New Zealand: Week 21 – 25 pt.4

The One With a Mountain, a Volcanoes and Far Too Much Driving

And so we reach the fourth and final instalment of my North Island adventure. After relaxing in the very north it was time for a speedy return to Wellington. We’d taken three weeks to get up to Cape Reinga and planned to get back down in one. There was a lot driving. In a car with aircon that had broken on our way up to Cape Reinga. It was less than ideal.

Our quick decent started with a 7 hour drive back to Auckland, where mum’s friend Paula had offered us her sofas for the night. We were throughly spoilt with tour of Half Moon Bay,  fish and chips and ice cream for dinner and then bacon sandwiches in the morning. It was lovely to stay somewhere homey for the night and brilliant to see some photos of mum from back in the day, so thanks Paula for letting us three gappers into your home!

New Plymouth was our next destination, again another good long stretch of driving. When we arrived the view of Mount Taranaki was incredible but I didn’t take any photos as I thought it could wait until the next day when we had planned to go closer. The weather had other ideas and the next morning was it was completely cloudy at the top, stopping all plans of getting some good photographs. Damn clouds. Before we left we had a drive around the town and then went down to the waterfront before another session of driving.

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A campsite next to Tongareio was on the cards for our penultimate night in the tents and camping in an, all be it very crowded, campsite right next to a volcano was pretty cool. A volcano that we got to see smoking when we left the next morning.

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It was another day of driving following our sleep next to the volcano, but it was day that included driving past Mt Doom, so not all bad. Our final night camping was pretty low key and more of a stop off into Wellington rather than an actual place to visit. It was weird to think our month of travelling was almost over, and as much as I was looking forward to sleeping in a proper bed again, I will miss my complete bargain of a tent. It has served me well.

I think we were all pretty keen to get back to Wellington as we were up, packed and ready to go in record time. It ended up being a rather short drive into Wellington and we were ready to check in to the hostel far too early so it was another trip to the cinema. This time we watched The Imitation Game, in a slightly less posh cinema which was probably a good thing given that we’d spent the last two days camping and definitely looked like we’d spent the last two days camping.

Our final day on the North Island was spent doing all the things we didn’t get a chance to do last time we were in Wellington. Mainly riding the cable car, going to the Carter Observatory and having a walk in the Botanic Gardens. To celebrate our last night we splashed out on Lone Star for dinner. After weeks of pasta and instant noodles, steak and banoffee pie was very much appreciated.

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And so the adventure concluded with a trip back across the Cook Straight (no sea sickness from me) and a long drive into Christchurch. You’ll be pleased to know tradition continued and the weather was terrible in Kaikoura, which I found hilarious. Maddie not so much. Our last day of the road trip also happened to be the exact half way point of my time in New Zealand and I found that pretty hard to believe. It’s been flying by.

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