Day #79 - Fantasy, Ferries and Fur Seals!

Today was a mini- transit day. We were going to leave the North Island and take the ferry across to the South Island. 

Before we headed across the strait however we had another magical destination on our list.

Having had such an amazing time at the Hobbiton Movie Set the other day, we had to pay a visit to the Weta Workshop - the company behind so much of the creative visuals of the Lord of the Rings movies, among many others.

The tour took us through many of the processes and crafts the company uses to create props, makeup and costumes. The workshop is still a working facility and so we only got to see displays of their work which were crammed with so many artifacts from the movies. 

My particular favourites were seeing the Sauron costume, Sting (Frodo's sword) some hobbit feet prosthetics and a stand-in scale model of Chappie from the sci-fi film of the same name. 

Due to intellectual property rights etc. we couldn't take any photos of the things we saw which means you'll have to go and see the exhibition for yourself! However, in the Weta Cave (the shop) they did have a mini museum where these were on display:

Bilbo Baggins' feet & a selection of armour from LOTR including Sauron mace. 

One interesting thing we learnt was that tinfoil makes a good material to model with.  We were shown some amazing pieces made by talented artists that were formed from carefully manipulating scrunched up tinfoil. There is also a material (paltiya) that they then use to coat the sculpture and refine its shape. This then hardens and is really durable and long lasting - so much so, they are using it for theme park decorations and outdoor models. If I was istill n school with children, I think we would be giving tinfoil sculpting a go. Follow Warren Beaton (Doc Tinfoil) on Instagram for more. 

Following our tour, we then took a short drive along the prettily named coast road  Shelly Bay Road to see some of the spectacular scenery that lies on the edge of Wellington.

At midday it was time to check in for our 1pm ferry crossing. This is a three and a half hour crossing which meant I could catch up with some blog writing ! We enjoyed lunch on board (nothing too exciting to write about).  Our van felt a little lonely on the journey though!

The crossing was smooth and as we navigated the straits of the South Island, we were treated to some very majestic scenery gliding past. 

After we disembarked at Picton, we did a quick drive around to say that we had been and then we headed to our campsite, about two hours away. We also stopped at a local supermarket to stock up and were really impressed with how they displayed their fruit and veg - so pretty and inviting!

The coast road was beautiful and the scenery never fails to impress. As we turned each headland, we were presented with another amazing view. We stopped at a rather large purpose built viewing area to the side of the road where lots of cars were already parked. This was a clear indication that it was worth stopping and investigating. What we found when we looked over the edge to the beach was amazing.  

There was a large colony of seals lying all over the rocks, preparing settle down for the night. It was wonderful to see them all together and since it's summer here there were many females nursing their young pups which was very cute to see. We think that were Kekeno seals and are the most common seals in New Zealand.

When we arrived at our campsite in Kaikōura we popped up to a view point to take in the stunning sunset before we retired for the evening.