Saturday, January 7, 2012

December 4th: Auckland to Nelson

We got up early on the 4th and headed to the airport...we had a plane to catch! Taking a domestic flight in NZ is nothing like flying in the US; if you fly Air New Zealand, the check-in process is ridiculously easy. You check yourself in at a kiosk, drop your checked bags off on a conveyor belt, then try to figure out how to kill an hour and a half of free time since you don't have to get halfway undressed and disassemble your carry on to clear security. When your flight is ready to board, you simply show your boarding pass to the ticket agent, then walk immediately out to the gate and board the plane. Even better, the prop we were on was surprisingly roomy, and even though the flight was only an hour they still came around with drinks and candy. Wow.

After landing in Nelson, we picked up our rental car (a Nissan Sunny...oh boy), found the hostel, then spent some time checking out downtown Nelson. Since it was a Sunday a lot of the shops were closed, but we managed to find some tasty steak pies for lunch.

Since we still had the entire afternoon free and it was rainy and dreary, we hopped in the car and drove east toward Picton. They supposedly had an aquarium where you could see little blue penguins, which sounded like a good way to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon.

We stopped at a scenic overlook along the way. These birds were wandering around the parking lot and came right up to us! Turns out it's a weka...a very outgoing weka.

After a short walk, we came to an overlook with a neat view of Pelorus Sound.

After driving a little further...

...we eventually found Picton. Since we were starving we decided to grab dinner first; the restaurant we found had some of the best fish and chips I've ever had. By the time we got back to the aquarium, though, they had closed for the day. No penguins, no fish, nothing for us - boo!!!

Since there isn't too much to do on a rainy Sunday evening in Picton, we got back in the car and drove back to Nelson. It POURED for most of the rest of the day, so we spent a lazy night at the hostel.

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