Favourite Places: Castlepoint, New Zealand

Castlepoint is more than just a beach-side destination. It’s a quiet getaway and vast departure from the daily activities of a busy lifestyle.

Even during the cold and rainy winter, spending an evening at Castlepoint is one of my favourite places to unwind. Brett and I have been coming to his family’s bach* since we first moved to New Zealand, and regardless of the weather, it’s an ideal weekend getaway for those in the Wairapara/Wellington region.

*bach = cabin/cottage/beach house, pronounced “batch”

Getting there
The two-hour drive from Wellington is complete with a heart-palpitating cruise along the Rimutaka Highway, a snapshot of the Tararua Mountain range, and endless rolling hills of farmland. The finale of the drive is a stunning view of the South Pacific Ocean. My favourite part is just before you enter the community of Castlepoint: green hills dotted with grazing sheep. I’m pretty sure Kiwis think I’m crazy for loving sheep as much as I do!

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Places to stay
There’s a campground at Castlepoint, complete with a nicely developed space for tents and camper vans. If you prefer to stay indoors, however, many of the baches along the waterfront can be rented for your holiday, along with the Castlepoint Hotel (located just before the entrance to the town).

Things to do
Castle Rock
The obvious activity is to walk up to the lighthouse for a stunning 360-degree view. This trail is well-maintained, accessible from the beach, and can be accomplished in nearly any weather condition (it’s also a great spot for checking out the water clarity).

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The Cave

Below the lighthouse is a beach-side trail – accessible at low tide – to a deep cave. Through the cave you can see light at the other end, which lets out on the opposite side of Castle Rock. Although tempting, the water on the opposite side is extremely rough and not fit for swimming! This area is also a popular hangout for the New Zealand fur seal. These cute blobs can be very territorial – especially if they have pups around – so keep a safe distance but enjoy the thrill. 😊

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Brett about to enter the cave…

Water sports
Throughout the year, it’s common to see people out boating, surfing, paddle-boarding, scuba diving, spear-fishing, snorkeling and on jet skis. In the summer months – pending that the winds take a day off – “The Gap” (aka Deliverance Cove) is an ideal place to lay in the sun amongst the calm waters.

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The Gap – view from Deliverance Cove trail

Hiking
I’ll admit that we don’t often check the forecast before driving up to Castlepoint, so most of my memories here involve high winds and pelting rain. However, we’ve stumbled across a few sunny days that make every rain drop so incredibly worth it.

On one such occasion, we hiked the Deliverance Cove trail, located behind the town of Castlepoint. This hike was very steep and is quite a test for those with a fear of heights. As you walk along the hillside, be cautious of the blowing wind.

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Can you see the tiny lighthouse in the distance?

The view from the top is incredible – with Castlepoint Lighthouse, the beach and The Gap on one side, and a view of sprawling fields and Christmas Bay on the other. We took a long rest at the top to really soak in the sun, watch the water for activity, and gaze at the glistening waters along Christmas Bay. Since that day, I’ve been waiting for ideal weather conditions to get back to the top.

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Christmas Bay

In the area
Amenities
The town itself doesn’t have a lot of amenities (stock up in Masterton if you need any groceries), however, there is a café, complete with classic Kiwi fish n’ chips, hot dogs and home baking. Across the street in the parking lot, you can often find a small camper van-style coffee truck, ready to serve you up a freshly extracted espresso.

Mataikona

Mataikona is a small community of homes further up the beach from Castlepoint. This area evokes a sense of seclusion and separation from the rest of the holiday homes nearby. And although the sandy beaches do not reach this settlement, the blanket of rocks along the coast make for ideal diving conditions, and is a popular spot for spearfishing. I highly suggest taking a short drive out this way to experience the uniqueness and contrast to Castlepoint.

. . . . .

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Castle Rock, Lighthouse, The Gap, Deliverance Cove trail (far hill), and town of Castlepoint

Perhaps the reason I enjoy Castlepoint so much is that it’s one of the first places Brett and I visited when we moved to New Zealand. With the stress and uncertainty of relocating to another country, Castlepoint was a close destination that we could always go to for a mini retreat.

