Waiheke Island for Easter

Man O' War Bay, Waiheke Island, New Zealand

Over Easter weekend I went with my parents for a little getaway to Waiheke Island. Mum had never been, so packed up the van on Friday afternoon and drove up to Auckland to Half Moon Bay to catch the ferry across.

It wasn’t the best start to a weekend, we stopped at a cafe on the way up for a coffee and I left my handbag on the back of my chair and didn’t realise until we were getting out of the car on the ferry. I quickly rang the cafe and they luckily had my bag and were kind enough to hold onto it for me until we got back on Monday afternoon.

I decided to put it out of my mind as it was done, and no point worrying – and I’m with my parents so no paying for anything now!! haha jokes…kinda.

The ferry takes an hour so we had time to take in the view and for me to stew a little over my stupidity.

We drove off the ferry and had a bit of a drive around the island to kill a bit of time before check in for our hotel, we ended up at Onetangi beach where we got some lunch and took in the view as the beach was across the road. We were staying near a few shops and a supermarket which was handy, and of course mum and dad wanted to go to the RSA for dinner that night to check it out. We spent the night buying $1 raffle tickets and listening to the live music which was quite nice.

Waiheke Island, New Zealand

Saturday morning we made a plan to check out one side of the island. We set out on the loop road that takes you out to Stony Batter. We walked up to Stony Batter but unfortunately the tunnels were closed, but we could still walk up to the top of the hill and get a good view out the eastern side of the island. We bundled back into the car and came to our next stop which was the Man O’ War winery. This is by far the best winery I have been to! It was not pretentious, the staff were lovely, and the setup was great! The winery is across the road from the bay which the winery is named after and it has a grass area out the front with picnic tables and a food truck off to the side. There was even some live music. The atmosphere was awesome, everyone was enjoying themselves in the sun. We even ended up sharing our table with some people that were from the same town mum and dad grew up in so they were having a good old yarn.

Waiheke Island, New Zealand

Sunday we checked out the western side of the island, it is where the main town is – Oneroa, and there is a main street with shops, and restaurants and bars. We had a walk around the streets and down to the beach there, went into a few galleries and just drove around exploring all the roads. It was interesting looking at all the houses there as many have crazy steep driveways or have houses on the edges of cliffs! Not for the light hearted!

Monday it was back to the ferry and back to the cafe to retrieve my bag!

 

Until next time x

Blue Springs Afternoon Stroll

Te Waihou Walkway, Putaruru

Today I went with a mate to tick another walk off the list down in Putaruru. There are a couple of options for this walk. Either start on Whites Road where it is 1hr 1/2 each way, or go down Lesley Road where you can do the same, or its only 15 minutes walk to the Blue Springs. We had time and wanted more than a 15min walk so we started at Whites Road and did the 1hr 1/2.

Te Waihou Walkway, Putaruru

It is a walk for all levels, there are a couple of sets of stairs and a little bit of an incline but otherwise it is pretty easy and not too strenuous. The walk takes you through a little farmland, boardwalks as well as a bush track. The track goes along the river where there are multiple points you will want to stop and take some pictures!

Te Waihou Walkway, Putaruru

At the Blue Springs it is quite hard to see the spring itself as it is on the other side of the river from where the viewpoint is and it is shaded so the blue is not as obvious. There was a staircase that gave you a more birds eye view over the river which was good.

Blue Springs, Putaruru

Although the spring itself probably wasn’t as spectacular as I had thought it would be, the river itself along the walk was so beautiful! The water is really clear and you can see all the moss growing in the water which makes for a gorgeous view. I also may have taken a dip and it is as cold as the signs say, a mere 11 degrees. I could barely breathe!

 

Until next time x

One of the Best 1 Day Walks in the World – Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Mount Ngauruhoe, New Zealand

I finally made it down to National Park for the weekend and did the Tongariro Alpine Crossing! We were meant to do it halfway through February but the weather wasn’t any good, so we had to wait another month. I went down on a Friday afternoon with my friend and her mum. It is about a 3 hour drive down to National Park from Hamilton so we wanted to leave before the after work traffic and get there earlyish so we could get an early night and so we were fresh for our early start on Saturday morning!

