- We took the 2pm ferry to Wellington (which felt more like a cruise ship) and arrived at 5pm.
- Watched a comedy show at VK’s Comedy Club
- Tash and I parted ways for a few days as she would be spending Christmas with her brother, Ollie.
- Visited Te Papa Museum for 3 hours (It’s really interesting and my highlights were the colossal squid, experiencing a simulated earthquake and the incredible waxworks of soldiers)
- Did a bit of shopping in town. They have lots of cute independent shops.
- Walked to the Botanic Gardens
- Saw the cable car at the top but decided to do the city loop walk back down because I’m an exercise queen.
- Visited the City Gallery which was exhibiting photographs by Cindy Sherman and you could also sit in a dark room to watch black and white close ups of Andy Warhol’s ’13 Beautiful Boys’ (not that beautiful in my opinion, but each to their own).
- Read at the library café for a few hours
- Watched Girl Asleep at The Paramount Cinema. The seating was made up of sofas and it was really cosy. It was only me and a family of 3 in the whole room. The film was great too and I’d thoroughly recommend it!
- I had booked to be picked up at 6.40am and was there on time but the coach decided to leave without me so that was fun
- Ended up having to book another night at the YHA and was put in a 6-bed male dorm which didn’t smell ideal
- Since I couldn’t sleep, I walked up to the mount Victoria Lookout
- Had a really yummy porridge with caramelized pear, cinnamon sugar and fresh cream at Pandoro Panetteria
- Walked by the harbour and checked out the shipping container shops
- Sunbathed by the Civic Centre
- On Christmas Day, I actually got picked up from the hostel at 6.45am
- Arrived in Taupo just after 12pm and were dropped off at our hostel, Urban Retreat.
- It was such a gorgeous, sunny day so I ate my lunch by the lake, called my parents and read in the park (I’ve read it twice already, but the Idiot Abroad books are so good! Karl Pilkington is a legend.)
- I wandered around the town a little bit before joining Leslie and TY (my super friendly Malaysian roommates that I’d met on the coach) for dinner back at the hostel.
- After dinner, we played UNO with Marian and Joy who had also booked on to do the Tongariro Crossing the next day so I was so happy to not be doing it alone as I’d definitely need moral support to do a 19.4km hike!
- On Boxing Day, we were picked up at 6.30am and it took 1.5hours to get to the starting point of the Tongariro Crossing.
- Joy and I did the whole walk together and it was great to have some company and hype each other up when we needed it. Plus, she was smart and bought snacks 😉
- The Emerald Lakes blew me away and the views in general were incredible.
- By the time that we reached the end and saw our bus, we were ecstatic! We lay down and slept the whole way back from absolute exhaustion.
- It took us 7.35 hours to complete the 19.4km hike which I’m pretty proud of!
- Joy, if you’re reading this, thank you for keeping me company. It wouldn’t have been as fun without you! <3
- I checked out at 10am and grabbed brunch in town with Leslie, TY and Joy
- We were picked up at 13.15 and arrived in Auckland at around 5pm
- Met Dan on the coach and went to be reunited with my darling Tash (and her ridiculously good looking friends) at The Conservatory, a harbourside bar
- Tash had already been going large all day, much to my entertainment, especially when I head-butted her in the corridor of the hostel. They don’t call her Tash Lash for nothing 😉
- Tash, Dan and I visited the art gallery in the morning but weren’t that blown away
- Had a look around the shops
- Devoured a delicious baked apple, cinnamon and whipped cream crepe
- Popped back to the hostel and sorted through some photos as it was pissing it down
- When the rain had stopped, we headed to Mount Eden
- Made new friends in my dorm and we all headed back to The Conservatory for dinner and drinks. We were also reunited with Heather, yay!
- Ended the night at the Irish Bar next to our hostel.
- Tash and I took the ferry to Devonport at 10.30am
- Wandered around the shops and had mediocre scones and a chocolate milkshake at Dixie Browns
- Heather joined us and we walked up the North Head Lookout which was rather windy…
- Had a delicious halloumi salad for lunch at Corelli’s Café. The food was so good, you have to go!
- Unfortunately, this was our last day in NZ with Heather and we headed back to Auckland at 4.45pm
- We made a cracking dinner of jacket potatoes, fried mushrooms and leftover halloumi salad
- After dinner, I read in the reception while Tash finished her Spanish test in preparation for her trip to Central/South America.
- After saying bye to Tash, Dan and I visited Albert Park and the Auckland Domain which had many beautiful statues, flowers and two greenhouses (one cool, one tropical)
- We grabbed lunch at The Wintergarden Café ( I had a bangin’ combo of homemade hash browns, bacon, kale and poached eggs)
- After lunch, we sunbathed on the grass outside the Auckland Museum before I grabbed my early evening flight back to my beloved Melbourne.