I still remember our first evening at the bach. We sat on the front porch, bundled in blankets, and drank ciders as we watched the sun set behind Castle Rock. Castlepoint always reminds me of that perfect, care-free feeling we had that day, and is why I always look forward to going back – despite the weather forecast. 😊

 

Travelling with a Powerlifter: Sydney, Australia

I spent five days in Sydney while Brett competed at the Fitness Expo in Powerlifting (where he reclaimed his world record total in the 83kg class). I won’t bore you with the details, but expo’s have a cheese factor of 99/100 – and powerlifting is the only thing keeping it from maxing out (pun intended). I’ve also been to the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus, Ohio, USA – which was actually quite impressive. I think everyone should go to at least one – you know, to get it out of your system.

Aside from the competition, I managed to see a fair bit of the city. And instead of the same “Top 10 Things to Do in Sydney” list that every other blogger posts, here are some of my favourite things in Sydney – as un-glamourous as they may be.

City Architecture

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Sydney is a feast for the eyes in a couple of respects. The Cockle Cove/Darling Harbour area is well-developed with countless restaurants and cafes, along with the International Convention Centre being a hub of activity.

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My favourite part, however, is what’s inside some of the older buildings – a unique fusion of old-meets-new and bringing the outdoors in.

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Bondi Beach

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If the weather had co-operated, I would’ve loved to spend a bit more time here. Many years ago I dreamt of moving to Bondi Beach and living in a hostel while becoming a beach bum. These days, I’m not much of an ocean seeker and prefer to peruse the scenic coastline on foot. We did the Bondi Coastal Walk to Tamarama Beach, and I spent most of the time marvelling at the rock formations and multi-million-dollar homes lining the coast.

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** Travel tip: Purchase an Opal transit card and take the bus from the CBD to Bondi Beach. Although the train will get you there a bit faster, I think the bus reigns supreme simply for the fact that you get to see more of the city while in transit.

Hidden Gem

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On the 12th floor of the Hyatt Regency is a stunning cocktail lounge, called Zephyr. The drinks are a bit pricy but I bet you’d be willing to pay even more once you see the incredible harbour view from the open-air balcony. The lounge seating is comfortable and they offer warm blankets in case you’re feeling a bit chilled. Dress code is smart (i.e., put on your fancy top). I highly recommend it if you want to have a few romantic cocktails in a chilled atmosphere (sorry for the lack of photos – but trust me on this one).

Best Big Coffee + Cheap Eats

Aurora Café

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On Monday morning Brett was catching up on work and asked me to go find “Big Coffees” (coffees in NZ/Aus are tiny). So I wandered around the Sydney CBD checking out people’s cup sizes (being in a new city gives you the ability to act like a weirdo), and I stumbled upon Aurora Café on Kent Street. They have BIG COFFEES and offer an extra espresso shot and soy or almond for no extra charge. And the girl working at the counter was so friendly and great to have a morning chat with on more than one occasion. 🙂

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Good Life Cafe

In general, I found food service to be quite slow in Sydney – but Good Life Cafe was anything but. Before I could sit down at the table after placing my order, I had a hot egg and spinach breakfast burrito ($6) sitting in front of me. We went back a couple of days in a row here for a quick breakfast, and I highly suggest paying the small amount of $2 to add bacon.

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Legit AF Burger & Wings

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We started off looking for a good sushi restaurant, and by the time we found this place (aptly named “Ribs & Burgers”) we were hangry. Forget the sushi – nothing is better than cold pints of cider, crispy wings with ranch dipping sauce, and a monster chicken burger. Oh, unless you also order a side of sweet potato fries.

Training Space

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When you travel with an athlete – especially one who is nearly always prepping for a competition – you end up visiting a lot of different gyms around the world. In Sydney we trained at City Strength HQ, owned by two of Brett’s (and now my) friends. This gym was just set up in late 2016 and has some impressive (and drool-worthy) Eleiko equipment. There’s nothing like a new Eleiko bar to rip some skin off your hands during deadlifts.

Finalement

Sydney is a massive city with a lot to do, but I’d be lying if I said I was eager to get back there. I certainly missed Wellington and its eclectic vibe while I was away. If and when I travel back to Australia, I’d aim to spend most of my time out of the city, exploring the beaches, hiking terrain and the infamous Outback. It would also be handy to not plan a vacation around powerlifting – but that’s just how life unfolds sometimes.

