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.

Many Adventures: Rotorua

This post is going to showcase everything that I did in Rotorua in the North Island. It was a beautiful…yet sulfur smelly place to be due to the geothermal activity in the area. 

One of my first views of Rotorua was a beautiful rainbow in the Government Gardens

I met some friendly cow along a beautiful walk around Lake Tarawera.
Then my friend Brittany visited! I am traveling to the South Island with her for the next month. 

Above we are in the Glow Worm Caves but you were not able to see any of the Glow Worms in a picture since they live in dark caves. But click on the link above and you can see some images from the caves.

After a long drive back from the Glow Worm Caves we decided to go to the Polynesian Spa hot pools and relax while huge the moon and millions of stars were out at night. 

The next day we went Zoorbing down the hills! It was so much fun! I wish that we could have went Zoorbing all day long. So what is Zoorbing? It is a Kiwi invention of going down a hill in a giant ball…and yes it is a blast!

Thankfully the water was so warm and there were hot tubs to go in between rides because it was so cold outside. 

This is by far my favorite picture of Brittany and I. We were cracking up and being engulfed by the stinky steamy sulfur mist at Wai-o-tapu Thermal Wonderland. 

There is a beautiful yet sulfur smelly walk around all of the colorful thermal lakes and waters in the park. It was so vibrant with life and harsh melting death. 

The Mount: Tauranga 

Along the east coast of the North Island is a wonderful shore town called Tauranga in the Bay of Plenty. 

There is a mountain called The Mount that you can climb up the thousands of steps to the top and see georgous views of the ocean and town below.

The mountain can be seen in beautiful light along the coast and there is a smaller walk that can take you out further to the ocean. 

It was nice to just sit out on the rocks for a while and hear the waves crashing in. 

The town has many shops and delicious restaurants as well. There are always people surfing in the bright blue water. 

Hike: Cathedral Cove

One of the must see places in New Zealand is Cathedral Cove

The hike is very long and takes you through forests, along the coast, and winding up and down many hills and stairs. 

Be sure to bring lots if water and snacks on your hike to the cove. 

Once you are at the beach at the end of the hike to the left is a huge cove and a beautiful sight to see. 

Kayaking to Donut Island: Whangamata (Coromandel)

The most beautiful peaceful place I’ve ever been has to be off the coast of a small town in the Coromandel Peninsula called Whangamata. 

After going to Surfs Up surf shop in Whangamata and renting kayaks we were ready for our adventure to the deserted island cove. 

It was October, so it was still very cold and windy outside but I wanted to see the island and the only way is to kayak or paddle board there. 

The cove was absolutely breathtaking and pictures do not show how clear blue the water was or the silence and calm that was present on the island. 

A storm was starting to pick up so we tventuredback to land. I am so glad that I got to see this beautiful place even with the water being ice cold. Maybe I’ll get back there in the warmer weather some day.