Our days might just got a bit boring since Day 4, even towards ourselves there is nothing actually as our imagination on how NZ is, spectacular scenery along the way was just nonsense to us. But the trip must go on so from Wellington, with a bit lazy we continue to south and hope more promising along the way. Ferry was too early for us at 8.30 am in the morning plus queuing although the ferry terminal is around 15 minutes only. This was a long long long 10 hours driving, excluding if we made any stop in between for the scenery, to reach Fox Glacier so no choice we made a decision to stay a night at Hokitika Pioneer Hotel which was not the wisest decision as we reached there very late at night around 10 pm and for the sake of Heli ride the next morning we had to wake up very early as well for another 2 hours ride to Fox Glacier.
On this ferry, there is different terminal of passenger check in and car check in, but if you are on the same booking, its recommended to just do car check in together, as you can drive inside then take a lift to level 5 - 10 for passenger seats, restaurants and scenery on the open air deck.
The exciting part was only the Interislander ferry from Wellington to Picton, guess I was never been in cruises only ferry from Banyuwangi to Bali or Merak to Lampung, never expected of luxury transfer furthermore free wifi. The ferry we took is Kaitaki, meaning "challenger", has a capacity of 1350 passengers and is the largest ferry operating in New Zealand. With two restaurants, a sports bar, shop, several lounges and a deck dedicated to children, Kaitaki is designed to entertain. Different time might get different ferry though.For details of the ferry you may check their website https://www.greatjourneysofnz.co.nz/interislander/experience/our-ships/kaitaki
Pictures speak for themselves, this ferry ride is prepaid with our car rental bookings. Cost NZD 72/person and NZD 170 for the car, please check Jucy website for details as type of cars might cost differently. There are several areas, some are free for public including the reclining sofa section, but some you need to pay to enter to enjoy the breakfast or lounge to sleep in, such as Queen Charlotte Lounge for NZD 20 which include NZD 15 voucher for food in any restaurants, cafes or bar in Kaitaki Ferry or you can choose to pay NZD 45 to get into the Kaitaki Plus lounge where hot breakfast and buffet is included but we chose to have breakfast in Hector's cafe at level 7 for NZD 16. But since it was free seating in Hector's cafe, please expect the crowd so windows seat will not be available if you are driving and need to check in your car. (p.s. picture of Hector's cafe was downloaded from their web as our picture is full of crowd)
And there are options to have reclining sofa without paying any amount extra in Hector's Bar & Quiet Area on the side of the ferry on level 5 or 6 (either one). You may also climb up to open air deck at level 10 but surely it was freezing on winter time like us.
Soon we got out from ferry, we can see the south is more promising, "A good traveller has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving" (Lao Tzu), and that was our feeling once we enter South land of NZ. No
longer after that, we found ourselves can't resist to stop in Nelson Lakes National Park for the view of Lake Rotoiti, most of the time we don't plan this kind of stop, and sometimes this is the beauty of road trip without exact schedule, book the next day hotels whenever we stop and sometimes knock on the door of motel to check if there is any room.
And with no hesitation, we enjoyed our lunch for an hour there without worry what next road will bring us, forgotten about the next 10 hours driving that needed to reach Hokitika, but after that straight till dark and hungry then we made a stop in Punakaki Tavern which supposedly plan to see sunset here, dark is the only words to describe NZ on night time, hardly see any lights anywhere, the only light came from the tavern only, worst is phone signal is off in a few areas in NZ including Punakaiki, to get a wifi from restaurant we need to pay 10 NZD which we think it was unnecessary for only dinner. The food were nice and big portions for a reasonable price, tap water is free flow here yeahh
Its important to begin a search with a full tummy, although its still an hour driving in a very dark night. Reach Hokitika Pioneer Hotel around 10 pm and guess what it's not 24 hours lucky we had local SIM Card, we have to call them to open the door for us, the owner was very friendly although for them its sleeping time already, in the winter they slept at 8. The room were quite nice for NZD 111.54, although mentioned paid at hotel but since we checked in so late, its already charged to credit card. Sometimes you just forgot to take photos when tired, sorry can't help to take shower and have a precious sleep. The only interesting part is the sink is inside the room although we shared shower rooms and toilets with others, but no hot water so you can imagine we will still brush our teeth in the common bathrooms or mixed with boiled water from the kettle. The end of one story is the beginning of another one, for every night that ends, the promising morning will wait for us.