Week 2 of the Mighway ventures began with us hitting the road to get to Wellington in time to pick up Simon’s sister (Tam) and nephew (Xavier) from the airport, with our original plans to hike the Tongariro Crossing being abandoned due to unfavourable alpine weather conditions. The road from Taupo to Wellington was absolutely stunning. The desert road felt like we’d entered a completely different country, it was NZ like we’d never seen before. Then to arrive in Wellington just felt like coming home with its Melbourne vibes beside the addition of beautiful mountains all around us.
After a quick clean, re-stock and catch up with friends in Wellington it was time to pick up Tam and Xavier. Our first stop was the Wellington Top 10 campsite where we settled in for the night before our next adventures began. With limited time on our hands we decided on a short road trip to the west coast via the narrow windy road that leads to Staglands Wildlife Reserve. Staglands is a must stop for any road trip near Wellington if you’re an animal lover – from ducks to peacocks, swans, rainbow trout, bunnies, hens, pigs and lamb – Staglands had it all!
The road from Staglands to Waikanae beach was an experience in itself. Barely wide enough to fit 1 campervan at a time and full of fun twists and turns – we all agreed it would have been so much better on 2 wheels, especially with a sleeping infant in the back! Nevertheless, we made the most of it in the Mighway beast and owned the road from start to finish. When I say owned the road, we were essentially the bully on wheels! Every approaching car gave way simply because we were bigger than them and it was easier for them to reverse back into a gap so we could pass. But I must say, if you like windy roads then this is not one to miss!
After a long day, we pulled up at El Rancho campsite near Waikanae beach for the night with the plan to head back to Wellington the next day as Tam and Xavier were flying out soon. A sunset walk to the beach that we never reached and a good night’s sleep later, we were on our way back to Wellington. A quick stop at Junglerama was of course necessary “for Xavier” (I mean who could say no to an inflatable playground) and we were ready to head off – minus my $5 jandals, which in all fairness were probably mistaken for a 5-year-old’s as I have completely disproportionate feet to my age/body. To that I say, good luck jandal thief, those will fit no feet!
Having a few hours to kill before dinner we stopped by at Petone Pier – a place where jandals weren’t a requirement. Quick tip to any drone pilots out there – beware of the original inhabitants of the sky (birds – in case you didn’t figure that out). After launching our very own camera bird to snap a few photos of the pier, it took less than 1 minute before we saw the loud, squawking seagulls circling the drone. Simon instantly transformed into high alert response mode (or panic as I saw it) and out-manoeuvred the seagulls just in time (his words not mine). We prefer not to disturb the locals with our drone so we pulled the plug on that shoot with only 1 photo – which I see as flipping the bird to the birds – insert photo here! Might just be bitter old me.
The rest of the weekend was filled with plenty of photography, drone flying, cable car rides, good old catch-ups with friends, stuffing of faces, food-induced comas and sad goodbyes.
With unforgettable memories and plans for future meet-ups we were back on the road to Rotorua hoping for sunny days!