Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013
As we entered Queen Charlotte Sound (from the wider expanse of Cook Strait, after leaving Wellington), I was standing as close to the bow of the ship as I could get. There were probably 20 or 30 people standing out there, and it was quiet. It was as though we were greeting the South Island with reverence and awe.
I felt a mixture of sadness and joy as I said goodbye to the North Island.
Sadness, because this marked the halfway point of our New Zealand trip.
And joy, because I was eager to see the beauty of the South Island!
We left Wellington at midday, checked our luggage at the terminal, and boarded the Interislander Ferry for the three-hour ride across Cook Strait.
Our ship, the Aratere (which is Maori for “quick path”) had many amenities including a food court, lounge, cinema and plenty of space for travelers to sit and relax or even take a nap! I did none of these things. I spent the entire trip wandering the decks, from one end of the boat to the other, enjoying the scenery and taking photos.
I believe my friend, Francine, captured my experience perfectly when she said, “You look like a kid in a candy shop!” As I looked from left to right and straight ahead, I saw blue water, green forested hills, occasional white flying specks of birds; it was a glorious vision!
The Interislander Ferry is wheelchair accessible, as described on their “Ships and Services” page.