Once a city girl always a city girl. That's what I discovered in Wellington. As soon as we arrived there, it felt like coming home. Too bad we don't have a lot of time, I think it's worth spending it in Wellington. Our couch surf hosts Jess and Luke welcomed us in their flat with a view (photo above was taken from the window in their living room) and spoiled us with great dinners and breakfasts.

Our stomachs made place for more than just dinners and breakfasts. This city has so many nice places to eat and drink something. We just couldn't decide where to go first so we tried as many bars and restaurants as possible. Lots of great food and good drinks later we didn't fit in our trousers anymore... Joke swapped trousers for dresses and I went for a 5k run with Jess. We did the park run in Lower Hutt with 90 other runners, what a nice experience.

Jess and Luke showed us the botanical gardens (where they got married) and we made a nice walk from their flat to the city center. Steep roads, amazing views and a lot of green areas. Joke and I would go back up by bus and that's how we got a little lost. All these streets look the same and we had no clue where to get off the bus. So we had a tiring climb to get back at the flat.

It was just so good to be in such a vibrant city. To wander around in the nice streets and shops, watch all the people from the terraces of the little bars and look at al the moustaches that the men here grew for Movember! Too bad we had to catch our ferry this afternoon to go to the south island, it wouldn't be a punishment to stay a bit longer there. Windy Welly, you will be missed.


For great cocktails, an amazing interior and a good atmosphere:
The library
Level 1/53 Courtenay Place
Te Aro, Wellington

Just next door, a great Asian restaurant:
45 Tory Street
Te Aro, Wellington

A little trip to Cuba:
234 Cuba St
Te Aro, Wellington

Good coffees and the breakfast didn't look bad either:
Duke Carvell's
6 Swan Ln
Te Aro, Wellington

Great pies with cream:
Sweet mother's kitchen
5 Courtenay Pl

More cocktails you should definitely try:
106 Cuba St



We were lucky again to get 1 ride from Taupo to Napier, a city in Hawke's Bay. This city was destroyed by an earthquake in the 30s. They used the popular 'art deco' style to rebuild it and now this city is well known for it. They even have a festival to celebrate the art deco history. The region of Hawke's Bay is also known for its vineyards and that was a good reason to stay for more than one day.

So the first day we took some time to explore the city, although the last bus to our camping was at 5:15 PM... There was not a lot to do on the camping so we cooked ourselves some pasta and had some good wine. The wine here is amazing and we decided to sing up for these vineyard - wine tasting tour thing, since were in a good region. While we thought we'd learn a lot about the different kinds of wine. We ended up learning how to smell the wine and... just drink it... It was just a lot of fun, but please don't ask me what kind of wine I like!

After the wine tasting afternoon, we had a little walk to the port of the city. I really thought it was going to rain because the sky was getting darker and darker. It was transforming in some sort of electric blue. With just a little ray of sunlight that made it all even prettier.



So these are a few pictures of Taupo. I didn't take a lot of pictures because we were only staying there for one day and we had some sort of a lazy afternoon and a walk next to the lake.

I was thinking about doing this Tongariro crossing (a 7h hike) the following day, but decided not to do it by myself because everything I read about it said you have to be in a good condition to do it, and to be honest, that's not the case, so I'd probably need someone to encourage me when all my energy was gone. And I was lucky I didn't because the following day the Tongariro volcano erupted after 115 years (you can see some pictures here) while about 70 people where doing this crossing. I heard they had to run for their lives but I'm not sure if that is true.



This lady who picked us up when we were hitchhiking was super enthusiastic about Rotorua. She was like 'ooh it's such a lovely place and there's so much to do and see' and that's pretty much what every Kiwi has been saying but we kind of managed to do and see everything we wanted in just one day...

First of all, we slept in our tent for the first time. Luxury-camping on a campsite with a swimmingpool and some thermal spa pools (and still on a budget). We did some touristy things like a very expensive but entertaining Maori evening. This is the part where Joke found the first 'love of her life' (of this trip): the 'Maori chief' of the show.

I wanted to see some of the boiling mudpools as well (this is what Rotorua is known for) but this didn't fit in the budget anymore (thanks to the Maori show) so we managed to see some of them for free! And thanks to the guy who picked us up the next day when we were trying to hitchhike to Taupo, we got to bathe in this hot thermal river as well!

So on the second last picture, you can see the chief on the right for those who are interested ;-)
And this last picture is a waterfall in the hot thermal river!