The storm was still raging in the morning and, after a rotten night’s sleep, we were in no hurry to abandon our warm bed.  It was about 10.30am by the time we realised that we had better get our skates on if we wanted to catch the 2pm ferry.

We did the laundry while breakfast was cooking, and John checked his e-mail and bank account on the campsite computer.  Oh joy!  The insurance cheque had arrived at last, exactly one month after posting …

As we headed down the esplanade, towards Wellington, we could see that sailing conditions were far from improved.  The sea was brown in colour, and choppy, and the surf roared in across the deserted beach.  Before we even reached the ferry terminal, the radio DJ had announced that all inter-island services had been suspended.

At the ticket office, the next available sailing was 7.30pm on Friday – further shortening our tour of the South Island.  We had no alternative but to book it.  We couldn’t bear the thought of another sleepless night in Lower Hutt, so drove into town to find a comfortable hotel for the night.

We checked into the Shepherd’s Arms Hotel (due to close for renovations in a few days’ time), and treated ourselves to a deluxe room with a spa bath!  The dining room was already stripped out and ready for decoration, but for now we were just glad of a warm, dry, base, and the chance to catch up on our finances and work on the diary.  We ate in the Aubergine Restaurant across the road.