We had a day off the booze and drove south to Martinborough which is a small town in the south east of North Island. It is a neat little town, with lots of period houses and a road system laid out in the shape of a Union Flag. It is also another wine region so we were soon 'back on it' and the day ended very messily (which is why I was typing away in a picnic site beside a lake as my rather rough looking wife tried to sleep it off in the van). It was another wet day so we started in the wine centre, where different vineyards wines could be tried under one roof. We returned to the site at about 3.30pm and holed up in the kitchen with a couple of bottles of wine and chatted to other wet campers. We met two kindred spirits in the form of Caroline and Ian. She was a nurse and he a teacher and they met 17 years ago as he was hitchhiking along the A2 and she was on the way to pick up her stuff from the house of her last boyfriend, whom she had found hitchhiking along the A1. They are avoiding the A3 - I suggested a trip to the A69. Besides a talent for drinking and declaring that her solution for her bikini line hair was to stuff it into her socks), Caroline was also a very good singer and song writer and between our drunken ramblings she treated us to some great songs - it is not everyday you find yourself in a small caravan site in the middle of nowhere listening to opera!
After waking Jodie, we set off to the very south western tip of the North Island - Cape Palliser and spent the rest of the day driving along the a beautiful coast, visiting the last lighthouse in NZ to be manned (it was up some very steep stairs), sitting on beaches with Fur Seals then heading back via Lake Wairarapa towards Wellington. We spent the night in our first Department of Conservation (DOC) site, which are very basic, but very beautiful camp sites in remote areas. The one we found was about 100km from Wellington, was used as Rivendel in Lord of the Rings, was next to a river and deserted, less for some ducks. Being in deserted campsites is 99% great; the 1% not great is a combination of the lack of facilities and hearing the story of a couple of tourists who were recently raped and murdered in a very remote site - we kept our very hefty torch to hand!