From the East Cape, I headed down the center of the North Island to the West Coast, and then Wellington. My travel mate was as determined as I to tackle as many tramps and Great Walks as possible. The ones on the North Island we wanted to do were: Lake Waikaremoana, the Tongariro Northern Circuit, and the 5-day Wanganui River Journey. Challenge accepted!
Road tripping in New Zealand is about more than just getting from point A to B. In part, because the ever winding, often unsealed roads don’t really allow for it. I stopped whenever something caught my eye, in addition to the list of options my German friend would write each night after pouring over his guidebook. We were a good team, and both ended up doing and seeing things we wouldn’t have had we been on our own. The beauty of traveling alone and making friends along the way. Once we hit Wellington, we parted ways and continued our separate adventures.
In Wellington, I worked for 2 months for an Art Director who worked at WETA, and we became good friends. Some of the fun stuff I got to do included: stone work, build a wall, paint, refurbish antique furniture, organize a 100+ year old house to become a B&B, build a business web page, meet other wwoofers, some trail building, run in the mountains, went to the WETA holiday party, hung out on Mount Victoria where the hobbits hid from the Black Riders…
I have never felt more alive or free than when I am completely uncomfortable, scared, and excited. That’s life, though, isn’t it! Learning. Exploring. Embracing. And, of course, making poop jokes.
Here are a few snapshots of the journey from the north to south on the North Island: