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Published: October 8th 2006
Outside Te Papa Museum
The ferry journey back over to the North Island was not as good as the first trip we took on it. No sightings of Dolphins and I was a little bit sad to be leaving the enchanting South Island. There are no camp sites in Wellington city itself so we stayed at Lower Hutt, like we had done on our way down. After checking emails, cooking dinner and stopping the ducks from getting in our van we settled down for another early night.
We drove into Wellington the next day and managed to find a place to park for a few hours (very expensive to park anywhere near the centre). We looked around the Te Papa museum for the two hours we had put on the van, however my back was once again giving me great discomfort so we were not making it around the museum as fast as we would have liked. Thommo went to put another few hours on the van and we purchased tickets to see the Lord of the Rings exhibition and the Constable gallery/exhibition. I have only ever watch half of one of the Lord of the Rings films so was not too into the
displays as didn’t really understand the story line in detail, but it was good to see how they made them etc. The Constable display was really good, I especially like the way he painted skies. I would have to say that the Te Papa is the best museum I have ever been too. The building itself is very interesting and the displays are also well thought out, with even an outdoor garden with a waterfall and caves! I really enjoyed one display where you go into a old shop and watch a clip about time gone by. Every time the clip mentioned the next thing a spotlight would be shone on one of the many things in this shop. I have totally forgotten what it is called though!
The weather was gloomy and grey in Wellington (as it was when we had previously been through it) so after the museum we moved the van slightly further out and went to the centre for some food and also spent a while in a second hand book store to stock up. Once fuelled we set off with the aim of getting to Hastings. This involved driving through the Hutt valley, basically
Was so nice not to have to wrap up warm. Just a jumper was more than enough.
driving up a really steep winding hill and down the other side. The valley was full of fog and the van struggled in places to go more than 20kmph. We stopped in a few places to take in the view and also to let others pass up. I must admit that the roads here are well designed for faster vehicles to pass slow ones, with special lanes in places for passing. We drove the rest of the way after night fall and got to Hastings after the camp office had closed. However Thommo got instructions over the intercom and said he would pay in the morning. We drove around the site looking for the power sites. However we were not successful and Thommo went back to check where we were supposed to be going. Once we found a stop, near the river we settle down and got some kip.
The following morning we drove through the centre of Hastings and on to Napier. The sun was shining and for the first time in ages it was not really cold. We stopped at Cape Kidnappers for a walk along the beach and a pot of tea and a scone. Upon
They dont look too mean.
arrival we looked for our chosen campsite then once we had checked in we drove to the town centre to look around. Napier is a very pretty seaside town with large amounts of Art Deco buildings. We soon discovered that most of the town was rebuilt in the 30’s after an earthquake flattened it. We had parked close to the Aquarium and decided to venture in. I was really impressed with this place. We saw so much here, lots of colourful fish, some frogs, some piranha’s and even a Kiwi. We were also lucky enough to have timed it just right to witness the feeding of Manta rays, sharks and other fish which reside in the large main tank. This was really awesome as there was a rotating walk way and over the top of you was the tank. We spent a few good hours in there looking in awe at all of the animals. Afterwards we wondered around the centre and decided to treat ourselves to an early dinner out. Most places were closing from lunch and not selling dinner yet but we found a nice Irish pub called Rosie O’Grady’s that was serving food. We had a feed
Was cool to see this as all the fish, manta rays and sharks came up close.
(fussy as we are we didn’t enjoy the mass of sauces that we asked not to have), a cold drink and a few games of pool then went back to the campsite to publish some blogs, yes the campsite had wireless!!!
We woke up to brilliant sunshine again, I was beginning to really take a shine to this pretty place. We drove into town again and decided to visit Marine Land. This place was excellent, they care for injured animals as well as inform people about the behaviour etc. To begin with I felt very sorry for the lone dolphin swimming around the main tank however as soon as the show started the staff informed us that her friend had passed away not that long ago and that the dolphin left (Kelly I think she was called) was adapting to being by herself. The display was good and we even got to see some sea-lions and seals join in the show. There was another treat install for us as we were allowed to hold a little Blue Penguin. Another bonus was that is was only a few dollars to have your photo taken with it, most places charge loads.
I think these are cool.
It was a good experience but it stunk loads and was very wriggly. After taking all the photos we wanted we left and wondered along the water front and through the town a bit. We came across a crazy golf place and Thommo thought he would wipe the floor with me again. But this place had two crazy courses, one just normal with angles and another crazier one with round edges. We opted for the second one and I completely fluked every shot bar a few and managed to sink four holes in ones. I have never even had one before. In fact I have only played the game a hand full of times. We brought an ice lolly each as it was a warm day in comparison to anything we had experienced in the past month and a half! On the way back to the van we stopped off in a little locally owned craft shop to purchase some presents for several of my families birthdays.
That evening we walked from the campsite to the main road near the water front. We treated ourselves to a great steak and chips in a place we had noticed earlier that
Smile for the crowd
This was such a massive sea lion but seemed quite docile
day called Steak Out. It was fabulous and we were both stuffed after. We decided to go back to the Irish pub to have some more cider, glad they sell that in NZ. The pub was not busy in the slightest so we had a few games of pool and were just thinking of finding somewhere else when we got chatting to two really nice girls who offered to share a taxi with us to the port. This is where a lot of the louder club type ventures are. We had a few drinks in one pub that was playing a strange mix of music along with the video on the massive back wall. It was cool place though and we had a bit of a dance. We then all moved on to a smaller place down the road where there was some really good dance music. The place was small but the atmosphere was good there was a dude playing the trumpet and we danced quite a bit. When we left we waited for a taxi and got talking to some lads around 15 years old. They were telling us about the two main gangs that exist in Napier.
Impressed with how high this dolphin could jump.
This was a very different side to what we had previously seen there.
The following day we drove out of the centre for a while to look at some Art Deco buildings. We then went to the centre and looked at some more, there really is quite a lot of them. We also went into a bead shop and made some bracelets. We hit the road and made our way along the coast to Gisborne. The weather had changed by the time we got there and it looked very gloomy and industrial. We checked into the campsite and spoke for a long while to the guy running the place. He was really nice and was telling us how he had come over to work here with his young family. That evening we ate at the local takeaway, nice fish. The following morning we were woken by the loud sounds of cargo containers bring loaded onto a ship. It was a cold Sunday morning and we both managed to get out of the van minus the keys to go for a shower, plus Thommo had just locked it. We hoped one door would be unlocked by mistake but no such
luck. So we had to get the local AA man to some out and help us. I was really impressed as it only took about 45mins for him to turn up and get us in. We left the camp (after I had driven the van around a bit, really need to get my licence) and went to look around a bit, the cidery was closed, we were gutted. We looked at a few statues instead, including James Cook.
The next intention was to explore the East Cape but the weather was too bad and lots of rain had already fallen and more was predicted. With that in mind and the advice from the bloke at the campsite (that it was not worth seeing in the grey filled sky and pouring rain) we changed direction and decided to bypass this part and go up to the Bay of Plenty. The journey there was ok but many rivers were very swollen. We got to Opotiki and managed to settle down for the night, the winds were terrible and the rain just kept falling all night.
Onwards to the adrenalin rush in Taupo………….
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