New Zealand

Owhiro Bay, Red Rocks, Sinclair Head

Owhiro Bay

View of South Island from Owhiro Bay

Following the road along the coast and Owhiro Bay will lead you to a gravel road only accessible to 4x4 vehicle. If you have a doubt, there is a big pool of water that seems deep enough to make you stop. You then wait for the next 4x4 to drive through it and you realise how deep the pool actually is and how glad you are that you didn't drive through it with your van.

Red Rocks Walkway

Ocean Bay Parade

So you park your van and have a nice walk until Sinclair Head via Red Rocks. The view is beautiful. You can see the South Island and it is impressive if Mount Cook is covered in snow. I captured a ferry leaving Wellington and heading to Picton.

On your way there, a local who drove past while he was "walking" his two dogs who were happily running full speed in front and next to the car spoke of hundreds of baby seals further up the road. I was happy to spot a few. One was really playful, he had found a pool of water and he was turning and turning in the water, scrubbing his belly and his face, even his back feet! It resulted at him waving. Sometimes he disappeared completely, only to reappear and start it all again.

Puppy seal resting in Sinclair Head

Playful puppy seal in Sinclair Head

Lake Ferry, Onoke Spit, Cape Palliser

The road to Cape Palliser Lighthouse is beautiful in the morning. Once you get to the lighthouse, you have to turn around to get back to the main road. So you actually get to enjoy it twice!

Ocean Beach

Lake Ferry

It is a nice break to spend the nice in Lake Ferry, it is quiet, along Onoke lake, there is a nice pub at the hotel down the road.

Onoke Spit

Onoke Spit

The closer you get to the cape, the wilder the coast is. You can even spot sea lions resting on the ground, even on the road, but then they know better and keep going up past the road for a more quiet spot, away from the occasional car passing by, or stopping for pics.

Cape Palliser Road

Cape Palliser Road

Going up to the lighthouse can be quiet dangerous on windy days, but the view is nice. After sitting in the van for long drives, going up the steps in strong winds is quite a nice exercise for your legs!

Onoke Spit

Cape Palliser

Cape Palliser - view from the Lighthouse

Cape Palliser - view from the Lighthouse

Cape Palliser - view from the Lighthouse

Rimutaka Mountain Park

Cape Palliser Lighthouse

Ashhurst Domain, Manawatu-Wanganui

Near Paekakariki

Ashhurst Domain

A friendly and chatty couple walking and playing with their dogs on Te Horo Beach talked about the beauty of the road to Palmerstone North. And so my road discoveries led me to it. A flat tire got me delayed and I drove there by night. I found a nice clean camp site with showers and outdoor kitchen in Ashhurst Domain to spend the night. No one else at the camp. You can enjoy a nice walk in the domain, listen to the birds that have such beautiful and never heard before songs. The Tui birds make such delightful sounds and they also have two white ball like feathers in their front neck that make them look so beautiful if you can spot those shy birds. A real delight.

Only on the next morning could I see the wonderful sight of driving along that gorge. arriving so late at night made me miss the view.

Driving in the Manawatu-Wanganui region is filled with scenery of green hills covered in sheeps and cows, a few houses here and there, the occasional school, a rare field of cabbage. You better venture there with a full petrol tank and don't miss an opportunity to fill it up even if you can still drive on what's left in the tank, there aren't many occasions for that.



Because you are driving up hill and down hill, you do get in and out of clouds and rain very often, you also spot a lot of rainbows. There aren't many dedicated areas to stop, so be prepared to stop on the side of the road for lunch time.

You can stop and have a look at a mount which has the longest name in the world. A dedicated stop area exists for you to safely take a picture of the long sign that mentions it, as well as the explanation to the name.

Longest Name Place in the world

Mobile Kitchen

Manawatu- Wanganui

Longest Name Place in the world

Tararua Forest Park, Otaki & Te Horo Beach

Along Highway 1 near Paekakariki

Driving to the very end of the Otaki gorge road to find the camp place is quite nice ride, many portions of gravel road, chicken running free and the occasional car waving at you, hunter trucks parked here and there.

Apart from a party of kids based at the camp at the furthest point down the road, there was no one for the night at the little camp a bit before that. 

Path on the Fenceline Loop

Getting up early to do a 2-3 hour walk was satisfying. No path was visible from the parking lot, it turns out it was hidden behind a luxuriant vegetation. You kind of walk through a tunnel of trees, branches, moss and dead leaves.


As always for any such walk in New Zealand it is advisable to be very responsible. You can fill the intention's book at the nearest caretaker's office and let someone know where you plan to go and when you plan to return. The rapid change of weather condition can bring heavy rain or even snow, which can lead the path to be inaccessible or cut. A huge part of the road fell off after we walked on it. Another part of the path we could only go through because someone left a rope tied on a tree and that helped us climb up back to the path. The heavy rain from two days before created waterfalls from dripping walls and weakened the paths that are already fragile on dry weather.

Driving through Otaki we noticed a small market so we stopped. A few local veggies, arts and crafts, antiques and garage sales, some hot sausages and burgers for the hungry ones... A nice stroll and pause before hitting the road again.

View from Otaki Forks Camp

View from the Fenceline Walk path

Te Horo Beach with view of Kapiti Island

Otaki Forks Camp ground early morning

Swing Bridge over the Otaki river

Te Horo Beach 

New Zealand, I have landed!!

Windy Wellington!

After landing in Auckland and waiting for some delayed luggage, I eventually caught a following plane and made it to Wellington!!

It feels good to be here, and Wellington is as they say: "the coolest little capital in the world".

Wellington will be the base of this New Zealand adventure, the place to go to and to return to while I'm here. 

Wellington Skyline

Everyone here is very friendly and chatty, which is wonderfully pleasant. 

Although it is winter here at the moment, I find the temperatures pretty mild after experiencing a winter in Montreal. Temperatures have been varying between 9 and 17*C, but the wind is the tricky part, always present and sometimes very, very strong. I have experienced, as I had been warned, the four seasons in one single day. That makes it hard to dress in the morning for a day you are going to spend outside. The weather can indeed change very fast.

Leaning against the wind...

Everywhere you go, in the supermarket, on the streets, in a parking lot or a park, you can spot someone walking bare feet, no matter what age. The streets are clean for sure, but it is more a cultural habit.

While in Wellington you can visit Te Papa Museum, the Zoo, have a stroll in the botanical garden , enjoy the walk along the harbour and Oriental Parade, catch a wonderful panoramic view on top of Mount Victoria and after grab a meal or drink in Cuba street. If you are a movie goer and specially a fan of Peter Jackson, you can push your visit to Miramar peninsula and visit the Weta Cave, maybe even enjoy a screening in Peter Jackson's movie theatre called Roxy in the Center.

You can click on the gallery link to see first impressions of Wellington.

!!Click here to watch the Wellington Gallery!!