Wellington to Picton
After a brief visit to the Wellington Museum, I stumbled onto the Underground Market around opening time, but having cooked Paella before, I knew that I couldn’t wait for a vendor to finish cooking their Paella dish because I needed to checkout of the hotel/dorm then catch the bus from Wellington (Train) Station to the Ferry terminal and cross over to Picton on South Island. I was informed by another passenger that the three hour crossing is considered one of the most beautiful in the world, but the sub-optimal weather and lack of sea creatures proved disappointing. She was surprised when I said I would try again tomorrow, which I determined to be my best option if I wanted to get my sweater back, which I requested to be shipped to my Wellington hotel, and also because New Zealand’s rail and road infrastructure remained damaged from a past earthquake, thus severely limiting southward travel by land. Picton is a pleasant small coastal town but aside from one museum there isn’t much to do. I nonetheless trekked around much of the main part of town in search of food and shared some with other hostel guests as we traded travel tips for New Zealand. I was amazed to learn about people’s hiking phone apps which laid out continuous routes of shacks and rest stops all the way from the southern tip of South Island to Auckland in the northernmost parts of North Island, a 6-12 month journey in mostly solitude.
There are hiking routes everywhere. A good app will show you rest stops, water locations, food stores, view points and beds located seemingly in the middle of nowhere like in the middle of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. They add a whole new layer of information not known or obvious in standard maps.