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Excerpt from the Journal of Olds – Day 286-288 – New Zealand – Nelson, Picton & The Ferry Crossing

We awoke early and got on the road; in fairness we didn’t have a spot in mind for the evening but just decided to roll as far as we could and see any sights on the way. Before long we were at the Pancake Rocks and Blowholes. These were boring. How I got a gallery out of them I’m not sure but I won’t be offended if you skip it. Lots of layered rocks…a few water blowholes formed from the waves crashing in. We swiftly moved on.

Not far from here we saw an old gentleman – from the look of him well into retirement – sat waiting to hitch a ride. While it’s not something that we made a habit of we pulled over and offered him a lift. His gratefully accepted and introduced himself as Tony, a spritely fellow who was full of stories for the ride. He used to fly planes for the brits and still did nip around the south island on occasion. He’d converted every vehicle he owned to run on some coyly acquired airplane fuel and had on obsession with McDonalds that bordered on unhealthy. On account of our new passengers’ eventual destination we drove on for a good long time and dropped him close to Nelson as night fell. It was an entertaining crossover and one we’re unlikely to forget.

Without any real target in Nelson we parked aside a local library and after reaching the chippy just too late ordered 3 large portions of fries from KFC much to the young jock on the till’s confusion. What the young wally didn’t know is that Fi was in the van re-heating chilli and we were set to dine well as the cold drew in.

The next day’s weather forced us indoors to the WOW museum – an odd hybrid of wearable art collections and a few hangers full of classic cars. Moving through the designer frocks quickly (interestingly wild but we weren’t allowed to take pictures – hmph) we wandered amongst some amazing automobiles including a host of 50’s tank-sized cruisers and a DeLorean before I eventually found my dream car – a ’67 Shelby GT500 Mustang. Modern media may have rendered it a cliché but none of that matters when the engine starts. Beautiful.
It was then on through the weather to Picton where we booked on to the next day ferry and then hunkered down in a nearby holiday park as the rain fell.

The first of the day’s planned ferries was cancelled but the second went and we were on it. After parking up we wandered the floors as the huge sea vessel left the south island behind and set course for Wellington on the north island. The journey was nothing like our Fiji ferry experience and went smoothly. By the time we’d disembarked and driven around a bit it was getting dark so we located a van park on the edge of town that proved overpriced and poor but all we really needed was a parking spot and a plug.