I paid for the good times in Wellington on my travel day to the South Island. I was up around 6am, took a 7am shuttle to the quay, and set sail aboard the 8:30am ferry to New Zealand's South Island.
The ferry ride was rather uneventful, and I spent a few minutes lounging in a variety of locations on the 5th and 7th level (the 8th was the top, and a bit too windy for relaxation). As we crossed the strait, it began to rain. By the time I got on the next STRAY bus, it was pouring. Ricky was my third driver, and turned out to be my favorite. His bus was consistently on time, he had a fun personality, and supplied good music (Pearl Jam, Sublime, and a few lesser known bands).
Our first stop was Abel Tasman park for 2 nights. We stayed on Old MacDonald's Farm (literally a working farm run by “Old” MacDonald). I was too tired to do the 5-hour park tramp, and didn't think the weather warranted a catamaran sail.
Our second stop was an old gold mining town, Barrytown, which is more of a rest stop when driving down the west coast. We stay at the main hotel/bar (which is literally the town), and usually everyone just drinks and cross-dresses (the photos on the wall bear evidence to this) because there's nothing to do. My bus only had 5 people, myself included, so we kept it to a walk down to the beach for the sunset.
The next morning, Katarin (Germany…again) and I did a bone carving activity. Working with beef shinbone is a lot like working with wood – at least the tools are the same. I was surprised how well my Fish Hook came out, and have been proudly wearing it as a necklace since. According to Maori mythology, the fish hook of Maui made from whalebone was used to haul up the North Island. It represents strength and determination and brings peace, prosperity and good health. It is also a mark of authority and leadership.