Taranaki:New Zealand 

Taranaki is located on the west coast of the north island. It is known for the volcano: Mt. Taranaki

There are beautiful views of Mt. Taranaki all throughout the area. 

The weather was terrible this week and I only got out to hike one day.

Pictured above is the water that now streams over where the lava flowed when the volcano erupted years ago. 


Wellington: New Zealand 

Wellington is the capital of New Zealand and is located at the bottom of the North Island. 

It is a bustling city on the water and has many shops, restaurants, farmers markets and free museums. (Which are good to see on the many rainy days.)

There are several hikes through forests and on beaches that are beautiful to see when you need a break from the city area.

I unfortunately didn’t realize that these shells I stumbled upon were the famous New Zealand paua shells. They are used for jewelry and are very expensive to buy in stores. I only brought one back home though…Oh well. Sorry to anyone who wanted one.

Below is a fresh new fern growing. It is one of my favorite things to see on a hike. The ferns grow outwards in a spiral-like fashion. Throughout New Zealand the spiral symbol is seen everywhere.
New Zealand is very good at making delicious hot chocolate. This was one of the best hot chocolates I have had in New Zealand at Nikau Cafe.

Also, I have started a new obsession with avocado toast in New Zealand. Pictured below (also from Nikau Cafe) is an avocado toast with goat cheese, pistachios, pickled turnips, sprouts and herbs.

At The Library, on Tuesday nights the adesserts re two for the price of one…so of course I took advantage of this sweet opportunity. Chocolate Cube: chocolate orange icecream with pistachios and a cube of dark chocolate ganache cake.  

The second dessert I had was a vanilla ice cream topped with carmel popcorn and peanuts.

Being in Wellington during December was neat to see how Christmas is celebrated. There was a big Christmas festival and parade one weekend that was weird to see people dressed up and it being 70 degrees outside. Definitely didn’t feel like Christmas to me.

To bring some wintery Christmas to the children, the festival had set up a snow dome which had man made snow inside where the children could play in the snow. 

American Thanksgiving: New Zealand 

My favorite Kiwihousesit home was in Napier. It had an amazing kitchen that was great for cooking Thanksgiving dinner (and many other meals.)

The house even had a lovely pool which was great to swim in on sunny days.

The best Kiwi kitchen ever was here in Napier. It was so well equipped-like my kitchen at home-I was so excited to cook every day. The garden outside had fresh herbs and citrus fruits that I loved using as well. 

The homeowners are avid travellers and had maps and travel books tscatteredthroughout their house.
Finding a turkey and cranberries was a very difficult task in New Zealand. I asked everyone I met if they knew where to get a turkey or if any stores sold cranberries. 

But finally in the freezer section of a grocery store a few days before Thanksgiving, I found a bag of frozen cranberries! I was so happy! (Cranberry sauce is my favorite Thanksgiving side)
I made homemade stuffing from my Mom-mom’s delicious recipe and fresh bakery bread. 

After going to a few stores and butchers I finally found a turkey at a nice butcher shop in Napier. It was my first time making a turkey and it turned out so delicious with all of the fresh herbs. 

The meal was my favorite part of this house stay. We made so much food that were eating Thanksgiving leftovers for days! 
I also made delicious pumpkin ravioli with the pasta maker from the so well-equipped kitchen.

And finally I made my Grandmom’s delectable meatballs and gravy (tomato sauce.)

Oh…and one of the cats I was watching.

Napier: 1920’s Town 

Napier is one of my favorite towns in the North Island of New Zealand. After the 1931 earthquake, the city was rebuilt in an art deco style and it is truly unique. 

The signs that are added today are still in art deco style to keep with tradition. 
Even some of the stores have 1920’s clothes…which would have been awesome to have a Gatsby Party. 

I loved my stay in Napier. It was a wonderful town with unique shops and delicious restaurants. 

Pumpkin soup from: The Station Bar & Bistro Caesar Salad from: Ujazi CafeBaklava & Chicken Iskender from: Kilim Cafe was my absolute favorite restaurant in town.