Posts Tagged ‘Wellington’

Wellington to Auckland via Hastings, Napier, Taupo, Rotorua and a load of small towns and villages

Too much to do, not nearly enough time to write. I have spent more time in McDonalds so far on this trip than ever in my life. McD’s here are nice, clean and offer free Wifi!! And their coffee is good…

I’m falling more in love with New Zealand the longer I’m here. We’ve done some good back-road tours and have also hit all the big cities on the north island. This weekend we’re heading to Auckland for the weekend to visit a highschool friend of Noah’s, catch the England vs. France quarter-final game (we have sweet seats!) and check out the city. Next week, we’re south island bound by way of Waitomo caves to do some caving under the light of the glow worms (riverfloat but underground, lit by glow worms? Paisley gang – I’ll be thinking of you all!).

Camper van living is hilarious and must be the best way to explore. We’ve mostly been doing freedom camping and staying in free spots. There are public bathrooms and showers everywhere here making it very easy to survive with just our little van.


They really know how to do museums here. Both the Wellington Museum and Te Papa (New Zealand National Museum – crazy high-tech, loads of fun and free!)

Te Papa

And because we’re both geeks, we spent a good part of a day at the New Zealand Parliament. They built an addition to the building and call it the beehive. This building mostly houses offices but we weren’t allowed cameras actually inside the Parliament buildings. Their debating chamber is considerably smaller than ours but generally laid out the same way. They also have beautiful committee rooms (The Maori affairs one is stunning!).

Beehive - New Zealand Parliament

East coast of the north island is cool; we got off the main route and drove a load of back roads and found some beautiful scenery and random locations.

Longest Place Name - Taumata whakatangi hangakoauau o tamatea turi pukakapiki maunga horo nuku pokai whenua kitanatahu

Crazy winding highway through a canyon (posted speed limit was 100 km/h!! We definitely drove slower than that in our old van...)

In Rotorua, we rolled down a hill in a big inflatable ball filled with warm water. Again, very random but it was hilarious and fun!

Rolled down the hill is this thing. Ogo - giant inflatable ball filled with water.

Yup - pretty random

I’ve run out of data in three different locations now…free wifi only gets you so far. I’ll post more pictures tonight!

Taking on The All Blacks in Wellington

Guest Post

By: Noah Arshinoff (

After taking 2 days to drive down the south island, we arrived in Wellington, New Zealand’s capital, a few hours before Canada vs. New Zealand rugby watch.  While this was the last game of the tournament for Canada, it was a chance to see the legendary All Blacks play a game at home and an opportunity for us to get decked out in Canada gear.

The lead up to the game was already proof that rugby in New Zealand is equivalent to Hockey in Canada.  The entire town was out in pubs and wearing their team colours.  Flags of all 20 nations competing in the tournament have been flying all over town.  Most of all, the competition has brought out a sense of healthy sportsmanship.  Kiwis and South Africans drink alongside each other before matches, and the masses dressed in black to support the home team embraced us openly.

After a number of drinks it seemed as though the entire city was walking to the stadium grounds.  We were rushing to get to our seats in order not to miss any of the opening spectacle.  One of rugby’s finest traditions is the Haka performed by the All Blacks before each one of their games.  It is a call to battle and surely must have been intimidating to the Canadians already outmatched by a rugby powerhouse.

Our video of the Haka (click to view)

Team Canada thanking the fans

The start of the game was the highlight for Canada. Having scored first, it was the first and last time Canada would lead in the game.  Being so badly outmatched however, made for an incredibly fun atmosphere.  With no Canadian in the crowd expecting their team to win, it turned into a social gathering of 40,000 people.  We befriended a number of Kiwi’s who offered us places to crash throughout the country.

The only time Canada would lead the game (take note of the elapsed time...)


Canadians and Kiwis Unite

After the game, we met up with Greig, a buddy of mine (Noah’s) from High School.  While next weekend in Auckland will be the true party, it was great to catch up after so many years.

Our overall impression of Wellington is that it is a fantastic city and great capital!  You can walk anywhere in about 30 minutes, the streets are littered with cafes and bars, the people are generous and hospitable, and the narrow winding streets offer a charm with European flair that simple isn’t found in North America.  Tomorrow we leave the city and head north.  We don’t know where we are stopping or what we are going to see.  If the trip so far is any indication of what lies ahead, I’m sure we will be impressed by the countryside and the people.