The North Island of NZ

From the South Island we took the InterIslander Ferry to Wellington. This ferry was MASSIVE and I’d be more apt to call it a cruise ship due to the fact that it had numerous restaurants and two movie theaters. On the 3.5 hour ride the views were lovely as usual…..are you sick of me saying how pretty it is yet?


Wellington, as with most of the towns on the North Island, was basically a blur.  We didn’t stay here long and we didn’t do much but eat, drive (this part of NZ is pretty, but is nothing compared to the south island for views), and sleep. So, I will skip to the more exciting adventures.

Haku Falls and Dam is one of New Zealand’s most photographed spots.  It was very nice, but really we weren’t THAT impressed. It is a very accessible attraction and it’s free, so we are guessing that is maybe the reason. Once again…beautiful, but the amount of tourists kind of turned us off.



The walk up to the dam was much quieter which allowed us to enjoy the beauty more.

The next day we checked out the Wai-O-Tapo hot pools.  This interesting place is covered in steamy geysers, bubbling water, 100 degree celsius pools, and a rotten egg stench you won’t soon forget! Seriously. Sulfur is stinky stuff.  Anywho, our little trek left us warm, enlightened, and happy we don’t live anywhere near the central North Island area ; )


The minerals in this area create pretty awesomely colored ponds though….


Last, but not least, we visited HOBBITON! For all you Lord of the Rings and Hobbit lovers this place is a dream come true. Drew and I aren’t like complete nerds (aka we didn’t wear costumes), but we had a fantastic time geeking out in the Shire.  It definitely helped that the film set is located on the most spectacular 1,250 acre farm and that the day was mostly sunny.  Check it out!

Hobbit homes : )


Bilbo Baggins house…


We fit!

Had to stop at the Green Dragon Inn for a quick beer too. This is a seriously awesome place! Drew wants to fashion a bar in the U.S. like this and I just want to have a study/library in my house in this style.


Hobbiton was definitely my favorite part of our quick journey through the North Island!

Wrapping up the South Island

Drive to Christchurch, Train ride, Kaikoura

After dropping off Mama and Papa D we were teed up for a 4.5 hour drive to Geraldine. As seems typical for driving in New Zealand the 4.5 hour drive turned into a 7 hour drive. It’s just so difficult when the scenery is so BEAUTIFUL. Honestly, you could look every direction and there would be some awe inspiring vista at each turn. Check it out….

Mount Cook was stunning and a great place to stop for a little lake-side nap.

We also stopped to watch a few sassy, male red deer who were butting heads/antlers.

The next scenic adventure was our train ride from Christchurch to Picton. This was a comfortable, convenient ride and it was nice because Drew could fully enjoy the scenery! (Not to mention that we couldn’t stop the train every time we wanted to get out to soak in the scenery, so we stayed on a tight schedule).

We did have a scheduled stop in Kaikoura. This is a small beach town about halfway to Picton.

Drew and I found out that Kaikoura draws people in with their whale and dolphin watching tours (whalfin tours as I like to call them).  We hopped on a speed boat on a sun shiney day and were greeted by four whale sightings!

The Sperm Whales were cool to see but the Dusky Dolphins and Common Dolphins stole the show!!! There were some where around 100 dolphins in the pod and they were definitely having fun.  They were jumping, flipping, spinning, flopping their tails, and all sorts of other crazy antics. Some were just having fun while others were using these tricks as tactile fishing maneuvers.

Dolphin watching in Kaikoura

We said goodbye to the whalfins, stayed the night in Kaikoura, then jumped back on the train to finish our time on the South Island. IT WAS FANTASTIC and we can’t wait for people to ask us what to do when visiting there. : ) Or invite us to vacation with them….we’d do it in a heartbeat!!