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Powerlifting has become a huge part of my life since being with Brett, and given me a reason to travel to a few different places I wouldn’t have been to otherwise. And although I won’t be joining him at his competition in Minsk, Belarus this year, I’ll be at home with the Strong Girls cheering him on at 2:00am. There will likely be pizza and chicken wings involved, as there is in all powerlifting competitions. 😊

Oh, and also:

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Favourite Places: Exploring Makara Walkway with Welly Walks

Makara Beach is easily one of my favourite spots around Wellington. Just a short 30-minute drive from the city center, you’ll feel like you’re the only person on the island.

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I’ve been here several times, as Brett is an avid spear-fisherman and the rocky shorelines makes for ideal conditions. The first time we drove to Makara, the beach was dark and gloomy – but I haven’t had a bad day since. Even when Wellington is windy and cold, Makara seems to be in its own world with low winds at beach level, calm waves and clear waters.

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Mana Island is just visible from the main entrance of Makara Beach

Although we are approaching Autumn, this past weekend felt like a summer day – with warm temperatures and not a cloud in the sky. This is how I’ve come to know Makara Beach, and have experienced my best Wellington days out here, sitting on the (rocky – not sandy) beach and searching for shells and sea glass.

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A few weeks ago, I found an iPhone App that lists different walks around Wellington, with Makara Walkway being one of them. So when Brett told me he was going diving with a friend (meaning that I didn’t need to sit on the beach and keep watch) I took the opportunity to explore the hills around the beach.

The Welly Walks app guides you through the hike (which is easy enough to navigate on your own), but also tells the history of the area. The gun emplacements and bunkers near the summit were originally built following the Japanese attacks at Pearl Harbour. Although they were commissioned by the start of WWII, these grounds never saw any action and were de-commissioned in 1944 (credit to the Welly Walks App for the history lesson).

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Mana Island & Kapiti Island in the distance

As with any ocean look-out built during WWI/WWII, the views are incredible, as it was necessary to scout out invaders. The irony is that these grounds have now become a place of peace and reflection for hikers or picnickers – a complete turnaround from the original strategy of their placement.

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To get to this viewpoint you can either hike from the beach or (the most popular route by the looks of it) park near the B2 turbine and take a short walk.

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Part of the hike crosses over farmland, so you’re bound to make some new friends along the way 🙂

The B2 turbine is also a site to see, as it’s the only wind turbine in the area that pedestrians can access up close. I personally find the wind turbines to be very calming and peaceful to watch, and although they seem to always be turning in full force around Makara Beach, there was hardly any wind at ground level.

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B2 Turbine (FYI for you lazy people: parking access is just around this hill)
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Shepherds Gully Fault

Although the app suggests to take the Opau Bay route and walk back to Makara along the beach, I went back down the way I came, for a couple of reasons. The beach is very rocky and somewhat annoying to navigate (which I know from experience), and the views near the beginning of the trail were secluded and incredible, and I wanted to re-visit these places on my way back down to the beach.

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Gun emplacements, with Opau Beach to the left; South Island in the distance
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View from the hike up/down that I wanted to re-vist 🙂

The hike took about two hours to complete, including numerous “photo op” stops. The climb to the top is relatively steep, but worth every aching muscle once you see the incredible views for yourself.

I don’t often repeat hikes (as I like to see as many new things as possible), but I would definitely do this one again and perhaps spend a bit more time relaxing at the top and enjoying the views.

And as much as I loved Makara Beach before, this hike has solidified it as one of my favourite places in the Wellington area.

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48 hours in the Art Deco capital: Napier, New Zealand

The past few weekends were spent lounging around the house, visiting cafes and eating copious amounts of wings and fries. Now, I’m all for R&R but I also get a bit ‘squirrely’ when I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished anything. This past weekend we switched things up and drove four hours up the North Island to Napier for a weekend away from the city. *Note that it took five hours because of my superb navigation skills.

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Napier is a unique city – and much bigger than I’d anticipated. Part of the City Centre was rebuilt after a massive earthquake in the 1930s, and now boasts an abundance of Art Deco buildings from that era. Now there’s your history lesson for the day.

Accommodation

We spent two nights at The Nautilus on Marine Parade. Our perch from the second floor was stunning: unobstructed views of the ocean and Cape Kidnappers in the distance. We were just far enough from the City Centre to avoid the crowds of tourists, but just close enough to walk to dozens of restaurants and the bike shop where we began our wine tour on Saturday morning.

