Arriving in Wellington was like arriving in a different country! Big sky scrapers, traffic, people!!! It was cold, but much warmer than the South; we didn't have to wear gloves to bed.
The North Island isn't a patch on the South Island visually, but far more liveable. It actually reminded me of the UK in parts, very green and wet.
10 days in and still no plan, 'winging it' seemed to be working for us, so we continued as we had before, heading up.
We went swimming A LOT as this doubled as an activity and a hair wash. I pointed out lots of the places we might catch a hobbit but Nicholas didn't want to play.
One thing I did notice as we drove was the amount of crucifixes at the side of the road. Literally hundreds. Big drink driving problem in New Zeland. Very sad.
Nic did a terrific job of keeping us alive, although we had some hairy moments. Driving through 'The windy desert' on a dark and stormy afternoon was pretty scary. Especially with nobhead truckers hurtling pass you at 100mph!
We visited a place called Craters of the Moon. A huge volcanic region, where hot sulphur smelling steam seeps from the ground and bubbles away in mud pools.
We also visited Lake Taupo, which is the size of an ocean and the colour of a sapphire and the golden arches where the burgers are cheap and the chips are cheaper.
Friends of mine where living in the Bay of Plenty and we enjoyed a few days hanging out and sharing our traveling stories with them. This was defiantly our favourite place in the North Island and we'd love to return in the summer months. Everything seemed almost prehistorically big, even the shells were enormous. We took a long stroll along the beach… To the pub…. And drank cider…. Lots of cider.
We saw a Kiwi by the way (the bird) extremely cute and fluffy, not however cute enough to knock Sherman off the top spot and quite scaredy.
Auckland was our last stop in NZ and we were lucky enough to be put up by the lovely Farmer family. We felt very at home and looked after.
Auckland's nice, we had a spot of lunch and a walk along the Harbour where Nic spotted the Irish rugby team who were quite small apparently.
Before we knew it we were returning Apollo to the depot and praying to Allah we hadn't damaged it so we got our 3 million pound security bond back!
New Zeland certainly made a big impression on us and we will undoubtedly return.
But for now, it's time for warmer climates.
Next stop LA.
Movie stars and flashy cars
Aragorn and Elijah