-- Friday, January 10, 2003 --
21:43 - Picton, Nelson, St. Arnaud/Nelson Lakes National Park - What a long day! We were at the ferry station by 7:15am, and thankfully were seated in club class away from all the crying children. When we were standing in line to get our boarding passes, I saw in the reflection of the station next to us an Asian guy who looked exactly like Chuck Rhee, a pianist acquaintance from Stanford. We ended up standing around next to him while we waited for the boarding process to begin, but I still wasn't sure it was him, because... well, we're in New Zealand. Anyway, it did turn out to be him. He and his friend Leland did the Lost World adventure in Waitomo Caves, which sounded amazing. Perhaps next time around, I'll get to do that. :)
We arrived in Picton and were on the road in our newly rented Ford Futura by 10:30am. It's strange that it's cheaper to rent a second car for four days than to take a car across the ferry twice (we aren't allowed to take rental cars across, anyway). We drove Queen Charlotte Road westward and ended up in Nelson for lunch before continuing south to St. Arnaud, where we are staying for three days (We're staying at the Alpine Lodge, and will be making day trips out to the west coast and north to Abel Tasman National Park). On the way, we stopped a few times to explore (one such time was at a place called "Norris Gully," which looked like no one had been through the paths in a long time). I feel like New Zealand is one big National Park ("except that people can own land," Norm says). It's beautiful!