We stayed at Discovery Lodge which is about a 10min drive from the start of the crossing, and they have a shuttle to drop you off and pick you up after the walk. My friend and I stayed in a room that had a bathroom, small fridge, kettle and a tv. My friends mum stayed in a studio that also had a living area and kitchen. The beds were really comfy and everything was clean and good value for money. We booked into the restaurant both nights as you are kinda in the middle of nowhere and we didn’t want to bother with bringing food to make dinners. The menu was really good, a little on the expensive side but you got alot for your money. The staff were really friendly and easygoing. They even provided people with raincoats that didn’t have one or their ones were not going to keep them dry for 8 hours.

We had dinner at the restaurant at 6pm then headed to our rooms to turn in for the night. We didn’t get through a full episode of Graham Norton before we were falling asleep, it wasn’t even 8.30pm! After an okay sleep, our alarms were going off at 5am. We had enough time to get dressed and have a quick snack before we got aboard the shuttle. We got offered a get out of jail card free as it was raining and scheduled to be occasional showers but there was no way we were going to turn back now after having to wait a month already!

Tongariro Alpine Crossing, National Park, New Zealand

It was pitch black and not too cold as we had a few layers on as the low at times was to be 3 degrees. As we got going my hand was cold from holding a torch and we were dodging puddles constantly – not always, sometimes they got the better of us. Since it was so dark there wasn’t much to look at and since there were so many puddles it was not wise to anyway unless you wanted soaked feet.

After about an hour and a half we started to see light which was nice, and the rain died off. The scenery on the crossing was like being on Mars. It was so desolate.

Red Crater, Tongariro Alpine Crossing, National Park, New Zealand

The clouds/mist was quite low so we didn’t get massive views across the country. We had good views in and out over the emerald lakes, where we stopped for lunch and got some good pics. Then it was back to it. The walk overall was very long, 19.4km to be exact. Once we got past the emerald lakes and started on the descent, the walk seemed to drag. It was a slow decline and the track just seemed to go on and on, and the last 6kms took about 1hr 1/2. By that stage I was ready for the walk to be over, there wasn’t much of a view until we got about halfway down below the clouds and we could see out to Lake Rotoaira. My feet were starting to rub between my toes, and it didn’t help that I had scoria sand in my shoes from coming down the side of red crater to the emerald lakes.

Emerald Lakes, Tongariro Alpine Crossing, National Park, New Zealand

We were finally starting to see light at the end of the tunnel when the trees were looking a bit more sparse, and we came to the carpark where there was alot of seating where we could sit down – best feeling ever!

My body has not felt this tired in a long time. When we got back in the shuttle about half an hour after finishing I was nearly falling asleep, and my whole body just felt heavy and needed rest.

Overall I would recommend the walk to anyone who has a generally good fitness level, there is a couple of really hard sections where there is alot of stairs and then no stairs but a steep incline. On the way down there were a few stairs, but mostly it was just a long winding slope down.

Emerald Lakes, Tongariro Alpine Crossing, National Park, New Zealand

I was sore for a couple of days afterwards then I was fine, although my friends mum was sore until Wednesday. I definitely want to do it again when the weather is clearer so I can get better views as we missed out on so much, at the same time we were lucky that we didn’t have worse weather.

Let me know down below your favourite walks around NZ!

 

Until next time x

Celebrations in Hawkes Bay

Mister D, Napier, New Zealand

I wasn’t sure whether to post this blog or not as I only took a couple of photos as the weather was the pits! It was raining most of the time I was there and so the scenery wasn’t exactly photogenic. But I did want to comment on my time down there as I have a couple of reviews.

