We have a ridiculous amount of time for holiday break, yet three weeks has already flown by.
We began the road trip on the North Island after Olivia and I had been white water kayaking for 5 days. We took the ferry (with her car) to Wellington.
The ferry was luxurious with multiple stories, and a movie theater, and cafes and beautiful seats. The three hour journey was smooth and easy, and we disembarked in Wellington. Imagine a town built entirely for 20-somethings with stores selling locally made peanut butter and hole-in-the-wall dumpling restaurants and cafes on cafes.
The peanut butter was glorious.
We drove up from Wellington through sheets of rain, past numerous volcanos, to the Coromandel Peninsula. The road to our campsite was one that Lonely Planet described as “untamed and unsealed”, which quickly became the motto of the trip. We camped at Hot Water Beach, where hot gas escapes upward from deep below the sand and warms up the water. At low tide, we dug our feet into the sand and were scalded by this fantastic geologic treat!
We cove and bay – hopped our way along the North Island, including Cathedral Cove where Narnia was filmed, using rainy days as transit days. We made it to Paihia, towards the very top of the North Island, where we were greeted with warmer weather still and a beautiful view of the Bay of Islands.
Cove hopping in action.
We were pointed to this incredible hike on Cape Brett that was 17.4km to a DoC hut and lighthouse on the tip of the cape.
Beautiful views of the Bay of Islands…
… and pristine coves…
Landis had the brilliant idea of cuddling in her sleeping bag on the tufts of grass and watching the sun set– so soon enough we were all bundled outside the hut, watching the sun set after a gentle sprinkle of rain awarded us the classic rainbow-over-lighthouse photo that doesn’t seem real.
Sunrise was equally as glorious.
I bounced on down to the Hamilton area to see a friend from Costa Rica also studying in New Zealand! We hiked up Pirongia, nearby mountain.
Cool fairy-like mushrooms in the quasi-rainforest on the way up.
Pirongia path along the ridgeline.
We eventually came to the inevitable return to a now much colder South Island; see above for a view of a passing ferry.
The past few days were in Kaikoura, seal scouting and walking in the rain. The pictures hardly do this trip justice, and I’m only just nearly ready to be back in Christchurch, with hopes for ample escape time in the weekends to come.