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View from our balcony to the ocean

The Vineyard Tour

I wasn’t initially sold on the idea of biking from vineyard to vineyard, but decided it would be a good idea to burn some calories while drinking a lot of wine. Brilliant, right? So we booked ourselves in with Napier City Bike Tours on the “Country to Coast” self-guided tour. I think this was a great package: we were dropped off about 20 minutes out of the city at 10:30am, bike 16km and stopped at six cellar doors, then we were picked up and shuttled back to the city at 4:00pm.

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View from Black Barn Vineyard

Any reservations I’d had about biking around the vineyards quickly disappeared. This was an excellent way to spend a Saturday: The sun was shining and temps were around 25 degrees all day. Each vineyard was unique and special in its own way – differentiated by their host, scenery, wine offerings, and history of the vineyard. We visited:

Above: Te Mata and Beach House

Our wine choices

We purchased wine from both Te Mata and Akarangi. The funny thing about wine is that there are two types I will always avoid: Shiraz and Chardonnay. They just don’t do it for me (I actually had to dump out my Chardonnay tasting at Black Barn).

However… Our favourite wine at Te Mata was a Syrah (related to the Shiraz grape) and the Chardonnay from Akarangi. The fact that I bought Chardonnay speaks volumes for this vineyard. We learned from the owner that they’d produced wine in previous years, shut down the business for family reasons, and have only just started producing wine again since late 2016. Their wines are currently online and at their cellar door (which happens to be a church, relocated from nearby Clive). Akarangi was certainly my top pick for location, chill vibes and beautiful wines.

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Akarangi Cellar Door

Note: Another bonus of the tour is that you can leave your purchases at the vineyard and the shuttle driver will collect them before meeting you at your pick-up location. That was a much-appreciated perk.

The unexpected highlight

Near Te Mata vineyard is a café called Chalk ‘n’ Cheese. Do not bypass this place. We stopped in for a cheeseboard and while choosing our selection had a full cheese-tasting experience. I cannot recall the exact cheese we decided on but everything was incredible – and the woman conducting the tasting was very knowledgeable. She also had a very dry sense of humor, which came through when Brett remarked that one of the cheeses would “taste good in a toastie” and her reply to me (with an eyeroll) was, “I am so sorry for this Kiwi man.”

We sat outside underneath beautiful, ripe fig trees. I know they were ripe because one plummeted down onto my arm and exploded with fig juice. A man, whom I’m assuming is a regular, looked at me and said “Oh, you got figged on!”.

Yes, yes I did.

Aside from the fig incident, this was the perfect pit stop on our bike tour, and I couldn’t recommend it enough for anyone in the area.

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Dining out in Napier

After arriving back in the city we went on an evening bike ride to find some food. Honestly, we just wanted pizza. While we were cycling around the “non-tourist” area of town looking for Hell Pizza, we came across Dough Pizzeria. It looked much more inviting than the mob of hungry takeaway patrons at Hell, so we parked our bikes outside of Dough and went in. The wood fire pizza was delicious and reminded me of a place back in Newfoundland that serves authentic, Italian-style pizza (or so I assume since I’ve never been to Italy). I opted for the Mediterranean simply for the black olives, and Brett ordered a chicken pizza. Both were delicious and devoured in minutes (no joke). I think we went to bed at 9:30pm with our carb coma, and it was so worth it.

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We headed back to Wellington early Sunday morning, and it’s incredible how much we were able to see while in Napier for just two nights. I can definitely see myself heading back there in the summer months to visit more vineyards, bike along the trails and get consumed in the relaxed lifestyle once again.

NZ’s best one-day walk: Tongariro Alpine Crossing

The Tongariro Crossing is at the top of New Zealand’s To Do list and rated as the “best day hike” in the country. With sparkling lakes nestled high up in the mountains of Tongariro National Park and surrounded by craters and volcanos, this 19.4km day hike covers a variety of eco systems. Brett and his parents had never completed the hike before, so the choice was easy when deciding on a weekend getaway.

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The forecast boasted temperatures up to 23 degree Celsius and clear skies. Dozens – perhaps hundreds – of hikers were among us as we dislodged from the shuttle bus at 7:00am and felt the crisp morning air on our skin. I was very content with my decision to pack a down jacket and mittens.

An hour into the hike, as we made our way up the “Devil’s Staircase”, I couldn’t help but wonder what brought each person to hike the trail. For every person there was a varying level of fitness, age, and clothing options (there will always be a person on the trail in jeans, and I pity their chaffed thighs the next day).

