North to South

Our choice of car park had limitations. The motorhome, six berth, was so wide and long we doubted it coud be manoeuvred out of the space if people parked either side of us and the only solution was to move it to the Bluebridge Ferry Terminal. Joe and Freya went into the museum and Henry and I were the poor souls who had to do a speed walk of 17 minutes back to the museum after we had re-parked. Exiting the museum car park using a credit card didn't seem to lift the barrier and Henry had to call for help. It cost $30 in the end.

Eventually we got to see the Gallipoli exhibition at Te Papa which was so comprehensive it would have taken three hours at least to read everything. The main attraction was of course the models - two and a half times life size and awe-inspiring. No detail had been left out. I stared at the enormous head of a man that had veins in the eyes, sunburnt skin, pores, freckles and even beads of sweat on him.


The ferry left in early afternoon and once on board we went straight for the restaurant. The food selection was great and delicious. The vegetarian lasagne included pumpkin - yes, it is autumn here. The ferry was full of passengers even in April, some of them lorry drivers. There were no comfortable seats free so we became stuck at the tables for the three-and-a-half-hour crossing of Cook Strait. The wind was fierce out on deck but the views worth it, often wooded mountains on both sides of us.

As we set off on the other side the sunset wowed us with red and orange shades over the mountain range but then everything became an endurance test. Driving for three hours, some of it through very winding roads uphill and downhill. Finally we got close to the area and looked for a layby. Trying to avoid a town where we knew there was a restricted zone, we went up into the hills and only managed to find one deep picnic area without a 'no overnight parking' sign where we spent the night.