Of course, as enjoyable as spending over five hours on a train with beautiful views is, we were on the Tranzcoastal for a purpose: to get the Interislander ferry through the Malborough Sounds, across the sea and over from South Island to North Island - specifically, Wellington.
What really amused us when we landed at Wellington, was that we found the Kaitaki ferry had a big painted over set of letters on its side announcing it had once been 'Pride of Cherbourg': that's a long journey!
Wellington was fabulous, despite a rather overcast start to our main day there: this was mostly because of the Cuba Street zone, the kind of area that makes you want to pack up streets-worth of venues in your TARDIS-sized suitcase and take them home with you. Second hand bookshops! Anarchist bookshop/internet cafes (no Microsoft products in sight)! Vintage clothes stores (Ziggurat - I love you!) Excellent independent restaurants! Slow Boat Records!!! (This last one cued a SPLURGE of purchases that had the stoe owners grinning from ear to ear - but which with the exchange rate was an exceptionally reasonable act).
[This post is a work in progress which thanks to my computer and Blogger conspiring I cannot save as draft]