As the weather at Tongariro National Park was awful and the forecast for the next few days was not convincing either, Ilinca and I decided to travel to New Zealand’s South Island one day earlier than we planned. After a winding four hour drive down to Wellington and a beautiful three hour ferry ride over the Cook Strait we arrived Picton on the South Island where we continued driving our campervan.
Infamous Cook Strait
The Cook Strait between both of the Islands of New Zealand is known as a rough passage for the ferry to take and there would be lots of wind and waves along the way. When looking at the ferry at Wellington Harbor, it was clearly visible that it was made for tough conditions.
Calm Conditions over Cook Strait
On that Monday afternoon however, the weather goods wanted to make up for the miserable weather the past day at Tongariro National Park. There was no strong wind, the sea was absolutely calm, and the visibility was just fantastic. After crossing the strait, the ferry navigates for at least an hour through the Marlborough Sounds, which are kind of fjords, on the north of the South Island until finally reaching Picton. On there were many small bays with small villages and it was beautiful to observe how the humidity from the sea was blown over mountains, forming interesting clouds on the luv side and dissolving again on the lee side of the hills that surround the fjords.
Once we had arrived in Picton, we continued driving our campervan to Havelock on a beautiful scenic road which was barely large enough for our vehicle. Again and again we had beautiful views on the Marlborough Sounds and the Cook Strait.
After a night on a campsite in Havelock, we continued our scenic drive towards the west via Nelson to Abel Tasman National Park, our first planned destination on the South Island.