After a glorious week on the South Island, we continued our brief tour of New Zealand on the North Island. Yes, two weeks is brief, should you be planning your next holiday there. To be consistent, this will primarily be a “postcard post” with captions as needed. Sunrise ferry from Picton (South Island) to Wellington (North Island). Also top photo.
Wellington is infamous for the gale force winds that blow through thanks to the Cook Strait, but it wasn’t too terrible that particular morning. The city is trendy and a haven for foodies and the artsy type. We loved it.
From Wellington, we drove north to one of New Zealand’s better known wine regions: Hawke’s Bay. Below is Mission Estate Winery, NZed’s oldest winery with some pretty amazing wines.
The nearby coastal town of Napier boasts black sand beaches. Camping there, listening to the crashing waves as we fell asleep and awoke, was bar none.
At the recommendation of a sommelier, we opted for the Tongariro Alpine Crossing; a 19k trek that traverses three volcanic peaks in New Zealand’s oldest national park. Certainly a different look and feel from the South Island. It was a little bit cold, a little bit hot, and the trek ended with views of volcanic vents before ending in rainforest terrain. It’s a point-to-point trek, but you can arrange with various bus companies to pick you up at the car park finish (where you’ve dropped your car) and take you to the car park start, all before beginning the trek. Convenient.
Seeing as we were in natural hot spring territory, it made sense to end the day by sitting in one. While there are plenty of pay-to-get-in options, we wanted a more authentic, raw experience. After a little bit of research we found a gem. And we enjoyed some Colorado beer that had been sitting in our Aussie fridge since Christmas, that had also traveled in our bags all this way until a divine opportunity presented itself so they could be consumed.
If there were ever a perfect moment in time that you’d want to pause, this was ours.
We hit some rain the following day, so we headed to Auckland where we spent a couple of days before heading back to the States, and ending one amazing year.
Below is our route.
And there you have it. Some of the most gorgeous, diverse landscape I have ever seen. Certainly one of our favorite places to have ever visited! After exploring a tiny bit of both islands, we have a better idea of where we would want to go/what we would want to do if we are lucky enough to travel to New Zealand again. Which we hope we are! And next time, we will give ourselves more than just two weeks.