I left on Friday night to head down to Napier for a friends 30th and Engagement party in Hastings on Saturday. Accommodation was hard to come by in Hastings so I booked in Napier as it is not too far away and I have only been to the Hawkes Bay once, and I thought it would be nice to check out both. I booked at the YHA in Napier as it had good reviews and was right on the waterfront! I got there just after 8.30pm and the reception was closed. There was a sign on the door saying not to let anyone in without a key and when I rang their phone number it went straight to voicemail. I banged on the door until someone kindly let me in and I saw my room key was left out on the bench at reception. That was fine as there was a piece of paper with my room number and rules etc.

Later on in the evening after I had had dinner, I went back up to my room to turn in for the night and an old in lady in her 70’s or 80’s was sitting on a chair in our room and the room stunk. She had made herself up to our room, and let herself in with no key or anything. We asked if she was meant to be saying here and she said yes but didn’t know which room. From my perspective as a guest, I was not happy about there being no reception and that this lady had managed to book into a dorm room at a backpackers who clearly had incontinence problems. I think it is not fair on guests who have to endure their room smelling of piss all night. Luckily she was in a room a couple of doors down otherwise I wouldn’t of stayed there.

The next morning I googled some places for breakfast, and found one called Mister D. It was so good, I got avocado on toast with dukkah. Definitely find your way there if you are in Napier. It was then back to the car to drive to Hastings for the festivities. We were going to do some wine tasting then party on later back at their house.

If you are into wine and want to take the long drive out to Hawkes Bay, then this is the place for you. There were multiple wineries just outside Hastings, and we got a few tasters at each place. It cost $5 for the tastings which included about 4 different types of wines. Our last stop was Abbey Estate where the weather finally cleared and I could get in a couple of snaps.

Abbey Estate, Hastings, New Zealand

The next morning with a slight hangover, I made the long drive back to Hamilton (4 hrs).

 

Until next time x

Hakarimatas! – Walking off a Hangover

Hakarimatas Reserve, Ngaruawahia, New Zealand

On Sunday morning me and my mate had decided to go up the Hakarimatas. EVERYONE talks about doing them and we wanted to know what all the fuss was about!

We had been out the night before for a leaving party and had a little too much to drink, and so we left a little later than anticipated. Only the middle of the day! haha

There are multiple tracks you can do ranging from an hour to several hours depending on how much time you have and is about 15-20min drive from Hamilton going north in Ngaruawahia.

Hakarimata Summit, Ngaruawahia, New Zealand

We took the most popular route, the 1300 stairs to the summit! It starts off okay as you walk along a creek until you get to the beginning of the stairway. There are ranges of people from kids to adults, young, old, running, walking. From the beginning it wasn’t really hard on your legs, it more just got my heart going, it was pounding from the cardio of walking up stair after stair. We had a few little breaks on the way to catch our breath and took in the view halfway where you can rest on a bench.

We then carried on to the top which didn’t seem to take very long and seemed quicker and easier than the first half. At the top you come to a little clearing and a tower so that you can see take in the 360 degree view above the trees.

Hakarimata Summit, Ngaruawahia, New Zealand

After taking a few pics we started on our journey down, and were careful as we had been nicely lectured about how most of the accidents on this mountain were on the way down. Once at the bottom we grabbed a cold drink before heading back to Hamilton for a much needed shower!

 

Until next time x

 

 

 

Sunday Funday Trail Walk!

Windmills, Te Uku, New Zealand

On Sunday me and my mate got up early and drove out to near Raglan to go on a walk in preparation for the Tongariro Crossing. The trail is called the Pipiwharauroa Walking and Biking Trail. It is at the turn off for Bridal Veil Falls and you just follow the road until the end. The walk is about 18km so takes about 2 hours each way. We were the only ones in the carpark, and only saw two cyclists! We were really surprised as we thought it would be quite popular.

We had snacks packed and lots of water, and make sure you put on sunscreen as you are in the sun pretty much the whole track and we both ended up getting a bit burnt after missing spots and maybe not putting any on….

