We were awoken at 7:00 am by the farmers market that was being set up directly to the left of our car. Since we had paid for parking until 11:30 am, we could have stayed, but with the racket right next to us and an urgent need to use a bathroom, we skedaddled. Mount Victoria provides both a beautiful overlook of the city and toilets. It was Sunday morning and several mountain bikers were participating in a grueling ritual that included multiple rounds up and down the mountain. Alas, it was too windy to cook breakfast at the top, so we headed back to Cuba Street for some grub.
Loretta’s was prime: free wifi, free coffee refills and simple country-style breakfast options. A little pricey, but with all those perks, I can see why. Highly recommend. After far too many cups of coffee, we wandered down the street to find shoes and propane. Next up, Wellington’s Botanical Gardens. Great rose garden, beautiful view of downtown, although I prefer Mount Victoria. Then it was time to say good bye to the North Island and head to the Interisland Ferry for passage to Picton.
Our first destination on the South Island was a seriously adorable little town called Nelson. Situated between rolling hills and boasting a gigantic gothic cathedral, it’s a unique and friendly place. We enjoyed wandering around the small downtown area and admiring the vast quantity of “closed” signs, considering it was Sunday.
Things got a little hairy at around 10 pm when the camping area we planned to stay at near Kina was full. Thanks again, stupid treaty-signing holiday weekend. After a few dead ends, we found another spot about 30 minutes away, only to discover that the makeshift cooler we constructed had a leak all over the backseat. Thank goodness for the tent foot. We were able to set up for the night with no further setbacks and get some good rest.