It honestly feels like our time in New Zealand was a bit of a dream. As I sit in a familiar, cafe setting (this time in Calgary)… my hours spent at Henry & Ted are dusted in a golden cloud of memory.
Walking home in the sunshine (sometimes having to call Joel to save me from a sudden downpour), and cutting in to walk along the ocean on my way back seems far too lovely to have been real life.
We’ve settled back in at home, organizing our home in new ways. Making it better than we left it all those months ago, and spending as much time as possible with family and friends (new and old).
Canada is home, I even love the frosty mornings and freezing days we’ve had since being back. However, I’m happy to slip back and rewind this afternoon… thinking back on our trip with our parents and Evan (because I can’t believe I haven’t written through the rest of that trip yet).
SO, here we go…
Rewind to Wellington
When last I posted, we had just visited the West coast and were leaving New Plymouth, and on our way to Wellington. With just minutes before closing, we enjoyed a pit-stop at an awesome Indian food place in Whanganui. We’d stopped there before and enjoy ‘the best’ butter chicken in a lunch combo that can’t be beat.
We ordered with haste and bribed the owner with tips and compliments in order to sit and scarf down the deliciousness.
With daylight to spare, we found our way to our Wellington accommodation and soon became enamoured with it. Our container house was a feat of modern architecture, design and engineering… and, I mean – it was just really cool.
The house was built up on 3 shipping containers, with parking underneath. The parents each had a bedroom and bathroom on the second floor, the first floor held a functional kitchen, record player, lounge, an outdoor eating area, a bathroom and outdoor bathhouse. The young ‘nes were all on the top floor. Joel and I had a small balcony off our portion of the space and Evan was kind to sleep in the theatre room (where the guys had an evening of video games and we watched a movie one night, too) on an air mattress.
Having had the better part of the day dedicated to driving, we kept our evening plans local. Pizza from Hell (just a 5 mins drive away for pick-up) and the most interesting round of mini golf at a course, just ten minutes walk up the road.
The course seems to have been built by an artist who just liked playin’ around with material. There were lots of metal work, welding and weird little obstacles throughout. Mostly… it was a disaster for keeping score, but a lot of fun to just be out and about.
The next morning, with a little rest and some coffee sustaining us, we headed for the CBD. With a sizeable earthquake causing some parking restrictions (as many of the underground parkades were still closed to the public), we circled for quite some time before finding a spot to take in the downtown.
Eventually we found a spot and headed towards the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.
If ever you’re in Wellington, be sure to invest a few hours here. The exhibits are free to visit, and simply exceptional. Ever since stopping here with friends in September, I had been eager to show my dad the Gallipoli display. Powerful, indeed!
He loved it (obviously), and we all enjoyed a stroll through Te Papa.
From the museum, we headed to Cuba street to take in some shops, and grab lunch at Olive (as per Ashley’s recommendation- we were not disappointed)!
Once we’d been nourished, we split up for some speed-shopping before heading up to the Mount Victoria Lookout for a 360 view of the city. We kinda did a condensed tour of the downtown area on our way, stopping quickly at Oriental Bay, too.
From the lookout we meandered around, first stopping to see Smaug at the airport and then going for a leisurely drive around the Miramar peninsula before grabbing appetizers and taking in a movie at the historic Roxy theatre.
City adventures continued the next morning, as we again started downtown and spread out from there. We hit a favourite breakfast spot and fuelled up for our adventures around the city centre.
We took in some interesting architecture, the cable car, botanical garden and parliament buildings before heading to Miramar to meet up with old friends and to do the Weta Workshop tour 🙂
We were excited to share the Weta workshop with our visitors, and were curious to compare our 2 experiences. It’s always interesting to go back to such a creative space, and Joel and I loved learning different things on our second trip back as our guide focused on a completely different media then our first tour guide; in an active workshop- there are always new things to take in. Really neat.
We were so pleased to be able to meet up with an dear Red Deer friend and his family following our tour. We met up and enjoyed a great supper together with a view of the ocean at Spruce Goose before splitting ways for a little bit.
My parents were hoping to see some rare eels (although, sadly the earthquake seems to have changed their habitat a bit when they went for a hunt with our Red Deer pal), and the Klettke’s and Evan went back to the Roxy for an evening Christmas market!
Our time in Wellington was so full! We loved the food, people, weather and the vibe of the capital city. Our funky house for a few days left us all with lasting memories and we had taken in enough to feel ready to move on to our final North Island stop as a group of 7.
Ugh, Napier… You Beauty, You
With a new day came a new city. One of our favourites. Napier.
Napier is simply beautiful. There’s often lots of sunshine, unique beaches, amazing architecture and tasty, tasty wines. We loved our big, beautiful, antique house on the hill and were grateful for so many days in this art deco town.
While Joel and Evan found the tickle trunk the house didn’t even know it had… we all enjoyed the view from out Airbnb and I had a soak in the fabulous claw-foot tub!
We all loved this house for different reasons, but one really cool thing was it provided the best home-base for wandering. We were so close to downtown we were able to break off in any sized group we wanted and tour at our own pace. Often folks would be here there and everywhere. The first evening, me and my parents walked down the hill and grabbed a few essentials to make some tasty nachos for supper.
Once rested up, we had a morning to enjoyed the sun, some friends, the farmers market and DONUTS in the city.
While Joel, Evan and I met up with Aaron and Britt for a walk in the city, the parents prepared themselves for our evening at a winery with Ben Harper.
Charles found one rockin’ outfit:
Soon enough, the afternoon was pushing towards evening and we were truckin’ towards Church Road Winery to see one pretty fun concert. We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful setting, better weather, tastier wine, or lovelier company.
Our last couple days on the East side were spent hiking, enjoying friends, food, and sights. Joel and Evan were able to do at hike out to Cape Kidnappers, the younger folks did a hike near Hastings while the older ones took in an architecture walking tour!
Our last day in the Hawke’s Bay region was used up taking in one of New Zealand’s oldest prisons, wandering in the rain a bit, and finally enjoying some lunch at one of NZ’s oldest wineries (this is where I had one of the best red wines I’ve ever tasted)!
The prison tour was really interesting, but left us all in a bit of a funk. There seemed to be some darkness lingering there… so we were happy to wander the beautiful grounds at the Mission Estate Winery to switch gears before unwinding in the evening.
And just like that our North Island tour was through! We got ourselves together and by mid-morning were on the road again. This time headed to the Auckland Airport to fly South.
Queenstown was next on the list!