Our final stop of the trip was Wellington: The Capital City of New Zealand.
BUT, before we headed south, we had a quick bush bash and stream walk to get to the Pumice Caves in Tongariro National Park to find some glow worms!
Geared up in wellie boots we had a small and soggy trek to find the funky creatures. Sadly my phone camera didn’t pick them up very well but they were so cool to see — you can just make one out in the first picture below. It was also good fun traipsing through the caves
Once we arrived in Wellington it was quite late so we left the exploring for the next day:
We began the day with breakfast in one of the cosiest and funky cafes ever on Cuba Street. Midnight Espresso did the best pancakes and some really good coffee too.
We spent most of our morning in the Te Papa Museum probably one of the biggest museums I’ve ever visited. It had loads of interactive exhibits and was free entry, which explains why it was so so busy and popular!
I really enjoyed the wildlife exhibitions which showcased the native species in New Zealand, both extinct, endangered, and active creatures. I was amazed by how big Kiwi’s really are, we never saw any on our trip but we did hear them at night in the Coromandel.
There was also a volcano exhibit which was extra interesting as it showed the change of the land due to volcanoes and glaciers over 1000’s and 1000’s of years. The graphic showed the volcano’s collapsing which demonstrated how lake Taupo (where we swam at Christmas in the previous blog) was formed.
We spent around 4 hours plus here, by which point I was very ready to get going on a walk.
Because we like a view, we trekked up to Mount Victoria which offered great views in every direction.
Desperate to get another sea swim in, we adventured down the hill to the nearest beach for my brother and I to have a swim.
I was not prepared with a swimming costume and towel, but was not going to let that stop me; so I just went in with my clothes which earnt me some funny looks on the walk back to the hotel afterwards!
We jumped off the end of a pier and swam around to the shore where Mum was paddling her feet. It was not quite as relaxing as I had hoped as there were lots of Salps in the water which felt like the weirdest things on your skin when you swim past them. But, I was so happy to have got one final dunk in the water in.
In hindsight, I should’ve done a swim tally from the whole trip… maybe I’ll go back and work it out!
A cosy evening
Probably one of our only quiet nights from the whole trip was our last evening in New Zealand. We got a takeaway from Hell’s Pizza and watched Hunt for the Wilderpeople in our hotel room.
With our flights home being later that day, we took a stroll around Wellington looking for brekkie which actually proved to be a challenge with a surprising amount of cafes being closed for the rest of the holiday period or not serving food that day — maybe we were just unlucky.
But when we eventually found coffee and an almond croissant, we happily soaked in the last of the city before we road-tripped around the coastline
Road-tripping the coast
We discovered true windy wellington on the beaches this day! It was so gusty.
There were lots of warning signs listing information about tsunamis and what to do if you felt an earthquake in the area. It was a real reminder that these events are just part of everyday life and the risk you take living in these regions.
We also had lunch at one of the coolest cafes called Scorch O Rama, on Scorching bay, where I had the best nachos ever. It was very gusty so we were holding tight onto our napkins!! I remember finding it very calming and relaxing to be by the sea as I was starting to feel a bit anxious about the flights home.
We then, still cramming everything in, went to the Weta Cave shop which had some awesome prop replicas and a mini museum.
It’s basically full of movie memorabilia for films such as Lord of the Rings, the Hobbit, Narnia, Avatar and more!
We didn’t manage to get a ticket for the workshops but the cave was cool enough in itself!
The final walk
We did one final walk to a view point which overlooked Wellington and the airport.
We also took advantage of a quiet car park to get changed into our clothes for the flight (aka. out of shorts so we didn’t freeze when we got back to England’s winter).
Finally, we enjoyed a cuppa in the airport before we said our farewells to Rich who at this point must’ve been incredibly desperate to get rid of us!
3 flights, and many hours later we made it home in one piece with one dog incredibly happy to see us.
We enjoyed a sunset flight back to Auckland and then endured the ‘joys’ of long-haul flights. Despite the delays, we thankfully made our connection flight otherwise it would’ve been a much longer journey home!
This is a holiday, travel experience, and family trip I will always always remember and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to go.
The North Island of New Zealand is spectacular. I can’t wait to one day return and see how the South Island compares!
My highlights of the trip (other than the family being reunited) have to be :
- Wild swimming in many waterfalls and the sea
- Hiking the Tongariro crossing
- Luging in Rotorua
- Seeing Hobbiton
- Kayaking past Cathedral Cove (although this is also one of the most embarrassing moments of the trip too #seasickness🤢)
- Seeing lots of extraordinary volcanic activity in the Craters of the Moon
So there we are! That was our trip to New Zealand.
I’ve now been living back in reality for over a month and still cannot get over how wonderful it was to travel New Zealand.
If you missed my previous blogs on this trip be sure to check them out:
- Wellington, New Zealand
- Christmas Day in Taupo and Boxing Day in Rotorua
- A week in Tongariro National Park
- Hobbiton, New Zealand
- Exploring the Coromandel, New Zealand
If you have read along, thank you so much!
And thank you for having the patience to wait for me to upload each blog. Since coming home, I’ve been super busy hence why it is now February and I’m only just now posting the last blog.
I really enjoyed: A) doing the travelling and B) writing about what we got up to
Hopefully, there will be some more travel blogs in the future!