Backpacking around the world on a budget: Marlborough to New Plymouth Part 11

In 2008, we embarked on our RtW trip, visiting seven countries. You find us in the northern shores of the South Island of New Zealand. Next up was the region of fine wine of Marlborough.

We where in a world where phones were limited to texts and Snake, so finding our way around or information was very limited, to say the least. Dial up was the norm. We knew we were in Marlborough and thanks to my dad being a wine drinker, Catherine and I headed to one of his favourite wineries. As such, we decided to do our own little wine tour, instead of paying to do one, with wine, lots of cheese and kiwi juice for the driver!

First there was Hunters, Cloudy Bay and Huia.

Then Tamar and Shingle Peak and finally Stoneleigh and Nautilus… with more cheese!

For the next night we stayed at the Momorangi Camping Area. This had good views over Grove Arm Bay and was a bit calmer as it was a bit further out of Picton.

The final day was hanging around the city of Picton – a thriving port with an interesting centre located near the head of the Queen Charlotte Sound. In the afternoon, it was time to leave the South Island and head to Wellington. The Interislander ferry was straight forward to catch, but must be booked well in advance.

The crossing took 3.30 hours through wonderful scenery.

For the first 1 hour it maneuvered through some great islands, including Arapawa Island.

It was off to the North Island we went…

Stepping off the Interislander ferry from Picton, Catherine and I had arrived on the North Island of New Zealand in the city of Wellington. In the terminal car park somewhere, was our new Toyota Starlet with the key under the fender.

Eagle-eyed Catherine spotted it and we were on our way. Looking around the landscape was totally different from the South Island, it felt different too.

Wellington is the second largest city in New Zealand and has a vibrant centre with an international hub for special effects.

One great feature, if you are lost for time, is the cable car in the middle of town. With great views looking over the bay it is a must. After Wellington we jumped back into our new Toyota Starlet and made our way to our first campsite out of the city, Waikawa Campsite.

New Plymouth was our new stop, but we had a long drive to reach it. As my nearest city back home is Plymouth, England Catherine and I had decided to see as many of them as we could. En route, we past through some small towns, Whanganui and Stratford were ones to take note of.

Lunch in New Plymouth was needed and then a look around this coastal town. Notable features are the botanic gardens (eg, Pukekura Park) and the critically acclaimed Len Lye Centre and Art Gallery.

Also if you have time, the 11 km (6.8 mi) Coastal Walkway alongside the Tasman Sea, the Len Lye-designed 45-metre-tall (148 ft) artwork known as the Wind Wand, Paritutu Rock, and views of Mount Taranaki/Egmont are great tourist spots.

It is also worth mentioning that New Plymouth has a mountain within 30 minutes drive, where residents and visitors can snowboard, ski, water ski and surf all in the same day.

Leaving New Plymouth, Catherine wanted to see the Waitomo Glowworm Caves. Why? To see the Glowworms of cause. The scenery up the west coast was spectacular.

Next up… Waitomo Caves.

Checking out J & C.

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