I was particularly pumped to visit Wellington after one of my favorite bloggers described it to me as "paaaainfully hippie and artsy" with a similar vibe to San Francisco. The capital city proved to be charming as hell. We had a great day wandering around...and stopping for coffee every 3 hours, still recovering from New Years Eve.

Fidel's (as in Castro) was our first stop for brunch on their sunny outdoor patio. They serve cappuccinos in bowls and therefore get 5 stars. 

Cuba Street was lined with darling little shops filled with items that are most accurately described as "twee". Lots of hand drawn animal themed decor and patchouli-hipster scented candles in Erlenmeyer flasks.

The Wellington waterfront is a busy port with a rainbow of shipping containers and ferries that travel between the North and South islands via the Cook Strait. The Cook Strait is named after Captain James Cook, the first Brit to set foot in NZ in 1769 and later go on to circumnavigate both islands. New Zealand was first SEEN (from afar) in 1642 by a Dutch explorer named Abel Tasman but he never made it to land as the Maori's spotted him and his men, attacked and scared them off. Spears and face tattoos are effective like that.   

Bit of a bold statement there, Wellington.  

Bit of a bold statement there, Wellington.  

Later on in the day, we took the cable car up to the Botanical Gardens. Sandy contemplated the reality of death but also how to maximize her tan on the way up, as seen in the photo above. 

Accessorizing with nature. 

Accessorizing with nature. 

Before a Malaysian dinner and gelato back on Cuba Street, we drove to the top of Mount Victoria for a good view over the whole city. The view from Mount Vic was great but we actually decided that if we spent the remaining two weeks of our trip at Kaffee Eis eating gelato, it would be worth the 9,000 mile flight to New Zealand so we HIGLY recommend a visit there if you ever find yourself in Wellington.

After that, we napped in our van for a few hours before catching a 2:30 AM ferry to the South Island. That's the beauty of living out of a van: home is where you park it. 


From Omokoroa, we had a long drive to Wellington  to make our late-night ferry to the south island the following day.  

Reputation-wise, the south island is understood to be far more impressive (it's snow capped mountains are legitimately insane) than the north....but the scenery of the north island is nothing to ignore. Sandy and I were constantly in awe driving through the rolling green hills of the country side. Vocab words that you rarely get to use in everyday life like "pastoral", "bucolic" and "idyllic" came to mind during this long drive and Sandy's reaction of: "HOLY HELL!", also summed up the feeling quite nicely. 

Parked on Lake Taupo.

Parked on Lake Taupo.

Fueled by coffee and mixed nuts, we drove through the mountains, took a quick dip in Lake Taupo and made it to our Wellington campsite just in time for a colorful sunset.