Taranaki & Golden Bay
Recently Ryan & I went on a tiki tour (scenic route) to the South Island for a little over two weeks. We had an absolutely incredible time and I can't wait to share the whole trip with you! Since we went to many destinations on our trip, I will focus on the specific parts of the trip and what we did a couple of days at a time.
Friday before Christmas, Ryan got off work early and met me at our home in Auckland. We hit the road shortly after packing our camper van, Noah. The Kiwis had warned us about bad traffic leaving the city. Many people who live in Auckland get out of the city for the holiday break and hence traffic can get quite congested. One of the cool things about New Zealand is that everyone pretty much takes at least two weeks off during Christmas & New Year and then often even a third week. Many places shut down for the holidays and everyone relaxes and enjoys life. What a different perspective on life the Kiwis have...
First stop on our trip was to Taranaki region to see the volcano, Mount Taranaki in Egmont National Park. Driving into the outskirts of Taranaki was extremely beautiful and we could see Mount Taranaki incredibly clearly. We decided to make our way to our campsite at Urenui Beach Camp to discover we had an absolutely beautiful beach right next to where we would be camping for the night. I had no idea, but that the beaches in Taranaki were so incredibly beautiful! Also the stars that night were absolutely beautiful.
The next day we went into Egmont National Park, where Mount Taranaki is located. This volcano is dormant and the park (of course) receives a massive amount of precipitation throughout the year. This allows for the lush rainforest to grow on its outskirts. The park has really diverse coastal and mountainous vegetation that changes with elevation. We went for a hike but unfortunately could not see anything because it was incredibly cloudy. However I was taken aback by all the amazing greenery that filled the national park. There are about 22 hikes to choose from in the park and although we weren't able to do the summit track, we were able to do the Maketawa loop track that joined with the summit track and went passed one of the huts and back down to the car park.
After exploring Taranaki we made our way down to the outskirts of Wellington to catch our ferry over to Picton in the South Island. Since it was Christmas Eve we loaded up on some groceries and got everything situated before driving to Golden Bay. This bay is a paraboloid shaped bay at the top of the south island and has excellent beaches. We stayed at Golden Bay Holiday Park right on the ocean. We had fun hanging out at the beach, cooking Mexican style food and enjoying our first summer Christmas together!
The next day we went to an amazing beach called Wharariki & I will give some more information on that in the next post! We saw wild seals & it was absolutely amazing.