We spent a couple of days taking in the sights of the mountains (Mount Doom for 'Lord of the Rings' film fans) behind the enormous Lake Taupo (which is the same size as Singapore in terms of surface area). Before leaving town I decided I just had to do a bungy jump, falling 47 metres over the Waikato river in what is New Zealand's highest 'water-touch' bungy jump - and couldn't wait any longer. You will already have seen the video on the blog, no doubt.
Despite a few initial nerves, I absolutely loved it! I had asked for my fingertips to touch the water at the bottom of the jump, what I got however was a full head and shoulders dunk into the river, but I loved it all the more for it! I now can't wait until I get an opportunity to do another one - and I hear Queenstown in the South Island has some great jumps, including the world's highest, so watch this space and cross your fingers that my budget will stretch to it!
Next up we headed to the Hawkes Bay region on the east coast, in what forms the beginning of the wine-trail that continues down to Marlborough and Otago in the South Island. We arrived first in Napier, in which all the buildings are decorated in an art-deco style having been rebuilt following a devastating earthquake in the 1930s and when art-deco was in fashion. We really felt it resembled a British seaside town too, so not a massive amount to be impressed by!
With not a lot to do in Napier itself we booked on to do a wine tour of the Hawkes Bay region - with NZ wines being some of our favourites - and especially after thoroughly enjoying our afternoon of wine tourism in the Hunter Valley in Australia. Famous local wineries that you might have heard of include the Mission Estate and Church Road, amongst others, but the best ones were the boutique wineries - including one which claimed their wines don't give you a hangover! We'll get back to you on the truth in their claims!
Leaving Napier behind we headed down the highway to Wellington where we spent an evening catching up with some friends. There was quite a crowd of us in the pub that evening: Kev's friend Sacha who's originally from Devon but now lives just outside Wellington; Jojo who I did my massage training with and who I last saw when our paths crossed in Vietnam; and Anita who I know from my tumbling class back in London and who has recently moved back home to New Zealand. It's nice to be able to go to the other side of the world and still be able to get a group of friends together in the pub!
Next on our itinerary is the South Island - I'll try and blog again soon.
Love, Sarah and Kev xx