So there we were, back in the van after a three-week break, parked up at the marina in Wellington. It took a while to get used to being back in a small space, not having unlimited internet to keep us entertained and being parked up back to back with other campers again.
But before we knew it, we were back in the swing of things. I went on a hike with a Meetup group and met some nice people, while seeing a new part of Wellington, which was really fun. The next day Thomas and I walked part of the Southern Walkway in Wellington, ending at Lyall Bay where we had some hot chips and a swim in the ocean. We met up with Bas in Lyall Bay and the boys spent some time surfing, with a few dolphins curiously popping by. Pretty sweet, to be able to see dolphins from your living room!
By now we had booked the ferry to the South Island and with a week to go, we decided to hit the road on the North Island one last time. We drove over to Baring Head with the hope of going bouldering, but the wind changed our plans as is was pretty uncomfortable on the beach and we ended up staying on the nearby campsite instead. The next day we drove over to the Purangirua Pinnacles, where we joined some friends for a walk among some pretty impressive scenery.
After the hike and a catch up in the van, our friends drove back to Wellington while we continued on down the road to Cape Palisser, the most southern part of the North Island. We had some drizzly weather the following day, perfect for Thomas to go for a run and for me to get some work done in the morning. It cleared enough in the afternoon for a bike ride out to the lighthouse and the seal colony, before returning back to the van. To our surprise, we had found a local book swap library in Ngawi, so with plenty of new books to get stuck into, we spent a lot of time reading and relaxing.
The next day we decided to slowly make our way back while checking out the surf along the way. We didn’t get far as the surf turned out to be pumping a mere 3km up the road. So we parked up the van and Thomas pretty much hung out in the water for the rest of the day. We made some friends and decided to stick around for another day, even if it meant getting a bit creative with our remaining food to make it last 🙂 (pancakes for breakfast three days in a row, I’m not complaining).
The next day, the surf was still pumping, but instead of 4 people there were now 40 people in the water, which helped us to finally leave Cape Palisser behind and make our way back into civilisation. We stopped in at Featherston to do some work at the library and buy groceries and had a very windy night at Lake Wairarapa before driving back over the hill to Upper Hutt, where we visited the indoor pools for a nice soak and a much needed shower. With some more shopping along the way as well as a stop at the dump station, we arrived back in Wellington and parked up at Owhiro Bay, with a tank full of fresh water and a fridge full of fresh food.
With five more days in Welly our main goal was to spend some time with the friends in whose house we’d been living the past weeks, who were now back from their trip to Holland. For some reason most of our activities seemed to be focused on eating and/or drinking. We started with going out for a delicious dinner at Aunty Mena’s, followed by beers and discussions at the Laundry Bar. The next day featured a cheese picnick, iced coffee in town, a game of petanque and watermelon followed by curry and cryptic puzzles.
On Sunday I ticked off another hike I had been wanting to do for a while, the City to Sea Walkway. Thomas and I met up in town to have a coffee with some newfound friends before going back to Bas and Suus, this time for the best gado gado I’ve ever had. Monday was a rainy day, so I did some work in the library and we went indoor climbing in the afternoon. And then it was Tuesday, our last day on the North Island, which we celebrated with homemade pizzas and some live music in the Botanic Gardens. We have had an amazing time in Wellington, but now were ready for the South!