The route was simple, straight down the State Highway 1, with a few stops en route.
Our first stop was a brief one at a small Farmer's Market in the next town, Sanson.
Onward we continued to the town of Waitarere on the coast. We had AMAZING ice creams dipped in chocolate!!!!!!!!
|Luke enjoying ice cream dipped in chocolate|
|Ruth enjoying her ice cream|
The beach here was also fab so we spent some time building a man out of driftwood and shells. Thanks to Luke it was quite a realistic wood man.
|An elderly couple enjoying a cuppa on the beach|
|Luke's driftwood man|
Onward we journeyed to the town of Otaki, where we had lunch and found another Farmer's Market to wander. We took a slight detour off the main highway to the Otaki Gorge, which is the area they used for filming the Hobbit's leaving The Shire in The Lord of the Rings film. A beautiful drive, through farmland.
|A tree tunnel driving up the Otaki Gorge|
|Beautiful "Shire" like countryside|
On the return through the gorge we stopped at a suspension bridge where there were some people bungying off the bridge, which we stopped to watch for a time.
|View of river from the suspension bridge|
|The suspension bridge|
|Coast near Wellington|
Once in Wellington we popped back to the Weta Workshop and Weta Cave (where the prosthetics and props for Lord of the Rings films were made) to pick up a few souvenirs. Arriving there we discovered they had changed all their displays. A life-size model of Gandalf was now there along with new props and miniature figures of the dwarves for the new Hobbit film to be released later on in the year, called "An Unexpected Journey".
|Lord of the Rings arrows and knives|
|Bombur the Dwarf from the new Hobbit film|
|Lord of the Rings armour|
|Luke with Gandalf the Grey|
|Dwarf knives, props from the new Hobbit film|
Whilst in the city we drove to the top of Mt Victoria again to see great views over the city and beyond, as it had been really cloudy and misty when we were here before.
|Views towards airport from Mt Victoria|
|Wellington Harbour from Mt Victoria|
|Wellington views from Mt Victoria|
We found a campsite at a motor lodge near to the city centre so we can jump straight on our ferry in the morning. :)
Our last night in the North Island!