In the morning we drove in convoy about 1.5 kilometers to the Picton Ferry terminal. Unfortunately the ferry was 3 hours late and the crossing was also 3 hours.
Leaving the South Island -----------------------------------------Arriving at the North Island
when we arrived at Wellington Ferry Terminal it was well past 2 PM none the less we went to the New Zealand National Museum Te Papa and stated until closing. It was an interesting museum which briefly presented the history of New Zealand and the melding of its various immigrant groups.
Yes, Jews are one of the immigrant groups in New Zealand and Wellington is one of their population centers.
When the museum closed for the night we went to a restaurant for an excellent meal before driving the 36km 22mi to Upper Hutt which we arrived at in the dark. It would have been nice to have had more time in Wellington which boasts more restaurants per capita then New York City.
The next morning we drove from Upper Hutt to Napier 297 km 179mi and made some interesting stops along the way. The first stop was to the Puah factory. Puah is known as abalone in most of the rest of the world. Abalone have very pretty and colorful shells when the outer covering is sanded off. We saw a DVD on the Abalone industry from gathering to shell cleaning and jewelry production. We saw some people cleaning the abalone, grinding off the unsightly outer shell and we bought some gifts for family members.
After we stopped there we continued on to the Mt Bruce Wildlife Center where we saw Kiwi and several other birds. The Kiwi, New Zealand's country bird is a flightless nocturnal ground feeder. At the center they are housed in glass cages with infra red and reversed light cycles. I tried taking pictures (no flash allowed) I couldn't even get a good picture of the stuffed Kiwi under glass.
When we got to Napier a gorgeous coastal town we walked along the beach and through the Art Deco downtown. Napier was destroyed by earthquake in the thirty's and art deco was in style when it was rebuilt. We also climbed the path in Tiffen Park followed by a return to the campground and a dinner out at campground's empty but rather good restaurant.