For a pair of women, this was a fitness goal. They slurped from their Camelback water bags – replenishing the liquids in their bodies surely just as fast as it was being sweat from their pores. Halfway up the Devil’s Staircase they urged each other to carry on.

A group of young girls were inadequately prepared, as they wore taboo jeans and fresh sneakers – complete with Marc Jacobs backpacks. I think I would have cried with them, had I been in their presence during the muddy descent on a latter part of the trail. Oh to be young and impractical.

For myself, it was the curiosity. In every country, there is always a “thing” that must be seen: the Statue of Liberty in NYC, Stonehenge in England, Machu Picchu in Peru, etc. This trail is the “thing” of New Zealand’s North Island.

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So up we went, single-file like an army of ants on the ultimate pursuit of what had been promised to us if we just continued to put one foot in front of the other.

About two hours into the hike, Mount Ngauruhoe towered over our army. Without a cloud in the sky, the peak was threatening and dominant. Only the bravest of hikers would take the chance climbing to the top – a track I will save for another lifetime.

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Near the turnoff to Mount Tongariro we were greeted with a bird’s eye view of the Blue and Emerald Lakes, along with the steaming Red Crater. This was the highlight on the hike: the landscape that was promised to us tourists whom had travelled from around the world just to catch a glimpse. And it’s true: the Emerald Lakes were as green and jeweled as the photos, and Blue Lake sparkled in the afternoon sun, with its untouched sand begging for a beach comber to set up their umbrella. I was fortunate enough to distance myself between the other hikers and capture some photos without anyone in sight.

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The lakes were surely the highlight of the Crossing, followed by 10kms of switch-backs down the other side of the mountain ranges. The view of Taupo Lake was breathtaking, but trust me, it’s a harrowing feeling to see the parking lot below and know that you are still three hours away. Eventually, with sore toes and fatigued legs, we made it to the parking lot below and we had completed our journey.

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. . . . .

Now back in my flat in downtown Wellington – a fair distance from the mountains and their hidden gems in the sky, I’ve taken some time to reflect on the experience.

At the time I felt that this was not “magical” whatsoever – and I still stand by that statement to an extent. The stench from the sulfuric gas of the nearby volcano was enough to make my stomach turn, regardless of how long it had been since I ate breakfast. And aside from my 30 seconds of staring at the Blue Lake before another army of hikers passed, the mood of the hike is not that of reflection and tranquility.

But there’s something to be said about the must-see “things” around the world and the expectations that are set. And this is something that I need to constantly remind myself of. It’s important to remember that there are many, many others looking to fill the same void in their life when visiting these popular destinations: the curiosity, the achievement, crossing something off the Bucket List. I was initially surprised by the number of tourists eager to hike the Tongariro Crossing, but I shouldn’t have been.

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And although I didn’t initially believe there was enough opportunity for reflection, perhaps there was. I remember looking around at the others and wondering if the ancient Maori tribes (iwi) would be horrified to see how many people were trampling on their sacred land (albeit with trendy Marc J backpacks in tow). But I think they would be proud of the number of people who had come from around the globe to appreciate the landscape and beauty that the Crossing offers. Although the trail is now commercialized with toilet facilities and man-made stairs, it is well-preserved and clean considering the traffic that flows through each year. (And yes, I did yell at anyone who went near the water… the tourist brochure says not to touch it!).

If I were to summarize the Tongariro Crossing (other than in the previous 850 words of this post), I would advise you to bring plenty of patience, for you will need it on the ascent, the decent, and everything in between. There are many, many others on the trail, but do not let it spoil the hard work that you put in to get there. Because it’s not easy hiking uphill with hundreds of strangers whilst hungry, thirsty, and sick to your stomach from the Sulphur gas vents in the hills beside you. But I think that’s what makes it a unique experience, and now that I think about it: That’s exactly what I was looking for.

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The road less traveled: Carterton, New Zealand

New Zealand’s North Island looks like a scene from the Wizard of Oz, with a splash of Dr. Seuss throw in. This is due to the rolling, green landscape, with a single tree occasionally scattered on a hilltop. It really looks like a fairy tale.

As a sendoff for my last day of Christmas vacation, Brett and I planned to go hiking nearby. We headed towards Carterton, a small town about 15 minutes from Masterton. At the end of Dalefield Road was the access point to Mount Dick Lookout, known to be one of the best viewpoints in the Wairarapa (the other is Rocky Lookout, which I’d hiked to with Brett’s dad in November).

