Kaiteriteri & Wellington

Trip Start Oct 13, 2011
Trip End Jun 07, 2012

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Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Friday, February 17, 2012

Conor: Hello from Kaiteriteri, one of New Zealand's many national parks. Since River Valley we have swung down to Wellington and finally down to the South Island! We left River Valley after the rafting to make our way down to New Zealand’s capital. We passed briefly through the town of Bulls, which is famous for having businesses such as rent-a-bull (car hire), afford-a-bull (estate agent), bank-a-bull (bank), remove-a-bull (house movers), read-a-bull (library) and the local police station, or const-a-bull. Basically its pun central.

We arrived in Wellington in the late evening. Luckily we had booked two nights here, because those staying the standard one night had to leave at 8am, leaving them with absolutely no time to see the nation’s capital. This is the odd thing about the kiwi bus, it makes really weird assumptions about where its best to have extra time. Not to matter, we had booked two nights so we had a whole day to have a look around.

Wellington definitely felt a whole lot smaller than Auckland. Lots of people we met didn’t really like Auckland, and Wellington has a whole lot more fans, which is fair enough as it’s a pretty sweet city. The first thing we did in the morning was get a bus to the outskirts of town to go and visit the Weta Cave. This is a small museum/shop about Weta, the company that did all the effects and costume for the Lord of the Rings, amongst other things. Obviously chief geek Annabel wanted to go and, I’m not going to lie, I was pretty keen as well! I’ve got to be honest; there wasn’t a massive amount there, a small room with a few props and figures from various films, and loads of merchandise to buy. There was a 20 minute video about Weta which was pretty good. Despite there not being loads, we both really enjoyed it and it was well worth the trek out of town!

After this we went to go find the apparently famous little red cable car that goes from the city up to the botanical gardens in the hills. It was harder to find than I initially realised, but it all our wandering around we got a good look at the business part of the city! When we finally got to cable car road we discovered that actually the first part of the cable car was underground, which is why we couldn’t see any overhead cables whilst we were lost! The cable car route is pretty old, but the city station was pretty shiny and new. The whole journey only takes about 5 minutes, but it’s worth it for the view and, well, it’s the best way to get to the botanical gardens, which Annabel wanted to see! We had a quick look around the gardens and then headed to the observatory, which was pretty sweet. They had a star show thing voiced by David Tennant, which has a bit random!

After that we headed back into town, did a bit of shopping for Annabel’s sake and, barring Domino’s pizza that was pretty much our day in Wellington done. There’s loads more for us to see, so we’ve actually arranged to have an extra day here on the return journey.

In the morning we waited to be picked up by Kiwi to get the ferry, when a random shuttle bus rocked up and a pretty awesome looking guy hoped out. His name was Toddy. He was awesome and would be our driver for the next few days. We got to the ferry port to find Aaron and Sarah who had caught up with us. We spent the 3 hour journey from the North Island to the South Island chatting, complaining the boat was going too slow and trying to see if Aaron could get on the bridge. He didn’t. 

Off the ferry we got onto a bus load of new people and made our way to Kaiteriteri. This is a small town about one of New Zealand’s national parks. Here you could do kayaking, seal watching, long walks and whole host of other awesome things as long as you had the time. We had initially planned to have two nights here, but Kiwi messed up that booking. So we didn’t. Good job Kiwi.  By the time we had arrived we only really had time to have a look at the awesome beach, have dinner and then have some drinks with Aaron and Sarah and some other people we had now picked up.

In the morning Annabel and I got up relatively early to have a walk to the spits at both ends of the beach in front of the hostel. We didn’t really have the time for any activities in the park itself but we did really enjoy the walk. The first one took us to a real picture postcard scene. There was one lone house on a secluded part of beach and then a long view into the park itself, including an island where there is a seal colony. And at the other end of the beach there was a short climb up to another great view (we watched someone water skiing and spoke to a cool old lady) and then another beach. Not wanting to turn back just yet we walked the length of that beach and came to a really cool rocky outcrop/cove thing. We climbed over the rocks, as you would, and managed to find a really cool spot where you were cut off from the beach around you. After doing some arty shots there we had to head back to the hostel. The bus would be waiting to take us on to the town of Westport, further down the west coast (oddly enough!). Again we had to part ways with Aaron and Sarah. The new bus we were are on turned out to be mainly a massive group that had been together since Auckland, which makes it a little harder to get involved at first, but we’ll manage! For now its on to see what Westport has to offer!
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