Turns out there IS such a thing as a free lunch. Well, free dinner.

Windy Wellington is apparently how its known, but we must have lucked out as we had almost no wind and a bright sunny day as we arrived last night after dropping off Carole and Amandine at the blueberry farm.

The hostel was basic, but cheap (at least by wellington standards!) and had free parking, so perfect for us. They weren’t too busy either, so Clara and I got our own six-bed dorm room to ourselves, which was great.

After a quick shower and change we headed into town to find some dinner, and almost immediately stumbled across a Free BBQ at the Cambridge Hotel! If you’re in town on a Wednesday night then head down to the Cambridge Hotel at 6pm for a full spread of steaks, lamb chops, bratwurst, salads, rice, all completely free! Im not sure how or why this weekly meat frenzy happens, but it does, and it’s awesome.

We also met our new travel buddy Pauline last night, a girl we’d met previously at Hot Water Beach weeks ago (I borrowed her spade in a vain attempt to dig myself a hot water hole) and Clara had been in touch to mention we had a few free seats. Pauline came and joined us at the Cambridge Hotel and we all had some gratis dinner and a drink before mooching round town and checking out some other bars.

Paulines friend had sent her a list of cool places in Wellie, and so we hit a few of those from the list, namely a few bars; Rogue and Vagabond, and then Goldings. Both were great, had awesome craft beers and ales, good music, great food and Rogue and Vagabond had a really sweet outdoor seating area with low tables and scatter cushions out in the park in front of the bar. Both are definitely worth a look if you’re in town.

The next morning we headed over to Te Papa, the national museum of New Zealand, which was one of the best cultural experiences I’ve had so far here. The museum is huge, and one day really isn’t enough time to do it justice, but we managed to see a good chunk of the exhibits. Museum entry is free (Is everything in Wellington free?!) with some guest exhibits from time to time requiring paid ticketed entry.

Te Papa gives any Museum in Europe or America a run for its money – super modern, very well laid out, informative, helpful staff and a prime location right down on the waterfront. If you’re in wellington for any amount of time you’d be crazy to not go check it out.

Anyway, we got the interislander ferry across the Cook Straight this afternoon, which slowly winds its way down through the Marlborough Sounds and into Picton; a beautiful scenic journey and we sat outside for almost the entire journey. After landing in Picton we’re camped tonight at Whatamango Bay, a lovely grassy flat campsite about twenty minutes outside of Picton. It’s another D.O.C. campsite and so was only $6 per person for the night, which was a steal just for the view alone. We had a few bottles of wine and spent a lot of time chatting and getting to know Pauline. She seems great, and I get the feeling that the next few weeks in the South Island are going to be pretty magical. The night sky, even here, is already so beautiful, and once we get further south away from the light pollution of the bigger cities I can only imagine how bright the stars will be…