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I’d read online that there was a road leading to the top, which requires 4-wheel drive unless the roads are dry. We weren’t sure where the road ended and the trail began, so Brett and I took his 2007 Corolla station wagon up the dirt road towards the Lookout.

Eventually, we realized that we were on the trail, and that if we wanted to get our exercise for the day, we’d need to park and get out. However, the momentum of driving uphill got the best of us, and we drove the entire way to the top in 2-wheel drive without any issues (*phew*).

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I think I counted about 873 blind corners on this route.

Even before we reached the peak, we were rewarded with picturesque views of the surrounding valley, including lush forests and farmland. It was quite breath-taking at the top, with very low wind levels considering the elevation of 520m above sea level. In the far distance, we could see Lake Wairarapa near the town of Featherston, which is my favourite viewpoint during the train commute to Wellington.

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Posing with Mr. Brett Gibbs himself

In hindsight, the 3.7km walk to the top would’ve been easily manageable for Brett and I, as we are quite active and the slope wasn’t very steep. However, I’d say we were not fully prepared for the trip (i.e., Brett refused to bring his own water bottle and I’m not really into sharing) so driving was likely the best option for us today. If you’re interested in a shorter walk, there is a ‘parking area’ about 2/3 up the hill, which would likely give you a 30-minute walk to the top.

Before taking the winding road back to the city, we had a mini photo shoot (as all couples do these days, especially when the boyfriend has a popular social media presence).

Pics or it didn’t happen, right?

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I’m actually just thinking about pizza.

So, regardless of our hiking fail, Brett and I have reservations at the infamous Iberia Café in Masterton for $10 pizza night. Seriously. $10. Tax is included and Kiwis don’t tip (my understanding is that wait staff are paid above minimum wage versus relying on non-guaranteed gratuities). So, you give them a $10 bill and eat the pizza. It’s amazing. And it’s so, so good.

Here’s hoping I can fling myself out of bed at 5:00am tomorrow morning to make the 6:20am train with a pizza hangover. 🙂

Jan 8, 2017 8:00PM Update:

Behold, the three glorious pizzas we ordered: Apricot Chicken (front), Pepperoni (back left) and Brie & Cranberry (back right). We’re at the point now that we get recognized as ‘regulars’. Perhaps it really is time to move. 😉

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Paradise for surfers and seals: Cape Palliser, New Zealand

Today we drove approximately 90 minutes to Cape Palliser, the Southern-most point of New Zealand’s North Island. This coast doubles as a home to both surfers and seals – and divers if the ocean is calm enough – which, on this day, it unfortunately was not.

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Cape Palliser

Despite the high winds and rain, we shimmied up the 250+ slippery stairs leading to the 1897 Cape Palliser Lighthouse. It quickly became a “tortoise and hare” situation. As Brett leapt up the stairs like an antelope, I slowly made my way up, rigid and terrified as I passed a fellow tourist. We had to decide who would hold the only railing and who was at the mercy of the wind.

I held the rail.

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Going up…

At the top, we were rewarded with a 180 degree view of the coast. Brett’s dad took an obligatory photo of Brett and I. Not surprisingly, the weather was not co-operating and we were left with yet another hilarious tourist-y image of us trying to conceal our discomfort in the cold and rain. I like to think these types of photos are becoming some sort of weird tradition for us.

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I personally think a down jacket is a necessary addition to any summer wardrobe.

After surviving the descent back to the parking lot, we took a tour of “The Nursery”. This is where a large amount of seals congregate to make noise and stink up the crisp ocean air. Just kidding. This is the seal colony’s home base, which provides a natural shelter from the elements, even during high tide and winds. Oddly enough, I toggled back and forth on my opinion of the seals: one minute they were adorable with big bulging eyes, and the next minute I was screaming in horror as a big blob flopped towards the truck.

There’s really no middle ground with these creatures.

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There are dozens of camouflaged blobs in this photo. 
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“The Big Blob”

After safely arriving back home in Masterton, Brett and I took a recovery session at Iberia Café: home of the best (if not the only) Apricot Chicken Pizza. Paired with shoestring fries and a flat white coffee, this was the perfect way to cap off another day in the beautiful land of New Zealand.

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View from The Nursery

PS – If you were expecting me to finish this post with a photo of the mouth-watering pizza, I’m sorry to report that it didn’t stand a chance. Maybe next time. 😉