (everybody has 4 cards, did I mention that). If they do, they can target someone and tell them to drink a measure of the beer, cider or wine they are currently consuming. Now if it is on row 1 (with 5 cards), they drink 1 measure, but if it’s row 2 (with 4 cards) they drink 2 measures, and so on until we get to row 5 (with 1 card) where the spiteful person who matches that card can dish out 5 measures to their victim.

The small misfortune that did bestow Kelly was that her 4 cards never came up for two games in a row

Luckily we hardly knew anyone in the group, so our vendettas still hadn’t accumilated, and our names were yet to be memorised. The small misfortune that did bestow Kelly was that her 4 cards never came up for two games in a row, and the person with the most or the highest cards gets to play “on the bus”. Which is worse.

For two rounds Kelly had to play a kind of play your cards right, but with a difference. She had to guess 5 cards, with the odd ones in the sequence being simply red or black, and the even ones higher or lower than the last. Simple. Well you have to naturally get the sequence right in one go or start again, and obviously if you falter you need to drink. I think each one took about 10 attempts, but luckily we were only playing until 10, when everybody fled to the bar and we fled back to our room!

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Apparently tomorrow is a fancy dress party, so best to have a relatively quiet night.

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