In Wellington we checked out the much talked about Te Papa Museum. This place was HUGE, six floors to be exact! It was a bit overwhelming, however there were lots of things to check out. Here are just a couple of pictures.
Traditional Maori Marae meeting house.
Detailed carvings on the Marae.
After repeatedly getting lost in a city that is not built on a grid system (engineer talk for lots of angled and curvy roads) we made it to the botanic gardens. RIDICULOUS! The whole reason we wanted to go was to eat lunch in a beautiful setting. Well, I couldn't wait so I ate mine in the car.
Our next destination was Wanganui. We hit TRAFFIC!!! It was terrible, I think snails were passing us. We were going soooo sllloowww that Henry was getting really tired so we did a 'chinese fire drill' and switched spots! No chinese were harmed during the drill.
We stayed at Mowhanau Holiday Park (a little off the beaten path) which was about a five minute walk to the beach. Henry and I walked quickly with slight jogging mixed in to catch the last bit of the sunset. Never get tired of seeing those.
At breakfast we met friendly couple that gave us directions out of the city to a road along the Whanganui river. Funny thing was there were no street names or distances, just landmarks. It also happened to include a gas station and french bakery. We made it to both with no problem AND we found the road that took us along the river in Whanganui National Park. Another encounter of very narrow and windy roads, and some bits were unsealed.
Our local hand drawn map. Not to scale. =)
View of the Whanganui River.
Made a pit stop in a tiny little town called Matahiwi for a cup of tea and a snack. They had a Marae here as well as a few others in the National Park. A Marae is a communal or sacred place that serves religious and social purposes. We continued on our way to another little town called Jerusalem to see a beautiful old church, built in 1893, called St. Joseph. Next to it was a convent where nuns live or used to live. Next stop, Pipiriki to eat our french sandwiches we picked up from the french bakery on the map with no streets. There was a dog wandering around that took a liking to Henry, I'm pretty sure it was for the food.
Henry's new friend.
The volcanos at Tongario National Park.