The Quiet Traveller: Day 23 – Wellington (via Cook Strait)

I want to be a seal. No limbs, no responsibility. Kaikoura coastline seals know how to live.

Seal Schedule: (Sealdule)

Wake up, roll into sea.

Roll out of sea, go to sleep.


Departing Kaikoura for the second time, today we were bound for Wellington via the Cook Strait crossing, which meant switching from a four wheeled vehicle to a sea-going vessel. The Cook Strait is the gap of briny deep between the North and South Island, and is notorious for its unpredictability and often rough conditions. The Bluebridge ferry company would be given the honour of shuttling myself and others, vehicles, and cows across the strait on a fine grey day down under.

Looking out for pirates. Spoilers – there were no pirates. 

Leaving the South Island, the vessel crept through the sea inlet, passing through lush green land on either side. Upon reaching the open ocean, I could see and feel why the Strait had earned its notorious reputation – the wind kicked up, and I clung a little more tightly to the railing. It was a refreshing way to travel though, having spent many hours on buses and planes in the past few weeks. I spent most of the voyage up on the helicopter landing deck, as it provided some shelter from the wind but still had great views.

Departing the South Island. Feat. cows.

I didn’t have much time to look round the city upon arrival, so I hit up the supermarket opposite my hostel and found my room. Being in Wellington for a week and not being on the move every meant I could save some money by making use of a fridge and freezer – something which I was very excited about as it meant I could have a proper brewski, especially after the debacle at Rangitata.

My room was for six people and to be fair, was fairly roomy. But it was hot. It might have been too hot. I could feel the moisture in the air. This was gonna get sticky. Despite the immediate temperature issue, I was looking forward to exploring a new major city tomorrow. And to have a lie in – lie ins are actually a rare thing if one is moving everyday on the Stray bus.

This time roommates consisted of a couple of northern lads from Derby and Newcastle who were off to the pub, and Eden, a hippy Canadian girl who had with her a skateboard and a copy of ‘Big Magic’, a self-discovery book written by the author of ‘Eat Pray Love’. You shouldn’t judge people, and I myself was on a self-discovery expedition of sorts, but this person was a walking, talking, cliche.

I appreciated the AESTHETICS of carrying a skateboard around whilst travelling, but the impractical nature of it irritated me beyond belief. Firstly, hostels rarely have half-pipe facilities. Secondly, they’re fairly heavy. And finally, practicality > edginess. Maybe I’m just getting old.

I was being slowly roasted like a chicken in the room. Imagine those slowly roasting rotisserie chickens you see at the Tesco’s that do hot food, except the Tesco’s is in geostationary orbit around the Sun. That was me and my roommates enduring the sweatbox of a dormitory.

No amount of twisting and turning would provide relief from the crushing humidity. I turned my thoughts to icebergs, closed my eyes, and attempted to sleep. Tomorrow I would seek out a fresh oasis, one liquid version from the corner shop, and one quiet introvert one, within the bustle of the new city.