Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Day 15: Greytown to Picton

Day 15: Greytown to Picton

NZ has 15,134 km of coastline

Will THB and DB walk 15km of coastline over the next 5 days?

Weather: pleasant to cool the entire day, a trip first!

Pics: In and around Greytown, Kate and George and THB at the North Island’s best bakery, and on the ferry (those are cows in the dark one) and of the ferry

What can you say about a day with a visit to the best bakery on the North Island? Maybe the best bakery in all of NZ? We haven’t covered the South Island yet, so a THB TBD. We have our (first) breakfast, while using K&G’s knowledge to help plot out the unbooked parts of the next 16 days on the SI. Cereal and fruit, breakfast on the deck!

A leisurely stroll through Greytown, and a visit to the French Bakery (see pics), where we purchase a sourdough loaf, two croissants, an almond croissant and 3 flat whites, $22, and relax from the heavy walking done to this point (300 yards? 300 meters?).

Continue the stroll, filling out our dinner picnic-on-the-ferr with hummus and sharp cheddar, $10. More leisurely strolling to the Schoc Therapy Clinic where we taste as many of the flavored chocolates as possible and settle on the cardamom bar. Schoc is two doors down from K&G, the reason they are living in Greytown? See pics of Schoc’s signage.

Lunch on the deck. Why are we leaving Greytown…who planned this trip? More French Bakery bread, this time a rustic sourdough (some wheat mixed in, as good as you will find anywhere THB has been), hummus, olive oil dips, bruschetta (another K&G homemade winner), miscellany, local brewskies. Why are we leaving Greytown?

We leave Greytown, a twisty/turny hour drive to Wellington where we turn in the car. Or rather, we attempt to turn in the car. Some guy with well tattoo’d sleeves and a t-shirt greets us cheerfully, walks around the car and says it’s good, and then says we can either have him shuttle us to the ferry (a couple of slow miles in traffic) or we can just driver ourselves to the car park next to the ferry and leave the car keys with the ferry check-in folks. No looking at the paperwork, no checking the mileage or the gas tank, just a very cheerful “we’re here for you, whatever you want” attitude. Okay, we decide to see a local gallery a short walk away, then drive ourselves to the ferry. Rush hour, can see why the guy didn’t insist on shuttling us. Oh, and he lets us know he’s bought an Impala from the US, wrong-sided drive and all.

Check our bags, leave the keys with the check-in guy (“no worries, mate”) and take the ferry to Picton. No worries, even for a seasick-prone sailor like THB. We try scouting out our tramp of the next 5 days, no luck. And, we’re pretty sure we’ll be doing our up and down routine again. And, we have to put on our jackets when standing out on the deck, another trip first. A pleasant, not-much-of-a-sunset, romantic entrance to SI. Picnic and drinks, $20.

Exit the ferry at 9:30pm to find that a) there are no taxis - apparently last one went out of biz 3 weeks ago, b) there are no hotel shuttles c) no buses, and d) there aren’t many people at all at the ferry terminal, everything is closed up for the night. DB gets a local map from a guy that must double as the visitors bureau when he’s not helping lock the doors, and we walk the 10 minutes to our decidedly unfriendly hotel. Of course, the very first intersection you get to as you leave the parking lot is unmarked. Finding the trailhead is the hardest part of the hike. We reconnoiter under a streetlamp and decide to walk one more block upstream, and there is our turn.

Hotel check-in person wishes she had clocked off ½ hour before we arrive. As snarly as you’ll find … and by accent she is NOT a Kiwi. The room is also the worse one we’ve had on the trip: torn curtains, a bed that local elephants have practiced jumping on for weeks on end, a shower curtain’d mini-shower (no bath). At least a mini-fridge, and lots of room to sort our stuff out into: a bag to be portaged to our lodges on the track and one being stored for our return from the tramp. $150….who booked this place? Why did THB choose this one? Greytown and K&G have spoiled us!

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