Hey, us three got up to be downstairs at reception for 8am, when the phonelines open for Kiwi experience so we could try and get on a southisland bus (or be stuck here but were tight on time for claires flight out of christchurch and it would be a nightmare). They told us they might put another bus on as so many people were on the waiting list, which is what we expected of them, so we had to wait and ring bk around 12. Meanwhile we went to the Houses of Parliament, had a tour around there (amazing buildings again, some parts were destroyed in fires and have been restored). Had a bit of a lesson about how they have no senate here like in oz.
After that we did some shopping- Wellington has the best shopping of anywhere ive seen while travelling so far! Everything you want, and most of it on one street, complete with my Gloria Jeans' coffees- my fav cafe in oz and nz! I finally brought a coat, which I got from Katmandu (same place I brought a fleece from for only 20 quid in Taupo the night before tongariro crossing, without which I have frozen to death lol). Me and sarah got waterproof camera cases, and we all had a coffee in my fav cafe, then we went to the visitor centre and from there we sorted out our kiwi bus- theyve added another bus and we go out of nelson on the 3rd (were due to go on 2nd, means claire leaves us early from queenstown to get her flight, but the rest of the trip were together for). And, as were staying 2 nights in nelson now not one, we all get to go on a day trip to Abel Tasman national park (northeast of the south island), sweet as.
After sorting that out we booked all our kiwi buses for the rest of the trip so we dont stress again lol, and then we got the cable car from town up to the botanical gardens. We walked from there to Karori wildlife sanctuary, where we were told we could see some of new zealands rare native birds.
The park was beautiful, mostly in a valley with a wide river down the middle and plenty of winding paths. We got given a map and went along the river. It wasnt long before we heard the Tui bird (makes the most amazing noises, loads of different songs but you always recognise it, they mimic people too). We saw loads of Tui by the end of the day, got some great pics. We were also fortunate to see plenty of Kara, a big parrot native to NZ thats dark in colour. We also saw different types of kormorant, or 'shags' as they call them here! And we saw the new zealand robin, the saddleback, the Hihi (makes a laughing noise) and the fantail, a cool little bird that flashes its tail at you. We also learnt about the pests to sanctuaries like these- rats, possums, weasils. They had special fences around the park, gateways, traps for the pests, and bag checks before you go in, all very secure! Theyve introduced other threatened species here too- the green gecko, very cute little lizard, the tuatara, and NZ frogs. It was a really good sanctuary.
After that we got the bus back to the botanical gardens, wandered round the gardens for a little bit (saw the succulent garden, park bit and the threatened species garden) and the camellia valley (nice flowers, even though summers ending here now). Most of the garden was on a steep slope, and once we trekked bk up we got on the cable car and went bk to town, having walked miles again today and aching from the last few days (though from which activity we dont know- black water rafting, caving, climbing, trekking, horse riding??). We think we ache cus of our beds too- about 1 inch thick, crappy foam mattresses- you can feel the boards underneath lol.
We walked to our hostel on the other side of town, paid for our ferry for the next morning which is organised through our hostel Base, and then we went out and had Crepes for dinner! We'd been talking about having them all day lol, we had a savoury one and a dessert one each! Yummy. Also went to supermarket and got snacks for tomorrow, a day of being on the ferry and kiwi bus until we get to Nelson.
Were looking forward to Abel Tasman national park! Claire has a relative in Nelson that shes going to see too.