Our first day on the South Island has been bathed in hot sunshine and serene tranquility. This place is SO QUIET it's almost eerie! And it has a completely different climate to Wellington - we got sunburnt today, and I was really regretting leaving my shorts in Auckland.
The ferry crossing was one of the best moments of our trip so far - we saw dolphins! There was so much to look at as we left Wellington harbour (bathed in a blood-red sunrise) through its narrow opening, and then immediately the volcanic mountains of the South Island came into sight. For most of the journey, both islands are clearly visible, and for the final hour, the ferry wends it way up the zigzag Marlborough inlets, like volcanic fjords. The mountains around there are like rippled velvet.
We arrived at Picton Harbour at about 11.30am and walked through the town to our backpackers lodge, stopping at a truly heavenly Dutch bakery on the way. We're staying at the Sequoia Lodge, it's really nice and the people are really friendly. It's got a hot pool and they serve chocolate pudding to all the guests every evening....mmmmm....
This afternoon Owen and I did a hike along the Tirohanga track through lush native bush up in the hills above Picton. At the top we lay down and had a nap in the hot sunshine. The views across the sound were stunning. When we got back, we had a well-deserved soak in the hot pool. Heaven!
Will try to put some photos on the blog at this place - didn't work last time.