From East Cape exploration & first-week-camping fun we headed down south. A few destinations to see before crossing waters and arriving on the South Island! Here I'm sharing some moments from our days on the road heading down south and reaching the cool capital Welly...
Visiting Freeman White in Napier
After we ended our amazing Mahia holiday (read updates from our first week of road trippin' here) we drove straight to Napier accompanied by Chaz and Kem (Chaz is originally from Napier). We explored the famous Art Deco city just a bit and visited Freeman who's a friend of Leon’s parents and an amazing artist painting portraits and New Zealand landscapes! He's an upcoming world talent and besides from visiting local galleries you can see and buy his art directly through his Freeman White page here.
Highlights: Drinking wine on a sunny day in the coolest art studio downtown Napier and getting inspired by a true artist.
Havelock North and visiting more Shanghai Friends
From Napier to one of its 3 sister towns Havelock North to visit another Shanghai friend who’s no longer in Shanghai (that’s the trend, seems like everyone’s getting out of that place). Matt is back with his parents in Havelock North the city which is also home of the The Sleeping Giant mountain: Te Mata Peak, Hawkes Bay wineries and Arataki honey headquarter yum.
Te Mata Peak's 360 degrees "Lord of the Ring" view was a highlight and I have to come back for a sunrise up here one day.
A Drive Through Dannevirke to the South of the North Island
Unfortunately we had to say goodbye to our Shanghai Kiwi friends and to sunny Hawkes Bay. We had a long drive ahead of us down south towards Tora and Cape Palliser – the North Island’s most southern point... Of course not that unfortunate when you still have freedom, nature and amazing NZ travels waiting for you...
Though most friends in Hawkes Bay gently warned me that our drive-through destination Dannevirke would be my biggest NZ disappointment I was quite excited about the Viking EVERYTHING in this rather dull drive-through city... The city was settled by Danish settlers who came to NZ to help the government cut down inland forestry in the end of the 1800 century and is namd hereafter (Dannevirke means "Danish made").
Besides our very exciting drive through Dannevirke the highlight this time was the destination more than the journey: The North island's most Southern points. First destination Tora which is a famous surf spot and where we spent a lovely day camping on the beach 10m from the ocean in fantastic weather.
The the following day we headed to Lake Onoke and Cape Palliser and I that believe Cape Palliser's light house is the actual most southern point of the north part of NZ. It is also home to NZ's largest seal breeding area and we spotted several little happy playful fellows. Though after reading several places that they can have a go at you if you block their "exit" route to the ocean, I didn't dare to go too close.
We also spotted the South Island on this clear day - our destination after a stop in the port town and cultural capital WELLINGTON!
New Zealand's Cultural Capital: Wellington
Final destination on New Zealand's North island: Capital Wellington. We had such a good day exploring cool cool Wellington on the most amazing summer day (no Windy Welly experience this time) and visiting Rachael – another Shanghai friend and another ex-expat.
She moved back to her home in Wellington less than one year ago to pursue her dream: In less than 6 months she's started her own shop downtown Welly - a clothing shop with the coolest small designers. The shop is amazing – just think combined NYC coolness with Scandinavian minimalism and Kiwi warmness.
I'm so inspired by Rachael ”just doing it” and I’m a bit in love with Wellington. The capital reminds me of parts of England and of Hong Kong with its city hills, city mountains and city bushes making it such a charming and green spot.
Highlights: Everything Wellington: The vibe, the coffee, the craft beer, the dirty little secret rooftop bar, the food and Caughley: the newest and coolest shop in town, go Rachael!