Philip & Grandad Pete’s Adventure To The New Zealand Antique & Classic Boat Show – Part 1


The New Zealand Antique and Classic Boat Show March 3-4, 2012.

PART 1. The Journey – by Philip Andrew

Here in New Zealand, our only classic boat show has been held for the past 13 years on Lake Rotoiti, about an hours drive from the city of Nelson, which is situated at the top of New Zealand’s South Island. We live near Wellington, on the bottom of New Zealand’s North Island.

Having recently completed my 1958 Century Resorter “Principessa”, I decided to take her to the show and see what a Kiwi boat show is all about. Despite the relatively short distance between Nelson (on the south island) and Wellington (on the north island) there is a large and often rough stretch of water between us called The Cook Strait.

The only way to get the boat over to the show was to take the “Interislander” the ferry service that runs every 4 hours from Wellington across the strait through the Queen Charlotte Sound to the small town of Picton on the south island.

My buddy for the weekend, Grandad Pete and I set out from Lowry Bay for the 15 minute drive to be loaded onto the Interislander ferry named “Kaitaki” just on sunrise.

Its rather nerve wracking squeezing your pristine woody boat between huge trucks and steel supports. Arrrgh!

We pulled away from the Capital city right on 8:20 AM and settled in for the 3 hour trip to the South Island, also referred to by the locals cheekily as “The Mainland”.

Wellington is settled on a picturesque harbor protected from the often big seas of the Cook Strait by a narrow entrance. That’s it just ahead.

As the “Kaitaki” makes her way through the gap out into the Strait we pass the treacherous Barrett Reef where the ferry “Wahine” foundered on the 10th April 1968 with the loss of 50 lives.

On our port side another ferry the “Arahura” is just coming into the harbor. The seas were relatively smooth and we made the heads of Queen Charlotte Sound in good time.

The gap into the Sounds is even tighter than the entrance to Wellington, but it creates a tranquil play-ground for boaties and holiday makers.

Once in the shelter of Queen Charlotte, the pace of life changes down a gear.

After a comfortable 3 hour sailing from the North Island, Picton comes into view and we are called to go below and get our cars ready to disembark.

Picton is a pretty little town that’s been nourished solely by the ferries since the late 1950’s and the tourists they bring each and every 4 hours or so. There has been talk recently about changing the ferry port to Clifford Bay which the economists say would cut an hour off the trip. What they don’t say is it would also kill this small town and rob our tourists of an amazingly beautiful journey. I hope it never happens.

Grandad Pete getting in the boating mood by standing in a lifeboat from the “Mikhail Lermontov”. The “Mikhail” as you will have deduced was a Russian vessel. A cruise liner in fact and one that sank nearby in February 1986 after being directed the wrong way through the Sounds by the local harbor-master pilot.

“I tell ya I know these Sounds like the back of my hand” he said – Not!

You could tell we were heading in the right direction as we started spotting the posters in shop windows.

As we began climbing out of Picton heading for Lake Rotoiti (Elevation 915 ft / 279 meters), we started hearing news reports of a large storm brewing that was going to hit the North Island and the upper South Island. Winds of 90 mph (150 kph) and snow down to 1,000 ft (300 meters) elevation. Whaaat?? This is the peak of summer here! – The weather sure is crazy these days…

We were showing 68 degrees (20c) outside temp on the dash as we entered the famous grape growing plains of the Wairau Valley.

The Wairau is like a place that time forgot. Lets just say its pretty relaxed down here… (The Naturists also like to swing in the Wairau Valley, click here to check it out – Texx)

We arrived at Lake Rotoiti at about 2:30 PM. By then it was raining and the temperature had dropped to 50 degrees (10c). We checked into the Alpine Lodge and headed for the bar.

A quick check of Woody Boater on the iPhone and a bit of office work…

And then we saw this… Not ideal weather for a boat show!

Thanks Philip for sharing Part 1 of your story with us here at Woody Boater.

Stay tuned tomorrow for the conclusion to Philip & Grandad Pete’s Adventure to the New Zealand Antique & Classic Boat Show…

Will they get the boats off the trailers and out on Lake Rotoiti?
Will Grandad Pete get his classic boat ride as promissed?
Will it snow??
Will they get stranded in the bar all weekend?
Will Philip get to wear his special order Woody Boater Captains Cap?

Stay tuned on Wednesday morning for Part 2. The Big Show – By fellow Woody Boater Philip Andrew.


11 replies
  1. RiverRat
    RiverRat says:

    Awesome. I have been to the tip of the north Island many years but did not have time for the south. A beautiful country. I would love to see more of it, now that I know I might find some woody boaters like Philip down under.
    I would consider Philip’s garage a nice beginning tourist stop including that nice lapstrake out on the drive.

  2. Paul H.
    Paul H. says:

    Love a good raod trip story involving wooden boats. I have never been down there and it looks very nice. That weather seems odd for summer, doesn’t it?

  3. Rick
    Rick says:

    Fantastic scenery, beautiful boat/trailer setup but I could have done without Texx’s link (lol, was hoping for something different).  What a shame though that with such nice and freindly people down under that they only have a woody boat show when we have more than we can get to.  Maybe some of ours can be held down there?  Nah, I saw what it took for Philip to get his boat shipped, oh well.  Looks like he found a good spot to hole up for the storm, internet and suds.  Now he just has to get the boat inside.

  4. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    I would love to take the boat to New Zealand to check out their woody scene, but my GPS can’t seem to calculate a route. 

    Also, I agree with Rick on the link thing.  I believe Texx should get a suspension or fine for that!   Also, I think Matt needs to dig a little deeper and find out WHY Texx had that link to begin with!

  5. Tritone
    Tritone says:

    WooHoo! If I didn’t have absolute faith in Texx & Woody Boater reporting, I would say the pix of the QC looks very much like the San Juan Islands in the PNW.
    Phillip, is the water OK for small boats inside the islands? (yes, I realize it’s a bit salty). Wine & boating; 2 good things….

    • Philip Andrew
      Philip Andrew says:

      Yes the sounds are very sheltered. Perfect for salt water boating. There is a Riva Aquarama tucked away in one of those coves belonging to Michael Seresin the Film maker.

    • Texx
      Texx says:

      In the shot above from the side of the highway (looking at the boat and SUV from side) I love the way that the Resorter looks like it’s “Floating” sitting on that cool trailer.

      Nice work Philip.

  6. Philip Andrew
    Philip Andrew says:

    Thanks Texx. I worked hard to make it sit just right. I spent a day pin striping the trailer then took it all off the next morning and ran just one simple dual line the full length and left it. I think it looks right now. I had two classic comments from old boys at the show. The first was, ” Will ya look at that flash trailer. It looks faster than the boat.” The other was ” No that is just silly.”

Comments are closed.