View, Pipiwhararoa Trail, Te Uku, New Zealand

The walk isn’t very steep, more at a continued incline. It varies between walking on gravel and on grass. Not ideal if you have kids in prams as it is a long walk, but also you have to climb over fences at different parts and the ground is uneven.

We wanted to do this walk as it walks up to the Windmills (if you know Raglan area, you will have seen them in the distance), and we got to get right up close and get views out across the country side with 360 degree views, and saw out to the coast side where Kawhia harbour is.

Pipiwhararoa Trail, Te Uku, New Zealand

Definitely a leisurely walk for those that are fit in general, we didn’t feel like we couldn’t have gone further at the end. Was so peaceful as no-one was around, great views, and good to get out in some fresh air to end the weekend.

Let me know below if your in the area and which walks are your favourite as we are going to be checking out other ones.

 

Until next time x

Waitangi Weekend in Tauranga

Mount Maunganui, New Zealand

Last weekend me and my friend set off for Tauranga which is just over an hours drive from Hamilton. We saw there had been an accident earlier in the day but thought we’d be okay….2 1/2 hours later and we finally made it!

Tauranga is the 5th biggest city in New Zealand and about 10/15 minute drive from there is Mount Maunganui, a beach town. We were going to Tauranga as One Love Festival (reggae festival) was on and found a backpackers walking distance from the venue. We stayed at Loft 109 Backpackers which was in a good location but I wouldn’t stay there again. The owner didn’t seem to be a fan of actually having guests and wanted everyone out of the common area. I have stayed at a lot of hostels and the common area is normally a place of complete chill, drinking, cooking until whenever. Not here. So if you need a place to stay and don’t plan on spending any time there it would be fine. Also I think I got eaten alive overnight as there was no aircon so we had to have the window open, not been a pleasant few days wanting to scratch the skin off my arms and legs!

One Love Festival itself was great! It had a really chill environment, the toilet and drink lines were pretty much non-existent. Great weekend with great music! While pre-drinking we saw a local riding around on a horse…the sites you see!

Tauranga, New Zealand

Both mornings we had breakfast at The Med Cafe. It was so yummy! We got blueberry pancakes both days and it was super filling which is what we were after since we would be spending half the day drinking and in the sun. The staff were really friendly and the other options on the menu looked good as well.

Sunday morning we took a stroll down to Memorial Park – there was a gypsy fair on so we had a walk through there then sat under a tree to take in the view!

Memorial Park, Tauranga, New Zealand

Monday morning we left the hostel and went to Mount Maunganui, this is my favourite beach! And first time being here since I’ve been back!

Mount Maunganui, New Zealand

I love the feel there, it is always busy and has such a relaxed feeling about it. We went to Dixie Browns for breakfast and I got just a standard poached eggs on toast. We walked across the road and dipped our toes in the water, it was a little chilly so we got in the car and pulled into the Hot Pools. Awesome way to sweat out the alcohol and relax our bodies after insect bites and overindulging. The hot pools are right at the bottom of the mountain, there is a couple of large pools, one hotter than the other, a couple of jacuzzis and a kids paddling pool area. So something for everyone! Just remember to stay hydrated as I may have caused myself to feel a little sick that afternoon…

 

Until next time x

Relocated to New Zealand

up in the clouds, Brisbane, Australia

Hello All!

I have now relocated back to New Zealand. Two suitcases, one overnight bag and giving away / dumping in clothing bins half my belongings and I am back in my hometown of Hamilton. It was sad leaving London as I want to still do so much travel, but all good things must come to an end. I will still be going for trips around the world, just probably won’t be as often. So in the meantime I will be checking out what New Zealand has to offer and taking you all along for the ride!

Look out for day trips, hikes, events, you name it! I already have a few things booked to look forward to, so check back to see what I get up to.  I am already loving the summer weather and have started to get my tan back as burn time here is about 10 minutes!!

Until next time x